Would You Read It Wednesday – The 55th Pitch

Guess what I’ve been doing?

You’ll never guess.

It’s so out of character.

I’ve been cleaning my office.

You know that feeling, when you squeeeeeeeeeeeeze your way into your office, look around at the mountains of note-covered manuscripts, the cascading piles of scraps of multi-colored paper, ATM receipts and napkins densely covered with scribbled ideas you thought up while you were away from your computer, stacks of books – both for reading pleasure and for writing craft – that simply will not fit into your overflowing bookshelf, Phyllis and friends tumbling off their seat of honor onto the desktop, and you just think to yourself, “Crikey, Sus!  You need a maid!”?

I just felt – and I may have been leaping to farfetched conclusions – that I wasn’t getting the maximum benefit out of my workspace since I couldn’t actually get into it… and even if I did, there wasn’t a clear surface on which to set my trusty computer.

“Susanna,” I said to myself, very sternly, “you will clean that office or I will have to administer harsh punishment!”

I was pretty scary!

So I cleaned for HOURS!

Result?  I’m exhausted.  And my office is clear…er…ish… but not done, so there is more cleaning in my future.  Sigh.

So this morning I am recovering my unquenchable good humor by hanging out with you guys and sharing today’s Would You Read It pitch 🙂  Hmm… let me just rummage in my pantry and see what kind of Something Chocolate I have today… Oooh!  Look!  I still have a few of those special Kiwi milk chocolates left that the wonderful Diane sent me all the way from far off New Zealand!  How is possible I didn’t eat these yet?  Well, don’t question good fortune, just help yourselves if you care to 🙂

Now then, today’s pitch comes to us from the lovely Rachel.  Rachel says, I’m married with four kids, aged seven years down to ten months. I coach high school speech and theater. I show Arabian horses, which I’m now able to do with my oldest daughter. I mainly write picture books and middle grade books.”  When you have a sec, please take a moment to visit her BLOG.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title:  Princess Azalea’s Two Left Feet
Age/Genre:  Picture Book (ages 3-8)
The Pitch:  Princess Azalea has two problems. One: She can’t dance. And if she can’t dance, she can’t meet a prince at a royal ball, which, as everyone knows, is where princesses meet their prince charmings. Two: She really doesn’t care. But her mother, the Queen, is determined to get her dancing no matter what! Will Azalea learn to twirl and spin without falling on her royal bottom? Or will she find her happily ever after her own way?

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Rachel improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)
Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in Octoberber, which is not very far away!

Rachel is looking forward to your thoughts!  And I am NOT looking forward to going back into my office!  But, as they say, once more into the breech!  Wish me luck.  If I don’t show up on Friday, you’ll know I’m trapped 🙂

Oh, and P.S.!  For anyone who didn’t see the contest announcement on Monday, go HERE and read all about it!  The contest opens Friday and it will be tons of fun! 🙂

43 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday – The 55th Pitch

  1. Angela Brown says:

    As I read that pitch, I could just imagine the simple yet beautiful illustrations of Princess Azalea frowning at the prospect of having to dance, the literal demonstration of her “two left feet”, falling on her rump time and again and wondering how this darling would go about find her happily ever after if she can't dance…So yes, I would definitely read it 🙂

  2. Jarm Del Boccio says:

    What a cute story, Rachel…yes, I would read it! Could you shorten the pitch a sentence or two by combining the two problems into one sentence? Otherwise, a great pitch. One that draws me into the storyline, and leaves me wanting to know more!

  3. Joanna Marple says:

    I am a YES, too, and thought exactly the same as Jarmila, about shortening the final two sentences. Although, I confess I am still unsure about the use of questions in a pitch, which some say is a no-no!

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks so much for your comments for Rachel, Joanna! And I'll say here, and hope everyone sees it, that she is having trouble commenting today, so we're trying to work something out. Meanwhile, please know that she is reading your comments and grateful for what you have to say!

  5. pennyklostermann says:

    Reeeaaallly cute. I say yes…I would read. I agree that it could use some shortening (not as in Crisco-LOL at my own joke 🙂 Anyhow, back to the pitch. I think your pitch will be stronger, too, if you don't say the word “problem”, but make her problems clear in the way you word the pitch.

  6. Patricia Nozell says:

    Yes, I think I would read it, as Princess Azalea seems like a delightful character (great name!) & the mother-daughter conflict is timeless. I would shorten the pitch, too, but I'd shorten from the beginning. I don't think the first sentence adds much to the pitch, nor am I convinced that “not caring” is a true problem (I'm also not sure what she doesn't care about – not being able to dance or not meeting Prince Charming at the ball). I think I would recast the pitch as follows:

    Princess Azalea can't dance. As everyone knows, or at least her mother, the Queen, if she can't dance, she can't meet a prince at a royal ball. Princess Azalea really doesn't care. But her mother, the Queen, is determined to get her dancing no matter what! …

    Hope this helps, Rachel. And Susanna, I wish I could help you with the office clean up/out; if you saw my office, you'd politely decline!

  7. Beth Stilborn says:

    A resounding YES. That book sounds right up my alley. Despite the pitch being a little long compared to most, it had my attention from beginning to end, and the wording worked well for me.

  8. Wendy Lawrence says:

    I love the idea. I think I would shorten it, and I think I would put the two problems right next to each other “One, she can't dance. Two, she doesn't care.” That gets right to the heart of it, and I think it's funny…just when you think that not dancing is a problem, you realize it's something else entirely. Great. I also love the last sentence about finding her prince charming her own way. The middle part, explaining why dancing is important and what the Queen thinks, can be tightened up.

    And on a second note, I am SO proud of you! I am sitting now in my NEW office (because we just moved, amidst piles of papers, books, boxes, pens, and assorted items I have no idea what they are and I have NO way of starting in on this mess. So for now, I am ignoring it. 🙂

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Posted for Rachel:
    Thank you so much everyone for your kind words and support! As Susanna said, I am having computer troubles today, (of course!) I really appreciate all the help. Tightening it up is always a good idea, thanks for the advice on how to do it! Combining the problems in one sentence will work wonderfully. And thanks again, Susanna, for posting my pitch, (and now my comment!) -Rachel

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks so much for your comments for Rachel, Wendy – very helpful! And as for my office… I have not made as much progress today as I should have. It's such an incredibly beautiful day outside… 🙂 I am the queen of ignoring mess 🙂

  11. coleen patrick says:

    Susanna I think you just initiated a shift in the space-time-cleaning continuum. Sigh, this means it's time for me to clean my office. Oh well, I knew it couldn't last.
    And as for the pitch, I think it sounds cute!

  12. Stina Lindenblatt says:

    Would I read it? Yes yes yes. It's sounds greats. 😀

    My mother-in-law told me I need to become a best selling author so I can hire a maid. As if. I would still clean up, not that I do as much as I should right now.

  13. Kimberley says:

    Sorry I'm a day late, long day in school today! I always love this premise. Princess who does things on her own terms. I agree that point one and point two should be right next to each other for more impact. I, too, love her name and think an illustrator would too.

  14. Tina Cho says:

    This book sounds like a lot of fun. Your pitch is spunky and will catch little girls' attention. I, too, like her name.

    When you're finished with your office, we'd love to see pictures 🙂

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your comment for Rachel, TIna. And as for my office… I got a bit distracted yesterday because it was SO nice outside… Today looks much the same, but I will really try to get back in there and keep up the work. It would actually be really fun to get it clean enough to show you a picture… but I confess, even when it's clean, it's more cluttered than a lot of author/illustrator work spaces you see!

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for making time in your very busy day to stop by and comment for Rachel. The first days of school are hectic enough for parents and kids – must be super busy when you're a mom and a teacher! Good luck 🙂

  17. Sidney Schuhmann Levesque says:

    The story sounds fun. I would be interested in reading about some of the princess' hilarious high jinks.

  18. Peggy Eddleman says:

    I would totally read it! I think it's so relatable to little girls. They love to pretend to be princesses sometimes, and do very un-princess-like things at others. Un-princess-like things that their moms really don't want them to do. 😉

    And I SOOOO need to do that to my office, too! But yeah. It'd take hours.

  19. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Regarding cleaning out clutter…I keep moving that particular item from one to-do list to the next! I used to have an office (actually the guest bedroom)…but when my husband became involved in watercolor painting 2 years ago and the entire house (every room and available surface) was covered and cluttered with painting supplies, I gave him my office to use as his art studio…with a promise that the art supplies would remain in THAT room. Too bad I didn't get a signed contract for that agreement…since now he has my office AND the art stuff has “crept” back into the rest of the house. Oh well, at least I don't have a cluttered office. 🙂 🙂 By the way, Susanna, good luck with the de-cluttering!

    Regarding the pitch…Rachel, I love the story concept…a princess who needs to dance in order to win the prince…but doesn't know how. And I love her name. 🙂 Perhaps the pitch can be tightened up a bit…I know they say it should be short, but powerful. But I would DEFINITELY read the book…sounds like it will encourage kids to believe in themselves.

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Posted from Rachel:

    A big thank you to everyone for taking the time to comment, and for sharing your wonderful advice! It makes me so happy to read so many yeses. 🙂 And Vivian, encouraging kids to be themselves and do their own thing is exactly what I wanted to do! Thanks for your comment!

  21. Pamela Courtney says:

    Okay, I hope the adage, “better late than never” can apply to me. So sorry, Rachel. Nevertheless, this sounds like it would be such a fun, fun, read! YES, I would certainly read! I hope I'm not repeating what anyone else has posted. It looks like three problems: The dancing ability, The attitude regarding dancing, and Queen Mother's antics/frustrations… Have you considered making the Princess' attitude toward dancing and her dancing ability one conflict and the Queen Mother's antics and frustration the other conflict? Does that make sense?

  22. Sharron says:

    I would definitely read it. The title is delightful.

    I think Rachel should rethink this line. Two: She really doesn't care. But her mother, the Queen, is determined …. I think it would read better as this: Two: Her mother, the Queen, is determined. The really doesn't care makes her sound petulant. Or something.

    The 'better late than never' would benefit with quotes or half-quotes or whatever they call them. It stopped me for a moment, and that is a death knell.

    Best of luck to you!

    PS – Must clean my dining room table!

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