Hi Everyone! Happy Wednesday!
I am having so much fun this week! Crazy and busy, but totally fun! My new books are about to launch, and the swag and activity pages and blog tour and book trailers, etc. are all starting to come together and I can’t wait to share everything with you! I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such talented illustrators! And so lucky to have the support of so many wonderful, generous kidlit bloggers as well as lovely people who have agreed to read the books and consider reviewing them! I hope you’re going to enjoy it all as much as I do. I think there’s a not-so-subtle reason I’m drawn to writing for the picture book age… I may well still be there myself! 🙂
It’s all going to kick off here on July 1, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise! I’m a little afraid of how close that date is when I think of everything I still have to do! But for now, let’s focus on Would You Read It! 🙂
First, we have Straight From The Editor for May! You will recall winner Cortney’s pitch for Olive Hills (PB ages 3-6):
Elle’s mind drifts through an olive grove as she tries to keep memories of her grandma alive. She surprisingly finds herself with a familiar, yet forgetful brontosaurus. The two set out to retrace their footprints in hope to relive fading memories. When they reach the giant tree where Elle’s grandma used to sit and reflect, they discover love ones will always be with you no matter where they are.
Here are Erin’s thoughts:
This sounds like it could be a lovely picture book but I’m getting stuck on the brontosaurus. How is he familiar… and forgetful? Dinosaurs and death are pretty disparate concepts for kids age 3-6 and you need to somehow clarify that link in this pitch.
As always, I find Erin’s comments very illuminating! I hope they’re helpful to you too – and to Cortney as she continues to perfect this manuscript and pitch!
Now then, burning the candle at both ends as I am, I feel in need of Something Chocolate right this minute! What should we have today?
You know I’m nothing if not health-conscious… 🙂 so how about a little Death By Chocolate Zucchini Bread?! (Note the ZUCCHINI in the title…like I said, health food 🙂 )
DEATH BY CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD
Also, I hope you noticed that it is clearly called “bread”, not “cake”, so again with the health benefits and it is perfectly okay to eat it for breakfast! 🙂
Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Katy who says, “I’m a Design Director who does branding and packaging design the north of the UK and am very much an early stages writer. Because of my creative job I love to have an outlet for my other ideas and like to sketch, illustrate and create story’s and picture books amusing children’s characters that are usually based on animals.”
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: The Snugglebeast And The Spotty Sock
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)
Have you ever stopped to ponder,
where all your lost socks go.
Where on Earth could they possibly wander?
You know the ones I mean,
your best socks, the very favourite kind
Where do they end up?
We seek them out, but we never can find?
Discover the world of a tiny, secretive, sneaky little creature, who adventures out at night in the night in a plot to steal your socks.
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 Katy 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 Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above. There are openings in July, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!
Katy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to getting everything done so we can all start off on this crazy, wonderful book launch blog tour!
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂
12 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #258 – The Snugglebeast And The Spotty Sock (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor”
Disappearing socks (especially the favorite kind) are a lifelong and universal problem, so I would definitely read this. It sounds like fun. I’m sure a rhyming pitch is unconventional, but it’s kind of charming is a certain way. Your last sentence has “at night” and “in the night,” so you’ll need to choose one or the other. My question is – Does the story take the snugglebeast on one adventure with one sock capture? Or is it a general follow of his many adventures? That should be made clear in the pitch, I think. Good luck!
Oh, the lost sock conundrum – I honestly believe there *must* be a creature stealing them! So to that end I would love to read this book so I could see at last the little bugger behind all those lone socks in my laundry room.
I think your pitch is really in this line: “Discover the world of a tiny, secretive, sneaky little creature, who adventures out at night in a plot to steal your socks.” Then I would add a few specific details of the story (he ______ and he ______ to capture the socks…) and maybe allude to what happens next? For example, does he take them to a lair where he traps them forever? Is there a way for the socks to escape? Basically, try to add a little more info on what the narrative arc is.
I agree with Genevieve (above) in that a rhyming pitch is unconventional — but being different can be a good thing! But if you do want to “lead” with rhyme in your query letter, be careful to make it absolutely perfect in meter and rhythm. For example, you have a triple lined stanza followed by the more classic four lines — so at first I wasn’t sure if you were trying to actually rhyme (visually, the cue that ‘this is rhyming’ wasn’t there.) And you have lines 1&3 rhyming in the first stanza, then 2 & 4 in the second. So the ‘flow’ felt off.
I really don’t think you need these two stanzas (as your final sentence is so strong and tells the ‘pitch’!) but if you want to include them, play around with making them match: 4 lines each –
Line one ends with x sound
Line two ends with Y
Line three ends with x
Line four ends with y
Also please take this advice with a grain of salt! I’m acting like I’m some kind of poet but this really is just coming from what pleases me when I’m reading aloud!
What’s really great here is that you’ve taken a universal problem that will attract parents, and made it into a funny concept that kids will love. And that is a fantastic picture book hook! Have fun playing with this one!
Susanne, I’m so very excited for your upcoming book birthdays! I have to work on how to do a review so when my copies come I can help you out, too. And I love your creativity for healthy chocolate zucchini bread! YUMMY!
Katy, I love your title, it’s really fun. I, too, am a bit unsure about pitching in rhyme. If you pursue that angle, perfection is key. Renee LaTulippe has some great advice on writing in rhyme, as does Julie Hedlund.
I wonder if you have named the sock thief. If it were me, and I know it’s not, but my brain is struggling with how to express this, so I’ll just go with that…if it were me I would simply call him/her Snugglebeast…I think that’s adorable from your title. I wonder if you have written out a plot sentence yet. What/why does Snugglebeast want the socks? Why doesn’t he want to give them up? What does he have to gain? Lose? Is “you” chasing him to get socks back? Is it a struggle for Snugglebeast to capture the socks? What kind of adventure does he go on to get then?
This story has so much fun, fun, fun afoot. Can’t wait to see it on the shelves at B&N so I can catch Snugglebeast! And remember, whatever I have said that doesn’t seem helpful and/or confusing, toss it in the land of lost socks. Have a great day!
I would definitely read this book! Everyone can identify with losing socks and I don’t know of any other PB with that topic.
I, too, agree that the pitch is strongest in the last paragraph. The other two stanzas can lose a line each–“Where on earth could they possibly wander?” and “Where do they end up? ” I know that would mess up the rhyme, but consider if the strength of the pitch is more important than the rhyme.
Susanna, I think you need two slices of that healthy zucchini bread for sure. So many book birthdays pending – you are one busy lady. Congratulations!
Katy, I love the idea of your story, but I confess to being a bit confused by the pitch. The first part reads more like the opening of a story than a pitch, although the last sentence helpfully gives more information about the story itself. Like others have noted, I’d like to know why the beast desires the socks & whether this is a story of the beast pursuing one sock or grabbing socks repeatedly. I get the sense from its name, Snugglebeast, that it’s pursuing the socks in search of a Snuggly – I’m envisioning the old-fashioned sock monkey, but without more clues, I can’t be sure. I look forward to reading a revised pitch as I think a clever story is afoot.
HIP HIP HOORAY! So excited for your book launches, Susanna…and honored to be a part of your blog tours!
YUM for healthy chocolate delights!
And YIPEE for a story about those missing socks! Yes, Katy, that a great premise… parents who read this book with their childreb will be nodding their heads. 🙂
You’ve gotten some great advice in the comments above from Genevieve, Nancy, Rene and the others. My question: Is your main character the Sock thief or the person who is missing the socks and wants them back?
Here are my thoughts on the pitch if the main character is the kid who wants his socks back. If your story is in rhyme, then using a bit of the verse in the pitch might work (although you know what they say about writing in rhyme…it is so darn hard to get it perfect)…but unless the story is in free verse, the reader of the pitch is kind of waiting for a rhyme, something like this:
Have you ever stopped to ponder,
where all your lost socks go.
And best ones are still missing
Though you’ve looked both high and low.
When Willie’s (or whatever your main character’s name is) socks disappeari, he (sets a trap or whatever he does to catch the thief). But when (what happens),Willie must (conquer his fear of the dark, or whatever he has to overcome) in order to snag the Snugglebeast.
Best of luck with your story!
I can picture this story and that is half the battle, right? I like that the pitch opening is in rhyme, but I am admittedly unsure what agents and publishers like. (Lately, all I know is that they don’t like what I submit. lol!)
I would read this. I’ve heard that agent’s don’t like questions in a query. I’d get rid of the first two paragraphs and elaborate more on the third. Good luck!
Congratulations and break a leg on your launches Susanna! Woo Hoo! Its always fun to share the joy, so thanks for that as well. :)!
Re: Katy’s pitch- I love the topic! I would probably buy several different books all with different takes on this apparently universal topic. “Snugglebeast” is adorable and has so many illustration possibilities! I like the last part the best too, though I would change “adventures out at night to “ventures out”. The other comments cover the rhyming issue, which I am constantly dealing with as well! :} Good luck and have fun!
Congratulations Susanna!!! I can imagine how excited you must be!!
As to the query, I have always wondered where those socks go, so I would be interested in reading anyone’s explanation. I do like the idea of it being a rhyming story, but the rhymes have to sound like real sentences, not forced to make the rhyme work – as I have been told!!
Hi Katy, what a clever story! Everyone-young & old-always want to know where the missing socks go! I would definitely enjoy reading your story. As for the construction of the pitch itself, I’ve learned that having questions within the pitch can backfire on you, so be wary of how many you include. Also, I wouldn’t write the pitch in rhyme. Try to stick to the formula of “main character wants to do A but is confronted by problem B.”
Your final line really sums up your pitch, however it has some unneeded repetition. For example, you have “adventures out at night in the night.” You could also remove the words “in a plot” because the reader/agent already knows there’s a plot. Perhaps scheme or plan instead?
Keep up the creativity & hard work. Would love to know where the socks go (and if holey ones go to a special place! ;> )
Hi all! First off I just want to say a HUGE thank you to all those who commented. Its a first for me and very early days so your suggestions and advice are brilliant for me to work on. Sadly this project is a little slow in development as I have some other commitments but I’m determined to work on it further and get it just right.
Your warmth and time really meant the world to me. I do have a full character written and the snugglebeast is the main character – its environment and some initial sketches and layouts.
I think my issue was whether it should free flow or rhyme. I don’t know why i seem to think in rhyme but it certainly is difficult!