Would You Read It Wednesday #291 – Granny’s Veggie Garden (PB)

Hiya, Friends!

It’s officially summer, but that doesn’t mean ALL goofing around 🙂  Nosirreebob!

It means it’s the perfect time to perfect our pitching and help our fellow writers perfect theirs!  Practice over the summer so we’ll be all be ready to explode from the starting gate this fall with a passel of perfect pitches to tempt editors everywhere! 🙂

We most certainly need to fuel up, though.  We wouldn’t want to tackle pitching without the proper well-balanced nutritional preparation, which is why I recommend Something Chocolate.

And I think we can all agree that today’s Something Chocolate is the perfect answer to breakfast… and dessert… and proper well-balanced nutritious fuel! 🙂  (Okay.  Maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch… 🙂 )

Chocolate Buttercream Donut Cake! 🙂

Seriously.  Why has no made cake out of donuts before?  It’s a no-brainer!  A truly genius inspiration!  So please!  Dig in! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Yvona who says, “My love of books and words led me to become a librarian. And now, I write. I’ve authored 4 books including a cookbook, a poetry chapbook and a guide for people on the autism spectrum published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. I write a weekly food column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.”

Find her on the web at http://www.wordsaremyworld.com/

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Granny’s Veggie Garden

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Granny’s Veggie Garden is a gentle rhyming book that takes the reader through the seasons of a garden, introducing many vegetables in a fun way. With the growing popularity of school gardens, community gardens and farmers’ markets I believe this book will find a wide audience. This read-aloud will appeal to 4-8-year-olds as well as their parents and is great for both storytime and classroom use. I’m happy to provide back matter: recipes for any or all of the dishes mentioned, and/or information about starting a garden.

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 Yvona 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 September, which will be here before you know it! so send your pitch for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Yvona is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to when the nice air conditioner technician comes to repair the air conditioning because it is totally dead and I heard a rumor that it’s about to get hot.  Possibly because it’s summer… 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

14 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #291 – Granny’s Veggie Garden (PB)

  1. Author Yvona Fast says:

    Since sending this in to Susanna Hill i have changed the first sentence to read: Enclosed for your consideration is my picture book manuscript Granny’s Veggie Garden (221 words). The seasons come full circle in this intergenerational story that introduces gardening and cooking adventures with fun, fresh language.

  2. Kathy Halsey says:

    Susanna, that cake looks serious like it coulee be eaten at breakfast and dinner…WHAAAT? Yvona, I agree that this book will be very marketable but I feel you have e more of a marketing plan rather than a true pitch. The pitch part is the first 2 sentences: “Granny’s Veggie Garden is a gentle rhyming book that takes the reader through the seasons of a garden, introducing many vegetables in a fun way. With the growing popularity of school gardens,” I’d take out “gentle” as it may predispose the reader to feel the ms is too “quiet.” Can you say more about plot or is this a concept book about veggies? Is there a true arc or a conflict that could be include din the pitch? Who is our MC? Is it the grandma? If you, you may want to rethink that as most Pos have child MCs. I myself am writing a garden ms, so I heartily approve of your project. Good luck.

  3. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, I believe you have found the ultimate chocolaty breakfast food! Oh my!

    Yvona, I give this a maybe. I love the idea of a child helping in a grandmother’s garden and can imagine the adventures they can share. I can’t tell from your pitch, though, what these adventures will be. Is there a main child character even? If so, I’d like to know more about him or her, whether s/he and Gran encounter any problems, and, if so, how they resolve them. Perhaps something like, “When Main Character spends the entire summer at Grandma’s house, she helps tend the vegetable garden. When XXX happens, s/he learns that growing vegetables can be hard work, but includes a special reward, too. A rhyming book, Granny’s Veggie Garden takes the reader through the seasons of a garden, introducing many vegetables in a fun way.

    I hope these comments help. I think intergenerational bonds are special and gardening is a popular topic now, too. I look forward to reading your revised pitch & your picture book, too!

  4. Lynne Marie says:

    I agree with the previous comments, which are extremely helpful. I would also suggest considering a more active and intriguing title, even Growing Granny’s Garden — something that suggests a challenge, I think. Of course that was a quick thought, right off the top of my head, but I am sure you can do better! Hope this helps. Lynne Marie http://www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com

  5. fspoesy says:

    To be honest Susanna, my biggest issue with the Chocolate Donut Cake is I don’t know if I should pair it with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. But I won’t let that stand in my way. I’ll have a slice with each.

    Hi Yvona, my vote is a maybe, based on the pitch as it stands. I think it is a great idea with all kinds of illustration possibilities. Of course the rhyming must be strong, but before an agent or editor gets to that I think they’ll need to know more about the story. As Kathy said above, this is more of a pitch to marketing, which is the job of the editor once they acquire your ms. If they are worth their salt, they will see all of that marketing potential in your story idea so there’s no need to spell it out for them. Besides, they may resent you trying to do their job for them ;).

    To turn this into a yes I would need to know what the story/conflict is and who the main character is. I’m hoping it is a child who interacts somehow with Granny. Also, I would be looking for proof that it isn’t just a documentation of how the seasons effect Granny’s garden. I’m looking for more specifics that tell me how this is different from other garden themed books already out there. Is it a story about an impatient child who wants the garden to grow faster; is it a child who doesn’t like hard work but eventually learns how it pays off with a great harvest; or maybe its a story of a child being with Granny and remembering how Grandpa used to garden? There are so many possibilities, so let us know what makes this garden story special and unique!

    Best of luck with your pitch and your ms!

  6. Sue Heavenrich says:

    I love gardens, and there are plenty of good kid’s garden books out there. What I would want to see in a pitch is something that makes this book stand out from all the others.

  7. candicemarleyconner says:

    Donuts and chocolate cake?! My sweet tooth is aching just looking at it 😉 And yes, like oatmeal cookies, looks perfectly acceptable for both breakfast and dessert.

    Yvona, I know you have a fabulous story here and agree with the advice you’ve received in these comments. Focus more on the story itself, and what makes it unique, and you’ll have a pitch as amazing as your story

  8. viviankirkfield says:

    Well, Susanna, it may be summer…but since we had a crazy winter and no spring, who knows what the summer will bring. Fingers crossed that your A/C gets repaired! And thanks for the virtual chocolate…after 10 days in Chicago with family, I definitely need to watch those calories.

    Yvonne, I think you’ve gotten some excellent advice in the comments above. I do love the idea of a multigenerational story…and there have been several gardening books recently, so we know it is a marketable topic. Kathy Halsey hit the nail on the head when she said your pitch was a bit more like a marketing proposal. For me, a pitch is a one or two sentence hook that will result in the editor/agent tossing the cover letter aside and grabbing the manuscript because they can’t wait to read it.
    Also, I wouldn’t announce that it is a gentle rhyming book, although if you want to give a hint of that, you could incorporate a line or two of your manuscript into the pitch. Of course, I don’t know what your story is about, but it could go something like this:

    Sally digs a little hole.”Take care,” says Grandma. “There’s a mole.” So Sally digs another one. And plants her seedlings in the sun. All year long, Sally dreamed of buying a bike with money from selling vegetables at the big farmer’s market, but summer hailstorms and early frosts threaten her plan and Sally must find a way to save her garden.

    .

  9. sherry alexander says:

    Susanna, my blood sugars just hit a new level by just looking at that cake, but my mouth is still watering. I love chocolate.

    Yvonne, is this a non-fiction book? The part, ” introducing many vegetables in a fun way” sounds as if you are writing non-fiction, but it is not clear. I would like to know more about the story itself. Is it just introducing the vegetables, or is it a story involving grandma and what her grandchild finds in the garden? Either way, it would be interesting and a book I would buy for my gardener 4 year old grandson who loves planting veggies, but not eating them.

    I agree with taking the word “gentle” out of the pitch, and the marketing portion is extra information that would be included in a query. Best of luck!

  10. yangmommy says:

    Will I gain weight just by reading the recipe, or salivating over the picture? 😉

    Yvona, I like the idea of your book & I’d be tempted to glance through it. Yet two things about your pitch stand out to me…one, the fact that it’s a rhyming story. Rhyme is so very hard to pull off, so if you’re not an expert, be careful! 🙂 Two, your pitch itself is gentle and quiet. I want to know more about why your book/story will stand out against others? You seem to be filling a market niche, but tell me more about the story itself…what vegetables are you highlighting, and why not fruit? Is their a tow line that’s pulling the reader through the story, other than seasonal foods…ie a character that’s planting all of these? Also, you mention backmatter for recipes re the dishes mentioned–do you describe actual meals or only individual produce? I love what you’ve got here, I just want to add a bit more chili pepper to the mix to make it jump 🙂 Best of luck!

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    COMMENT POSTED FOR YVONA

    Thanks everyone, great comments so far. As i said in my comment above – Kathy Halsey & Vivian Kirkfield – i already did take out the part about gentle rhyming. Maybe i could add They plan, plant and harvest together, and cook delicious frittatas and pies with their garden’s abundance. Vivian Kirkfield if you can name some of the recent garden books that would be great, i have some in my comps but i could take a look at others.

  12. matthewlasley says:

    I am running on summer teacher brain today and forgot to hop on this morning (because I forgot it was Wednesday) to look at this weeks pitch. A little chocolate donut cake might give me the energy boost I need.

    I agree with Kathy and Vivian that this seems like a proposal or query than a pitch. I want the story. Think of it as a headline. It needs to catch my eye and give me just enough details to want me to read more.
    The shorter the story (221 in your case), the more concise the pitch (yours is 96).

  13. Sandra Foreman Sutter says:

    Such wonderful comments here already, so I don’t feel I can add very much. I agree with bringing in more about the plot and main character, but also with keeping it short. Easy, right? Okay, it’s not, but what helpful suggestions so far. Keep it up, Yvona!

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