What a Would You Read It Straight From The Editor line up we have today!
Fun times for all!
It’s always such a great learning experience to hear what editor Erin Molta has to say!
Let’s jump right in, shall we?!
First off, we have such a treat! Straight From The Editor for FOUR (count them! 4!) pitches: April 2020, May/September 2020, October 2020, and November/December 2020!
You will recall Sierra’s winning pitch from April:
Title: The Bug Battle Circus
Audience: Children ages 3-8
Genre: Narrative Nonfiction/Humor
Pitch: When household pests go head to head in the Bug Battle Circus, which crawly critters will be victorious? You guess! A wild, interactive story comparable to Bob Shea’s Crash, Splash, or Moo! and the Who Would Win? series. Nonfiction backmatter included.
Here’s what Erin had to say:
I can see the potential for this and understand why you’re comparing it to already published books but that shouldn’t be in the pitch. That’s in the query letter. The pitch is your sell line. What makes your book special—apart from Crash Splash Moo or Who Would Win? It would be great to get at least one example of a competition in the pitch. Even a wild interactive story is telling us, not showing us and an example from the story would have more impact on an editor. Perhaps something more like: Household pests go head to head in the Bug Battle Circus—ants and mice compete to see who can hoist the most crumbs. Which crawly critters will be victorious in this interactive story? Nonfiction backmatter included.
Lindsey’s winning pitch from May/September was:
The Wind Keeper
PB ages 4-8
On Jenny’s eighth birthday, Papa tells her that she comes from a long line of Wind Keepers. Together they harness the power of the wind to change the seasons and send kites flying high. But when Papa suddenly passes away, her world becomes still. Jenny must find the strength to overcome her grief and bring the wind back to the valley.
And Erin said:
This seems almost perfect. I would suggest one tweak—just to have slightly more impact. Rather than “her world becomes still” because it’s everybody’s world and no wind affects everybody, I’d say “the world becomes still.”
Nicole’s winning pitch from October was:
When her octopus stuffie, Duchess, moves to the ocean to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, Charley isn’t sure she’s brave enough to face the first day of school alone. Duchess and Charley comfort and cheer each other through letters until Duchess realizes that some things are even more precious than her magnifique new tail.
And Erin said:
This sounds adorable—so much going on between a pretend animal moving away to become a fantasy creature of a whole different type in a whole different place and then to write letters to her friend/owner. So much suspension of belief needs to be unpacked here. Not saying that can’t be done but maybe Duchess goes back to the sea because of her lifelong dream to become a real octopus but realizes life in the ocean is dangerous and scary and lonely without her friend Charley. Just a thought. At the very least, I think you need to add “beloved” before octopus stuffie (as shown below)—just to make it clear that Duchess is a well-loved longtime companion of Charley’s.
When her beloved octopus stuffie, Duchess, moves to the ocean to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, Charley isn’t sure she’s brave enough to face the first day of school alone. Duchess and Charley comfort and cheer each other through letters until Duchess realizes that some things are even more precious than her magnifique new tail.
Last but not least, Patricia’s winning post from November/December was:
Working Title: Back to the Sea (PB 4-8)
The Pitch: At sunrise on a lush, tropical island, an inquisitive child accompanies a huge cast of terrestrial hermit crabs as they scritchedy-scratch and clickety-clack on their annual journey to spawn in the sea. They face rocky terrain, hungry gulls, and larger animals that could crush them, but the crabs remain focused on their instinctive goal. This lyrical STEM manuscript is Hawk Rising set in the Caribbean.
Erin had this to say:
This seems very interesting. However, I would encourage you to get more of your lyrical language into the pitch—show an editor, don’t tell an editor that your text is lyrical. The scritchedy-scratch clickety-clack are great and I think that you’d be better off using another line to mention the dangers a hermit crab faces on its trek from the trees to the ocean. No need to mention another book (Hawk Rising) in the pitch. That goes in the query letter.
I am always so interested to hear Erin’s thoughts, and she is so helpful and generous to share them with us! I hope you all found this as educational as I did!
After all that learning, I think we need Something Chocolate, don’t you? Packed with vegetables (from the cocoa BEAN) and protein (from the peaNUT butter) and calcium (because I just dare you to eat these without a glass of milk!), let’s start the day off right with this healthy breakfast!
Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes
I told you you’d need some milk 😊
Now that you (surely!) feel totally energized (from all the nutrients of course, not the sugar surge 😊) I think we’re ready to direct our full attention to today’s pitch which comes to us from Deborah. Deborah Foster is a home designer, mother, and a fantastic cook. Her CRAV-O-METER tends to have a “sweet” outcome and her all-time favorite food is cherry pie. She is a master at writing while cooking supper and, thankfully, her husband doesn’t mind eating burnt casseroles every now and then. Deborah is a member of 12×12, Inked Voices, and SavvyAuthors. She is always looking for more writing friends on Twitter. Follow her @DeborahClaytonF. A
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: The Bitter Tastebud
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Amargo is a bitter tastebud who can’t stand to take another sweet, salty, or lip-puckering bite. But he is outnumbered and so is his vote on the CRAV-O-METER. Amargo must figure out how to change the vote or continue eating the food he detests.
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 Deborah 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 April, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!
Deborah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I usually say something I’m looking forward to here, but today I have something for YOU to look forward to! I know I’m a little bit Mars-crazy, having written a book about Mars and the rovers, but if you haven’t seen this official video from NASA of Perseverance landing on Mars you’re in for a treat. It is, to put it plainly, absolutely incredible! Watch the video, share it with your kids and/or students, maybe read MARS’ FIRST FRIENDS along with it… 😊 but don’t miss the video!
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊