August 24, 2011

Would You Read It Wednesday - The Fifth Pitch! And A Surprise!!!

It's Wednesday folks, and you know what that means...  Time for the world's most awesome game, Would You Read It!

But before I give you today's pitch, I have some super awesome exciting news!  A new twist to Would You Read It.

So far, I have posted people's pitches (I just have to stop and admire that accidental alliteration :)) and you all have written in with your opinions and helpful comments.

NOW, in addition, we are going to have a vote once a month where you all get to say which of the pitches for that month you thought was best.  The winner's pitch will be read by none other than Erin Molta, editor extraordinaire!!!

Erin is an experienced senior editor of picture book, early readers, chapter, middle grade, and YA books, as well as novelty and licensed titles. She has been in children's publishing for more than twenty years and has a keen understanding of early reader through YA audiences. She has an excellent reputation with established authors, illustrators, and agents.

She is currently evaluating manuscripts for publishers as well as freelance editing for prospective authors before submission to publishing houses.


What an opportunity!

Erin will read each month's winning pitch and supply valuable feedback to the author on how to improve it.  And who knows?  If she likes it enough, she may ask for a partial or complete ms to read!

And you thought Would You Read It couldn't get any better :)

I must also add that Erin has a special place in my heart... it was she who purchased my very first ms for publication, The House That Mack Built for Little Simon :) ... so you know she has good taste :)

Because the first 2 Would You Read It entries were in July and there were only 2, the first vote will include them with the August entries, which means there will be 5 or 6 instead of 4 or 5 and the vote will take place after the final August entry.  (Which gives me a week to figure out Poll Daddy or some other voting scheme - advice welcome :))

But isn't this so exciting???!!!

OKAY!  So onward to today's pitch, which comes to us from the lovely Pam, a writer, mother, and teacher of maritime history and seamanship at the San Diego Maritime Museum.

Pam presents us with this entry:

Title:  When This Is Over, I Will Go To School And I Will Learn To Read: A Story Of Hope And Friendship For One Young Kenyan Orphan
Genre: PB
The Pitch:  No one knows the story of Kenya better than the children who live it, and it is their truth that is certain to nudge the hearts and minds of parents, teachers and children everywhere.


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 Pam 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.  (I figured y'all would get tired of me rewriting the same paragraph every week about the rules of the game so I put them up there :))

As an added note, this week's entry is a little different.  Pam has self-published and is looking for ways to bring attention to her book, hence her interest in improving her pitch.  If you're interested in learning more about Pam and her book, please visit her website and view her trailer on YouTube (the link for which I cannot get to work in spite of just trying 400 times so please search When This Is Over.mp4 by mabeldog4).

Pam eagerly awaits your comments and suggestions, and Erin is waiting excitedly in the wings for the first pitch winner in a week or two!!!
Reactions:

32 comments:

  1. Wow, Thank you from all of us for arranging to have an editor read the top pitches of each month! What a great idea :)

    I would definitely pick up a book that is written from a child's perspective about the truth of life in Kenya, but I think the pitch might grab me more if it was a bit more personal. Is it going to be the perspective of one child or children in general? And will it be about specific aspects of life or narrowed down? Maybe the pitch could have one or two details about this to grab the reader a bit more? But I am definitely interested already based on this pitch!

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  2. Super idea, Susanna! Fellow Campaigner here, and I love your blog...so delightful! I'll have to post my pitch soon. I have two PBs that I'm currently shopping. One, no one will touch with a ten foot pole because it rhymes.
    I had a literature professor edit the rhyme scheme, so it should be spot on. Both adorable (of course, a mother would say so, right!) books. If I could only get the opportunity...

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  3. Awesome news, Susanna!

    As to the pitch, I have a soft spot in my heart for East Africa, so would definitely read a book about Kenyan children. However, the pitch doesn't actually tell us what the book is about. Who is the main character? What challenge will this character face? What conflict will prevent the character from achieving his or her goal?

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  4. First off... I love this "WOULD YOU READ IT" program. I am going to check out the details and give it a try. What a wonderful prize to win!

    As for this book... I would say MAYBE. While I think it is touching, it also sounds really serious. Is it too serious for a child to enjoy? I think we need a little more info about the character and the plot.

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  5. Hi Pam,

    Thank you for sharing your PB pitch. My first thought was "Maybe." I might be more compelled to read it if there were some details that sparked my interest in this individual orphan. What makes him/her special?
    The title felt long to me, and I think there's something in the title that could be moved into the pitch. The title implies that one child has an overwhelming obstacle to face before learning to read. Will he/she be able to go to school if they overcome it? I'd love for some of that to be shared in the pitch rather than the title.
    Good luck revising your pitch. There's no doubt it will be a touching story.

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  6. My answer for this one is a maybe. I’m intrigued by the concept of the book, but the pitch isn’t selling it for me yet. I think a few words could be removed to make it tighter.

    My trimmed version:
    “No one knows the story of Kenya better than the children who live it, and their truth is certain to nudge the hearts and minds of parents, teachers and children everywhere.”

    I would have another think about ‘nudge the hearts and minds’ and see if you can come up with something stronger. I’m not fussed on the word ‘nudge’ – I don’t think it conveys what you want here. I really like the first clause though.

    I also agree with what the others have said about including something more personal about the child the book focuses on. I think if you had a lead-in paragraph about the child, and then incorporate his name into your current pitch as the second paragraph (instead of the word 'their'), you’ll have a compelling pitch.

    Hope that makes sense! :-)

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  7. Kimberly, Candy, Brooke, Abby, Alisha and Cally - thank you all for your very helpful and thoughtful comments thus far!

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  8. Thanks all. I agree totally, and voiced much the same concerns to Susanna with respect to being held to a one sentence pitch. My book requires more to do it justice. It is unique and deserves to have it's special elements identified; for instance it's true, based on my own personal experience there. It is told in the voice of one orphan, a "real boy." The book was illustrated by the village youngsters with whom I worked while there. And the proceeds from the sale of the book are promised back to them. There are many color photographs in the book as well. It is truly a one of a kind - teach a valuable lesson, open young minds, entertain, learn another language (There are translated Swahili words in the story) and make a benevolent donation all with one click of the mouse! I would have loved to have had all these points in the pitch!

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  9. That is exciting news.

    I think the title should be longer and the pitch should be more specific. Like the title should be in the pitch. How the readers will react should not.

    The title makes me want to read it.

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  10. This is a great idea, Pam, and a book I would love to read! You might want to consider a shorter title, and perhaps the pitch sounds a bit from an adult's perspective. But, oh, how I hope this book finds a home.

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  11. Wow Pam! Now that I just read what you wrote I am definitely hooked on your book. I know your comment is probably longer than a pitch should be, but you just personalized it and made it sound unique, one-of-a-kind. Thank you so much! I've been thinking about your book today and came back, because I was hoping to learn more about it and I'm so glad I did!

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  12. pam Bitterman/AuthorAugust 25, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    Thank you all! I'm not sure exactly how to pitch this book simply, because it is not a simple concept. I believe it is a great story, however, unlike anything I've come across, and it needs to be told. There are children waiting. If anyone can come up with a shorter and more "grab you" pitch, I am open! Also, I have had some reviews of the book which speak directly to the tile length, (all questing first, and then positive!) and one used it as the subject of her review -"How a book title can be long, and work." The title is a quote, a chant of the little boy in the story. It is important, in it's entirety.

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  13. I missed your previous Would You Read It posts. What a clever concept, and a nice way to showcase fellow writers on your blog. For Pam's, it's a MAYBE that will lean towards a YES if I had young children of my own.

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  14. So glad to see you here, J.C., and so glad you like the idea! Maybe you'll want to submit a pitch one of these days...? :)

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  15. Hi Susanna! Fellow Campaigner here, and I love this Would You REad It concept!!!

    Regarding the PB, my initial thought was that the title was too long, so my answer was maybe. BUT as a teacher, I think this would be very useful in the classroom to show life in Kenya plus the emotional aspects that the book is sure to convey.

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  16. Hi Kelly - so glad you stopped by! I hope you'll have a pitch to submit :) I have to agree about this story's potential usefulness in the classroom!

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  17. Hi Pam, I'd have to say Maybe, but veering towards No, even though I have a lot of interest in Kenya. Your pitch is too vague: focus on the story. Who is the main character? What is his problem? How will he resolve it? I think you say in your comment above that this is a true story, so why not start out:

    "The true story of (name), an orphaned Kenyan boy who...etc. (specifically what his problem is and how he succeeds). That would get your audience identifying immediately with this boy and his real life struggles.

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  18. This is fascinating. Where did you get the idea for such a brilliant blog theme.

    Regarding this week's pitch, I too think the title is too long and I would like to be told a bit more about the content. So I'm a maybe.

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  19. Rosalind - I thought it up out of my own little head... and then I got the idea about Eric afterwards which, I think, makes it even better :) I hope you'll join in the fun. Send a pitch! :)

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  20. My (and perhaps even Susanna's) secret hope was that someone would come up with the "magic pitch sentence" for my book. The obvious upshot of any pitch is to entice folks to buy the book, but particularly in my case as every purchase literally represents a life-line for kids at mortal risk. Thank you all for your thoughtful and helpful comments, and Gail, yours will have immediate repercussions. It will be applied to my pitch forthwith!! Again, thank you all!. My daughter is a teacher and she says she can envision this book in every classroom. I wish to make that vision a reality.

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  21. Yes, I would read it, but I think the title needs to be shorter. It seems as though it would be an excellent book to read to kids to help get them excited about reading and understanding that not every child (even now in 2011) has the opportunity to read. When looking for PB for young children the message needs to be there FAST so that kids are into the story immediately. I think just the first part of your title would be intriguing enough to get kids and parents to ask the question: why WOULDN'T I got o school to read. From the pitch this child sounds determined and motivated and potentially inspirational. Good luck with your book sales and building readership!

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  22. Susannah--this is an awesome idea!! I'm definitely going to get involved--thanks for starting such an exciting program!

    Pam--I think you have started such a noble and worthwhile project! Your book sounds very interesting and the cause is wonderful. Based on the pitch, I'd be a "maybe." Personally, I like a shorter book title and at least one detail or lure in the pitch about the book. It's risky to tell me how I will feel reading it because you don't know me personally. :)

    Carla

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  23. Carla - so glad you like the idea! I'll look forward to your pitch... oh, wait! It's already in my inbox :) I;ll put you on the calendar :)

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  24. Wow that is an awesome surprise!!! Thanks Susannah for setting that up :)

    As for the pitch I love it but I think the title is way too long. I'd go with something short and catchy that encapsulates the pitch.
    In fact you could simply call it: When this is over.

    Best
    Catherine

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  25. Susanna, this has turned into some kind of happening! Absolutely awesome that you've snagged a pro to share thoughts. (Might have to get a pitch ready myself!)

    As for the current pitch, I'd give it a maybe. While I think the concept has merit, the pitch really doesn't tell us much about the specific character, the journey or really even what we're going to find in the book. I think instead of telling us (readers) what we are going to intrinsically gain by reading, the pitch should maybe tell us about the actual story.

    Again, great idea/topic, just more about the story. Looking forward to reading Erin's thoughts on some of the pitches! (I hope she'll share them here, too.)

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  26. Thanks for your enthusiasm, E.J.! I'll look forward to your pitch! I'm really excited about Erin's involvement, too - I think we'll all learn a lot :)

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  27. Thanks all, again, again! And Susanna, thank you, especially.

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  28. I am a fellow campaigner and am amazed by all of the opportunities I've come across in just one day! You are really paying it forward and that's so great.

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  29. Hi Susanna, I am a fellow campaigner here.
    As to the pitch, it just seemed to bland. So I would be a maybe headed toward no.
    I really like Gail's put on the pitch. I agree with her about Telling in the pitch that it is a true story based on an orphan named... who must overcome... to achieve his goal.
    That would make me want to know more.

    Pamela Jo

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  30. Bridget - thanks so much! I'm glad you like the blog and hope you'll be back. If I haven't been to your yet, I'll get there soon.

    Pamela Jo - I agree that Gail's comment was very helpful. See you around the campaign :)

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  31. Got it guys! Thanks all!! The title will be shortened if I get an offer to publish in hard copy. The pitch has already been altered to reflect all these thoughtful and insightful reflections! Susanna, big big kudos on developing such an obviously compelling site. I will continue to follow you.
    p.s. the title of the book I am presently working on is a simple SHE, and the title of my nonfiction about my Africa journey is merely MUZUNGU. Now I'll alter their pitches as well. You guys have all been great. For all the naysayers and thumbs-uppers alike out there, consider buying the children's book. Share with your kids or students, open your hearts and minds, and make a MUCH needed charitable donation all with one click of the mouse. Thanks, again. And be safe out there!

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  32. I'm late making this comment as I just found Susanna's site. I agree that you should have a name in the pitch for your central character. I am sure that teachers wanting students to know about the world outside theirs, would be interested.
    What about "After this, I'll learn and have hope"
    My friend goes with a Christian group to Uganda or Malawi each year and she sees needs we need to know about.
    I'd pitch this kind of thing:-
    Mirembe lives with grandmother as her parents had died; she collects wood and water daily but really wants to go to school. Her chance comes when she meets a kind man.
    I don't know about your orphan but the story above is about a girl whom I support in Uganda. She was eight and had no way to get an education until a kind missionary enrolled her in a program and asked for support for her. Mirembe is now 16 years old and writes good English and has hope for her future. Your pitch needs to help us anticipate that kind of thing.
    God bless you
    Jane

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