April 11, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday - The 35th Pitch

Greetings, fellow Phyllis followers!  (Try saying "fellow Phyllis followers" three times fast before coffee... or even after!)
And while we're doing tongue twisters, try saying "red bulb blue bulb", "toy boat toy boat", or "purple paper people" three times fast :)  I love tongue twisters, even though I'm not very facile with them, so if you know any good ones, please share! :)

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  Phyllis.

Due to the idiosyncrasies of the postal service, Phyllis has been beneath the radar for a few days, but she had a lovely Easter visit with Kerie in Pennsylvania, and I think we'll be hearing from Georgia, Colorado, England, Australia, and Vermont any time now!  Posts from Prince Edward Island, and somewhere in Italy are expected somewhere around April 24 and 25, and there are quite a few in between.  The fun never stops around here! :)

Later today, Woolliam (also known as Baahb) and I will be wending our way to a local library for a pajama reading of Can't Sleep Without Sheep.  There will be farm animal noises and singing and reading and coloring and all manner of fun and games because that is how we operate.  Phyllis will be coming too because she can't stand being left behind, but she has promised to try not to steal Woolliam's show.  We will see....!  She's liable to push the boundaries since she still has 20,813 likes to accumulate before she ties with Punxsutawney Phil on Face Book!  Feel free to make my day easier by liking her new page :)

But enough about our agenda!  Let's get right on to Would You Read It, shall we?

Today's pitch comes to us from the delightful Rebecca C (not the same as Rebecca H whose YA pitch we had last month!).  Before writing for children, Rebecca inspected pantyhose, taught English in Taiwan, worked for a Russian comedian and traveled the world as a tour director. Born in America, she now lives in England. Rebecca writes picture books and poetry, and her fractured fairy tale 'Monsterella' won the 2011 SCBWI Barbara Karlin grant.

Here's her pitch:

Working Title:  Broomstick Rodeo
Age/Genre:  Picture Book (4-7)
The Pitch:  The Thistlegulch Sisters have thirteen trophies between them and they’re determined to win another. They practice for the rodeo until they’re chapped under their chaps and have calluses on their warts. But when a buckin’ broomstick charges towards their youngest sister, Myrna, they realize there are more important things in life than winning trophies.

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 Rebecca 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 early June - not that far away! - so go ahead and send your pitch for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Rebecca is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

See you Friday for PPBs, and hopefully with more updates from Phyllis, and maybe this month's Straight From The Editor!


Reactions:

78 comments:

  1. Thank you for having me on your blog, Susanna. And thank you to everyone who reads my pitch. Extra thanks if you let me know where I'm going wrong or right. :)

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  2. Thank YOU for bravely posting a pitch! I'm sure people will be along to help out... it's still early in the USA :)

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  3. Bucking broomsticks and Witches rodeos? You bet I'd read it.

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  4. Absolutely! You had me at "Thistlegulch"!

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  5. The Thistlegulch Sisters sound SUPER DUPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the book also has bucking broomsticks? What's not to love? Your query is wonderful and funny too. I would love to read it. :-)

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  6. Witches meet cowgirls...I would definitely read it. I'm not sure i can offer any criticism for the pitch. It's enticing and well written. Good luck Rebecca!

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  7. Yes, definitely would read it. The title alone is intriguing. Great job Rebecca!!! Now I'm wondering what happens to Myrna.

    Love the elephants Susanna :)

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  8. Kirsten, Robyn, Dede, Delores and Jennifer - thank you all so much for your encouraging comments for Rebecca!

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  9. Aren't they sweet? I chose elephants for Joanna :)

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  10. Thank you, Delores! I've been on a witch 'kick' this year and have written a few stories with witches in unusual settings.

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  11. Creating new names for stories can be so much fun. I'm glad 'Thistlegulch' was effective. Cheers, Dede!

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  12. You're too kind, Robyn! Thanks for making me feel so super duper happy today. (and for giving me an idea for another PB...)

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  13. Thanks, Kirsten. I appreciate your comments! It was one of those few--dare I say magical--books that wrote itself.

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  14. Great name, great premise, great intrigue, a resounding YES, this week!

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  15. Thanks so much, Jennifer! I don't know about you, but I very often come up with a title first and then develop a story around it--that was certainly the case on this occasion.

    Susanna - I showed the elephant picture to my six year old this morning and we both 'oohed' and 'aahed' together. It really is a sweet photo.

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  16. Definate yes. I love the cross between witches and rodeo. Also the pitch was nicely written and gave me what I think is a fair expectation of what to expect from the book.

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  17. Catherine JohnsonApril 11, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Love your tongue twister, Susanna, excited about all your animals getting out and about.

    I love that story and pitch. The only that might condense it a bit is perhaps putting rodeo before trophies in the first line. Then you can use that like a pitch too.

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  18. Inspected pantyhose? That's amazing!! I LOVE this pitch...the ryhthm, the humor, the callouses on their warts. Absolutely a winner.

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  19. Rachel SchieffelbeinApril 11, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    I'd read it. :) I love the voice you show in this pitch.

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  20. Rita Antoinette BorgApril 11, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    I would read it because it is about witches. But a rodeo for witched what a great idea!

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  21. Thanks, Joanna! I'm glad to hear why it worked for you but now I'm blushing.

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  22. A fun pitch! I'm a yes. Interested to see what happens.

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  23. I appreciate your comments on the pitch. Many thanks, Randy!

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  24. That's great, Catherine! Thanks very much for the suggestion.

    I also enjoyed the tongue twisters today and was hoping to read some in the comments. :)

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  25. Yes, I love the idea of a broomstick rodeo.

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  26. Inspecting pantyhose didn't seem very amazing at the time--just muscle-aching work. But it paid for a fantastic trip to Europe when I was in college, and it's certainly one of the more unusual jobs on my resume. Thanks for your kind comments, Carter!

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  27. Your comment means a lot, Rachel. I tried to give the sisters strong, unique voices in the story, but I felt I'd lost a sense of voice in the pitch. I'm glad to hear that isn't the case.

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  28. Many thanks, Rita! I spent some time brainstorming ideas and titles that placed popular characters in unusual settings. 'Broomstick Rodeo' was a title that came out of this brainstorming session, and then thankfully, the story wrote itself.

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  29. Thanks, Stacy! I'm pleased that the pitch managed to pique interest in what happens next in the story.

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  30. Thank you, Hannah! It's a combination that supplied ample opportunity to inject humor.

    Just to add that it's 10pm here in the UK, so I'm going to sign off for tonight but I wanted to thank everyone again for their comments and thank Susanna for giving me this opportunity to present my pitch. Thank you all!

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  31. I like the names Wooliam and Baahb! Hurray for Phyllis! Three cheers for Phyllis! YAY! :) I would like to read the book! It sounds funny but has a great message to it!
    Erik

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  32. I'm not so sure about this one. The pitch leaves me hanging a little. The idea of broomsticks (I'm thinking witches) in a rodeo is intriguing. However, I'm not sure why a charging broomstick might change their minds about winning the rodeo. What exactly trumps the trophies?

    I get the impression Myrna might be in danger, and keeping her safe becomes a priority. Yet the pitch doesn't quite make the connection for me.

    I'd need a little bit more to draw me in. But like I said, rodeos and the possibility of witches is a nice catch. A great cover could really seal the deal.

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  33. Yes I would read it! Love the premise and the pitch is well-written.

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  34. Stina LindenblattApril 11, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    I think it might read it if I were into reading picture books. This premise is cool. I agree with what Reena suggested for clarifying the ending.

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  35. Love your tongue twister and your sheep news. That pitch sounds great. I would try and squeeze the word rodeo before trophies to show in your hook what the story is about.

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  36. The picture of the elephants is too cute!!!

    As for the pitch... YES! This would be a big hit in my home. What a fun idea and I love the "moral" (if you will) of the story too. Very fun idea and I like the title too! :)

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  37. Glad you enjoyed the whole kit and caboodle today Catherine :)

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  38. I know! I loved that too :) I have not done enough weird jobs in my life, apparently :)

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  39. Thanks for chiming in outside your preferred age range, Stina!

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  40. Thanks for your thoughtful response, Reena!

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  41. Woolliam is for the older kids who get it - Baahb is for the younger kids - the ones who get to hear the Counting To Sleep Song (which I made up and let's face it, nothing rhymes with Woolliam! :) Baahb, however, can be successfully rhymed with Jaahb!) Phyllis thanks you for saying hurray and three cheers for her :) Glad you liked the pitch.

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  42. I am very fond of elephants :) When my daughter was 2 she used to call them "eddawentas" so I am still known to refer to them that way too :)

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  43. Julie, Hannah, Stacy, Rita, Rachel, Randy, and Joanna - thank you all for your helpful comments for Rebecca! :)

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  44. Oh, yes! Sounds great! Intriguing, great title, cool character names, and you can't forget the buckin' broomstick! I like that the pitch does not give away the ending.

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  45. Yes! The pitch sounds great--warts and all :) And I love her other title-Monsterella. Very creative!

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  46. Of course I would read it! I'm a Texas girl--and this sounds like my kind of book! ;) I also thought the pitch was very well written and really reeled me in.

    Thanks for the tongue-twisters Susanna! I'm positive I won't have them out of my head for at least three days! :) You just never know what kind of goodies that your gonna walk away with when you stop by the "Oh Susanna Blog!" :)

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  47. Thanks, Erik! The message is there but hopefully it's not seen to be too heavy-handed in the text.

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  48. That's so helpful, Reena! Thanks for that. I'll look into making the connection clearer in a rewrite of the pitch.

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  49. Thank you so much, Julie! I wouldn't be here on Susanna's blog if it wasn't for your posting last November introducing her to your readers.

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  50. Cheers, Stina! I will definitely look at my pitch again after this week and see about clarifying the ending. I appreciate you commenting, even though you don't read PBs.

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  51. I'm thinking this might be the same Catherine below? If not, then I apologize for the assumption. Will take on board your suggestion. Many thanks!

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  52. Thank you, Christie! My mother's name is Myrna so I couldn't resist using it as a 'witch' name, although she is anything but. :) She's here visiting from the US now, so it's been really nice to share everyone's comments about my pitch with her.

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  53. You sound like you've got a great sense of humor, Coleen. Thank you for your comments! In the case of 'Monsterella' I was generating ideas for fractured fairy tales and came up with an image of a Fairy Godmonster. The title fell into place naturally.

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  54. There is so much inspiration at Susanna's blog site. I like the picture of the elephants too, and think there could be a story idea in the term 'eddawentas.' Thank you, Leigh! It's been nice waking up to all these positive and supportive comments and vibes!

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  55. Yay, for Texas! Or should I say, Yeehaw? I'm pleased to hear the pitch reeled you in, Natalie. Thank you for your comments!

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  56. Yes, I loved the pitch! The description was excellent and drew me right in and wanting more.

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  57. Yes! Your pitch is interesting and dynamic without giving away the entire story and the tone of the story comes through beautifully. Nicely done!

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  58. YES! YES! YES! I would read. Great pitch.

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  59. Thanks, Jennifer! And sorry not to respond sooner.

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  60. I'm feeling fired up now to practice writing a few more pitches. Thanks for the enthusiastic comment, Miranda.

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  61. Maybe. I would pick it up because I would want to know what a broom rodeo is. From your pitch I was a bit confused. It took me a couple of reads to realize that they were witches and riding brooms, not bulls. I'm assuming they are witches because of the reference to warts.

    The idea of riding brooms instead of bulls in a rodeo is something I've never seen so your story seems unique and that would make me want to read it. And probably would be a reason why a publisher would want to publish it.

    Maybe mention right at the beginning that they are riding buckin' brooms. For me riding bulls at a rodeo is ingrained in my head so to get the image out of my head I need something right away that let's me know it's not bulls. I know that you say buckin' brooms, but for some reason it did not register with me until I re-read your pitch but probably would have if I had read it first. Reading about a typical rodeo does not interest me, but witches riding a broom does. Good luck!

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  62. Monsterella sounds like something I would want to read. I love fractured fairy tales.

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  63. Really like the pitch -AND the book (I've been lucky enough to read it). I love the callouses and warts. My only thoughts are to say the OLDER Thistlegultch Sisters -to set up the fact that there's a younger one, and to make it clearer that she's in danger so when a bucking broomstick.... THREATENING their younger sister happens, we realise straightaway that she's in danger. Great pitch.

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  64. Yes, I do that often. I have a whole file just on titles :)

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  65. Susanna!!! My mom came to visit and guess what she brought with her? Our own copy of Punxsutawney Phyllis! I've read it six times in the last two days. My kids love it!

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  66. Thanks for your comments on the pitch, Clare (and the book)! I had 'older' in the original pitch and then removed it. I think I'll put it back in.

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  67. Great point, Rena! Because I know the story, I've assumed too much, and as you say, the reader won't automatically realize the witches are riding broomsticks rather than bulls. Thanks for that!

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  68. Thanks for chiming in on 'Monsterella' also!

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  69. So glad you enjoyed them :) I aim to please :)

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  70. Aw! Thank so much for telling me! I'm SO glad you're enjoying it! There are coloring pages and paper dolls and other fun things on my website if you need an entertaining activity to go along with it some rainy afternoon :) Thanks so much!!!

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  71. Clare, Rena, Miranda, Heather, Jennifer, Coleen, and Christie - thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts with Rebecca!

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  72. I',m catching up and when I read this Wednesday, I knew I'd have to get back to it to give it the time it needed because I have been out of town.
    Rebecca, I think your pitch covers the book well (and I, like Clare, have been lucky enough to read this fun manuscript) but I would rearrange it some. Also, if your going to use buckin' you may should use winnin'. Here is my input.

    For years, the two oldest Thistlegultch Sisters have been winnin' trophies at the Broomstick Rodeo. Now it's time to train their younger sister, Myrna. They practice until they’re chapped under their chaps and have calluses on their warts. But when a buckin' broomstick gets loose and heads toward Myrna, they realize there are more important things in life than winnin' trophies.

    Fun tongue twisters, Susanna! And I love this---Woolliam (also known as Baahb). That is cute...cute!

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  73. So true! Winnin' is a key word in this book. And I take both yours and Clare's point about spelling out oldest/eldest T. Sisters at the beginning. I'm so lucky to have such great critique partners! Thanks very much, Penny!

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  74. Thanks for your thoughtful comment for Rebecca. Glad you enjoyed the tongue-twisters (really, I was hoping you would have some to add :)) and Woolliam/Baahb :)

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  75. I'd read it just 'cause of the name Thistlegulch Sisters. Things as imaginative as that pull me in. As for them being witches. I didn't get it, so I think it should definitely be mentioned. Seems a pretty important part of the tale.

    Just a thought... Chapped chaps and callused warts can't stop 'em from practicin', but a buckin' broomstick headed for their youngest sister might.

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  76. It’s the Witchitaw County Rodeo so perhaps if I give that a mention in the pitch it will become clear that the characters are witches. Thanks for your comments, Sharron!

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