August 31, 2011

Would You Read It Wednesday - The Sixth Pitch!

Grab your Cheetos and settle into the recliner!  It's time for Would You Read It!


Yes, Cheetos are a healthy breakfast! (they have cheese, which is dairy, duh!  Just make sure you wipe your fingers before you touch your computer or you'll get that orange dust everywhere...)

And no, first thing in the morning is not too early for the recliner! (after you're done with Would You Read It you will be perfectly positioned to enjoy all those other morning game shows!  Besides, you can't really enjoy Cheetos properly on the exercise bike.)

So now, are you ready?

I hope so, because here comes today's pitch *sounds of cheering and wild excitement*

Today's pitch comes to us from Laynie, a children's author from Texas.  She is writing a series about Moochie Mockingbird and this title is to be the second in the series.  (For you fellow campaigners out there, Laynie is also taking part in Rachael Harrie's Writer's Platform Building Campaign so head on out and look her up!)

Title:  Hidden Oaks Camp Or Else!
Genre/Age: MG
The Pitch:  Moochie Mockingbird and other animal friends lead endangered animals away from a huge, deadly Texas Hill Country wildfire to the safety of 'firewise community' Hidden Oaks, a summer youth camp. 

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 Laynie 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 :))

Laynie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

And once Laynie's pitch has had a couple days to be evaluated, I will put up the official poll so you can all vote on whose pitch should be sent to Erin!  Really, the excitement is practically unbearable!  Where are my Cheetos?  :)


  1. Oh I'd read that it sounds exciting and funny. I read a chapter book about escaping a fire recently and it was brilliant (and yes the name escapes me, the cover was blue :))
    The only thing I would say is for a hook the 'Texas Hill Country Wildfire' is a bit of a mouthful. How about just wild fire?

  2. 100% Absolutely! I would buy this book for my girls, because (1) it is unique, and (2) it has the details to let me know it will be a rich adventure. Fantastic job!!!

  3. Hi Susanna, great post, lovely blog, and I like the
    I am a newbie in the campaigner, looking forward to getting to know you. Will pop back to investigate your blog further it looks like fun. Hope to catch up with you later.

  4. Susanna,

    Hi, I'm a fellow campaigner and appreciate you joining my blog. Looking foward to getting to know you! And I love your excuse for eating cheetos for breakfast!

  5. Diane - thanks so much for stopping by. I look forward to getting to know you.

    Allyn - but really, who needs an excuse? :)

  6. YES I would read it. I do expect a moral (cue: the word "firewise") and as a parent/writer I like teaching through stories. I can't imagine the moral in this case being "too" strong or opinionated so yes, go for it.

    Is there one main leader (Moochie Mockingbird) or do a bunch of animals act as a team? Are non-endangered animals helping endangered animals? or are they all in danger and helping each other?

    Brand new campaigner on board here, good to meet you! I expect to be eating sweet corn ice cream for breakfast. :)

  7. Maybe, but a maybe that is more yes than no. The reason is I'm not quite sure how this book will be different than all the others competing for my attention. Perhaps it would help if a bit more voice shined through the pitch? It sounds like a sweet idea though.

    BTW, Susanna, I have you down for four entries for the All Different Kinds of Free giveaway on Bird's-eye View. :)

  8. Yes! My girls and I LOVE books about animals. Then you add in endagered animals and a wildfire and I can see all sorts of educational questions to talk about with the kids after! Moochie is a fun name. Nice job Laynie.

    ps I think keeping Texas in your pitch adds to the story.Just my two cents.

  9. Okay, don't hate me, but I would probably say no. I think that you could up the stakes a bit and leave a little more to guesswork to make me want to read to find out what happens.

    Perhaps something like:
    When a deadly fire rages across the Texas Hills, Moochie Mockingbird must lead the endangered animals who live there to safety.

    Obviously, I haven't read the story, so I could have missed something altogether, but I really think that fewer details in this case make the pitch more exciting. Best of luck with this!

    And nice to meet you, Susanna through the Campaigners!

  10. Catherine, Kimberly, Michelle, Kerri and janet - thanks so much for your comments so far! And Janet - thanks so much for stopping by :)

  11. It's a good idea, though I wouldn't use "deadly" since it's a picture book. I'd like to hear more of the voice of the book. "summer youth camp" bogs the pitch a bit.

  12. Thanks, y'all! Catherine, I think you're right about that cumbersome phrase, but I'm going to have to keep 'Texas' in it! How else can I justify writing "y'all" so many times?
    K and Michelle, thanks for the encouragement and support just when I needed it!
    Kerri, delighted you could see the educational potential. The Moochie series of stories has an environmental message, subtle but there! Thanks for commenting.
    Janet, no hate here! I'm thinking seriously about your comment. I don't need to be writing my own "spoilers!"

  13. As someone who has worked with local fire protection districts, I love the premise of this! I get the idea that it's on the younger end of middle grade (8-12), which is fine (I think it's the phrase "and his animal friends" that makes me think that). If it's actually for the older MG readers, you might want to spice up the pitch a little, like Janet suggested. Good stuff!

  14. Great pitch, and I've had the pleasure of reading it!

  15. Theresa, it's not a picture book. It's a young middle grade book, but thanks for the comment.

  16. Jess, I believe you're right, and I'm thinking of making it a book for young readers. My "source of all knowledge" on wildfires is the local volunteer Fire Chief. We live in a (very) rural area and we've experienced one semi-wildfire this summer. The book will stress fire safety and environmental responsibility, in a subtle way.

  17. Hi Laynie (from another campaigner--I'll have to go visit your blog!). First, you're awesome for putting your pitch out here for comments & critique. I find this kind of discussion extremely helpful--whether I'm the one getting critiqued or not :).

    Second--as is, I would have to say no-leaning-toward-maybe. The "no" part may be a gut reaction to the name "Moochie". That name, coupled with the animal characters, gives me the impression that this is targeted toward a younger-than-middle grade audience. Many middle school kids are paranoid about being being "grown up" and would avoid anything cutesy-sounding.

    That said, there are some really successful middle grade novels with animals as main characters. The "maybe" part of my response is because the idea sounds fun and the environmental angle is terrific. Good luck with this!

  18. I really like the sound of this book. I would buy it for my niece for sure. Fires (we call them bush fires) are a big problem heer in australia too so I love the safety message, plus it sounds like an adventurous wholesome story. Best of luck with it!

  19. Cheryl, after input from some influential people, including you, I have realized that you are probably correct. This is--with some tweaking--a young reader book, not middle grade. BTW, Moochie has the name because he "mooched" all the other birds' songs. (Besides, I like alliteration.) Thanks for your comments and insight.

  20. Hello Susanna! Thanks for stopping by my blog Ink Paper Pen. My name is Gillian (gill) by the way! Looking forward to getting to know to to you. What a lovely blog you have here. I'm working on a PB now but yet to be published, that's why I joined the Campaign. I figure the more I surround myself with writers the better!

    I love this post. I would answer with a maybe. I second the comment above by Janet. I't feels like we know just what is going to happen and a bit more suspense would work well

  21. Yes. Because I used to live in TX and love all stories based there. As a new parent, I'm wondering is that "fire wise" the new code word for a community aware of fire safety. Thanks for sharing your pitch. I have lots to learn about pitches.

  22. Cally and Gill, thanks for the encouraging comments. I've got a lot of work to do, but it sounds as if I'm getting my message through. Even to the other side of the globe! Hooray!

  23. New Campaigner Here....

    Found your blog quite interesting.

    To the question about the Texas animals, yes, I would read it. I would want to know which animals were being protected, what would be done to protect them and how their new environment would keep them safe. These would be easy topics for me to expound on with my grandchildren.

    I vote YES!

  24. I think that the pitch doesn't really give me an indication of stakes, which means that I don't really get emotionally drawn to the story...

  25. Stacy, a firewise community is actually a certification bestowed by the Texas Forest Service (or some other organization I can't think of right now..) Certain guidelines must be met in order to get the cert. The objective is to prevent homes from being destroyed in the event of a wildfire. Email me ( if you'd like more detailed information. Thanks for the comment.

  26. Kris, thanks for your comments. One of my writing objectives is to get conversation started about environmental issues. (I hope my grandkids like the stories, too!)

    Misha, I see exactly what your saying. I'm fairly sure that I'll be changing the category to "young reader," which means I'll probably clarify the pitch a bit.

  27. I'd say Maybe. This sounds cute for younger readers! But I think there is too much specific detail about the setting. I don't need to know exactly where they will be going to safety, because I think the escape from the fire is the story problem. Similarly, it doesn't matter too much to me that it's in Texas Hill Country (unless this is important for your market). I want to know what's unique about your character and/or the escape plan.

  28. Nice pitch.
    Hi, fellow campaigner. :)

  29. Maybe. It sounds like a good story, but a little more information on how they escape from the fire and the circumstances (I would actually say to keep the "deadly") could help to get a better sense of urgency. :)


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