September 12, 2011

Straight From The Editor!

Happy Monday, Everyone!

I hope you're all feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning :)

To start off, we have a new piece of the Would You Read It feature (which makes me realize I'm going to have to put some sort of organized posting calendar in my sidebar so everyone will know when to look forward to what, but I digress...)  This exciting part includes editor Erin Molta's thoughts on the winner's pitch - an educational opportunity for us all!

To remind you, the winner was Alisha, and her pitch was as follows:

Working Title:  Finding The Reindeer Beat
Age/Genre:  PB
The Pitch:  When Santa's sleigh team decided to retire, a new group of reindeer trained with Coach Dasher, almost crashed in front of Santa, and discovered the secret to staying together.

Here are Erin's comments:

Your pitch is intriguing, but in order for an editor to hit reply and write out a note to say she/he wants to read more, it needs to have a little more punch!

For instance, here’s your sentence: "When Santa’s sleigh team decided to retire, a new group of reindeer trained with Coach Dasher, almost crashed in front of Santa, and discovered the secret to staying together."

I think it needs more action and decisiveness, like this: Santa’s sleigh team retired. A new set of reindeer trained with Coach Dasher but crashed in front of Santa. Finally, after (they are threatened with replacement or after many trials or something . . .) they discovered the secret to working together.

That basically tells the story in a nutshell and though it’s three sentences, it gets the point across in a decisive manner without the wishy-washy verbs—“decided” and “almost” are passive and seem like you’re not sure. Always go with the action.

Of course, our contest was for one sentence - perhaps something to consider modifying slightly in the future if this type of comment comes up again.  But hopefully Erin's thoughts about action will be helpful to us all!

Now for item number 2.  And I hope you're all paying attention because even though it's Monday morning, that is no excuse to ignore our health.  So please follow along with this important exercise program:

Exercise for the weak:
Begin with a 5-lb potato bag in each hand. Extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can.
Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.
After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags.
Then try 50-lb potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand . (I'm at this level.)
After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag :)
(Courtesy of my friend Teri through her friend Bev.)
I hope that gets your week off to a good start :)
Feel free to share your thoughts on the editor's comments as well as any successful exercise programs of your own in the comments below, and don't forget to tune in Wednesday for Would You Read It, this week starring Saul with an Early Reader!

OH!  And I almost forgot!  Marissa Oachs over at The Review Stew did a nice review and giveaway for my books (go here: so please hop over and check out her site and enter the giveaway if you're so inclined :)


  1. Ha! Love the potato bag exercise tip :) It was very cool to get an editor's thoughts on the winning pitch~ thanks to Erin Molta!

  2. Jess - I hope you are doing that exercise with one hand whilst writing with the other :) And yes, Erin is awesome!

  3. Do you know if Erin is doing freelance consulting? I have a friend who is interested in gettng feedback on an early chapter book.

  4. This was great to see the pitch edited.Thanks Erin!

  5. This was very interesting feedback. Such a great opportunity for us all to learn! And I laughed out loud when I read your exercise routine and had to read it out loud to the girls in the office (yes, I'm reading your blog while at work. Very naughty).

  6. Cally - I think your employer will be glad that your whole office is keeping their health by following this exercise routine and you will thus be given a raise for calling it to everyone's attention :)

  7. Erin's feedback each month will help all of us. Great idea, Susanna! Hmm, interesting way to exercise. Maybe I'll just do bicep curls with the potato.

  8. There's nothing so valuable as hearing an industry professional's response. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Brooke - 'm not sure you will get the same quality of exercise that way, but my all means, give it a try :)

    Crystal - Erin is truly wonderful to be doing this. We are all lucky to learn from her expertise!

  10. The exercise for the weak (and I've only just noticed the intentional typo!) made me laugh! And the pitch advice was useful. Thank you! On my way to check out Marissa's blog now!

  11. Thanks, J.C. - I am always glad to be helpful :)


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