September 14, 2011

Would You Read It Wednesday - The Eighth Pitch!

Just when you thought the week couldn't get any better, it's time for Would You Read It Wednesday!

I don't know about you, but I'm thinking maybe Would You Read It needs an official snack.  Of course, that's probably because I'm always writing it at 6 AM when I haven't had breakfast yet.  I might do a poll to see what we should have... suggestions welcome in the comments below so we can make up a good poll :) As you know, I am fond of donuts, but given our health kick this week with the potato exercise, I think we should pick something that can at least pretend to be nutritious.  (For example, Froot Loops - which contain the word "fruit" (sort of) and are therefore health food.)

Okay.  Seriously.  I wish you guys would stop talking about breakfast.  We have work to do!

This week's pitch comes to us from Saul in New York, creator of the LinkedIn group New Author's Need Marketing Ideas and owner of SAWEB Books, Inc.  You can read his blog here.  This book is currently self-published, so help with the pitch might help Saul with sales.

Here is the pitch:

Title:  A Lesson My Cat Taught Me
Age/Genre:  Early Reader
The Pitch:  Can your child learn to accept others for who they are and not what they are from a one-eyed cat?  Read the book to find out.

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 Saul improve his 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.

Saul is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!

And I am looking forward to your thoughts on what the official Would You Read It snack should be :)


  1. [I've typed this once and it disappeared so if I've posted twice please remove one of them]

    Firstly food for that time of the morning has to be Sugar Puffs and cold milk. It's a no-brainer!

    As for the pitch I'm afraid I'm going to have to say 'no'. I'd like to know if there's a story to this book and if so what's the story about. As it stands I only know about the lesson/moral and that doesn't make me want to buy the book.

  2. I always vote for chocolate when it comes to snacks.

    As for the pitch, it's a No for me. I like the idea that the story is about a cat, but the pitch comes across as teaching a lesson, and doesn't tell me about the story. What is the cat's big adventure in this book, I wonder?

  3. Pringles :)

    Yes to liking story but pitch should mention cat earlier. The sentence is a bit preachy and long. Also 'what they are' is a bit vague. Are they are a potato? :P

    How about: When (name) is in a muddle with his friendships, only a one-eyed cat can solve the problem. (or be specific about the problem but brief)

  4. Maybe.

    I'm crazy about cats, and a story about a one-eyed feline that has learned how to overcome obstacles and inspires others caught my attention.

    Regretfully, the pitch/blurb doesn't convey those feelings for me. Some of the words that might not be working properly include "can your child," since jacket flaps don't usually read this way.

    You might want to consider Catherine's suggestions about mentioning the cat earlier, specifically mentioning the main character's problem and ensuring the tone doesn't come across as inadvertently preachy.

    I would delete the sentence "Read the book to find out" as it sounds more like a command than an intriguing hook.

    Again, the premise sounds intriguing; I just want to make sure your pitch does it justice.

  5. I'm a maybe. If I've taken the right theme from the information given (a one-eyed cat experiences judgement and child learns to emphasize via that), I'd probably flip through it to see if it looked like something appropriate for my four year old.

    That said, I think this has been written to garner 'pitch' interest, rather than 'reader' interest. I'd prefer to see a sentence that gives the character a name and a problem to face. As a reader I'd gather from that if it was something my child could learn from.

  6. I agree with the rest of the comments~ there could be a really good story here, but I'm not sure what the plot is.

    As for morning food, I vote for leftover pizza from the night before. I know, I know...probably not universal enough to be the "official" choice :)

  7. I concur with the above comments. Chocolate would be my vote for sure!

  8. I am enjoying your posts, but have only a little time tonight so I'll have to come back around tomorrow.

    I would like to bestow upon you the Versatile Blogger Award. You can find the details on my blog:

  9. Maybe. My sentiments are much the same as Kim's. I think there's a good premise here but the pitch doesn't express it as well as it could. I won't provide any more advice because I think Kim and others have covered it well.

    Best of luck with refining your pitch and achieving self publishing success. :-)

  10. Rosalind, Andrea, Catherine, Michelle, Aimee, Jess, Jenny, Kelley, Cally - thank you all so much for taking the time to post your thoughtful and insightful comments. I hope Saul will find them helpful!

  11. Thanks for the feedback so far, perhaps I should have changed the word order for my "pitch question" and have the cat come first, like :"Can a one-eyed cat teach your child...?"

  12. I would probably say no, too, because it does come off as preachy. If this is a fiction story, perhaps you could focus on the story instead of on the lesson learned. I think the lesson can usually find its way to your readers on its own.

    Not knowing the story, I can't give any real suggestions for how to change it. I do like the idea of the one-eyed cat though. Does he wear an eye-patch? :D

  13. What about chocolate covered strawberries for a snack? YUM! And can be considered healthy! ;)

    I would have to say MAYBE for the pitch. I think the idea has merit. I would maybe polish the pitch a little tho.

  14. I would say yes becasue I like one eyed cats. Also I think there may be some sort of a healthy doughnut out there. I'll have to my research first. Lastly, I just wanted to thank you for your lovely comment on my blog. Meant a lot to me!

  15. I agree with the rest of the comments and especially Catherine's suggestion. Good luck, Saul!

    Fruit Loops "now have fiber" too, so they're doubly healthy!

  16. Thank you for your comments, Janet, Abby, J.A., and Carla!

    Abby - chocolate covered strawberries are an EXCELLENT suggestion :)

    J.A. - if there's a healthy donut out there I'd sure like to know about it. What about apple cider donuts (my favorite!) They have the word apple in them :) And you are most welcome!

    Carla - froot loops have fiber? Who knew? :)

  17. I'm with Catherine's very elegant solution, I think. I love the quirky idea of the one-eyed cat: try bringing your protag and your cat a bit more to life in your pitch and I think you'll have a winner.

  18. Did you say donuts?? :)

    I think the concept is great, but perhaps aim for a more catchy title.
    Good luck!

  19. Saul, I would add a little bit more to your pitch.

    As others have said, the pitch makes the book sound like it's trying to teach a lesson - and editors (and perhaps parents) sometimes frown on that. Maybe you can start off the pitch by giving us a few hints about how the one-eyed cat is going to teach children to accept themselves. For example,

    "He doesn't see that well. He has trouble walking on high walls. He can hardly find his food bowl. But he's okay with that - because he's a one-eyed cat, and there just aren't many of his kind around."

    Something catchy like that.

    And the nature of a one-eyed cat is likely funny to small children, so I'd make sure the illustrations are good.

    Best of luck to you!

    And thanks, Susanna, for your comment on my blog! I really like this "Would You Read It" series that you're doing! I'll be back soon to check to check it out again!

  20. Gail - thanks for your help!

    Kelly - yes indeedy, I most certainly did say donuts :)

    Lauren - thanks for your helpful comment for Saul, and I'm so glad you're enjoying Would You Read It! Please do come back, and also consider sending a pitch :)

  21. This is a very sweet blog, and I love the posts, have some interesting things here for me.
    I have also come to award you the Versatile Blog Award.... seems I am not the only one that thinks you are deserving of it. Check out my blog for det.ails

  22. I start my day and end my day with two things (usually): cold milk and cereal and reading this blog! So for me if it is 6a.m. or late at night when I get to come back to comment, I have my craving fix.

    Saul, I am very interested in this idea of learning from a one-eyed cat; however, I was left with one big question: what exactly will the cat be teaching? It is left vague, and life has many aspects that children need to learn (e.g., self-esteem, trust, loyalty, respect, honesty, etc). Some parents are looking for books that teach their children a particular aspect (e.g, how to cope with a loss or how to deal with bullies) while other parents are looking for a book that may show their child a role model or an alternative view of life. Since there are so many books in the market that help our children to think about themselves in a new light, my only suggestion for you is to develop this pitch to tell the reader exactly what area or topic the book is covering. I think this is a great idea, but it would help if maybe it emphasized a bit more of the details :)

  23. I'm going with "maybe" just because, like others, I think it should say more about what it's about than just "Read it and find out"

  24. I'll have to go with a maybe.
    The wording is off on the part'and not what they are from a one-eyed cat'. Just doesn't sound right to me. And I think it would be better to lose the whole last sentence.

    Maybe something along these lines would work better:
    The story of this one-eyed cat will not only entertain your child, but will also help him or her accept others, flaws and all.

  25. I'd go with a no. If you could do away with the question, that'd be a start. Once the reader answers the question, what next? 1) Yes, my child can. 2) No, my child can't. 3) Maybe.

    Then what? See what other books are out there?

    The pitch also seems to lack a personal touch. Who's the main character? Make the reader care. I popped over to your website, but didn't find anything up front about your book, so I'm going to make up something to show what I mean.

    When the neighbor's dog has polka dot puppies, five-year-old Jeffrey wants one. But when his mother brings a one-eyed cat home from the shelter, stating lost animals need love too, Jeffrey learns to look beyond the scruffy fur and finds goodness isn't about the outside, but what's within.

  26. Diane, Kim, Kelley, Tina and Reena - thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!

    I just want to take a minute here to thank everyone who has contributed this week for obviously really taking the time to write such constructive, helpful comments. You are all gems :)

  27. So late to the game on this one, but hey, my youngest finally started nursery school this week, I've been working on an essay and I painted my dining room. Whew! What a week!
    Snack- well, I've had cider donuts for lunch twice this past week so I'm thinking cider donuts or perhaps the healthier version- an apple; but only after one has had too many donuts. Besides, they go well with coffee.
    As for the pitch, I'd have to say no. The overall idea seems intriguing- a one-eyed cat is teaching lessons, or perhaps has learned lessons of his/her own that are worth sharing. Is the story about a cat or about kids? Who is doing the "accepting of others?" The pitch does not say clearly. Your pitch needs to have people begging for more... "On a particularly difficult day, XXX, a one eyed cat, learned a valuable lesson/ shared a lesson/. After several encounters with cats with two eyes..." or something like that. Without knowing the story it's tough to be more accurate. A good resource specifically for pitches is what has become a nationwide tour of Pitchapalooza! (David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut, a husband wife author and agent team based out of Metro NY area)- they hold pitching events with feedback from a panel of judges who are literary agents and their last three winners of the event have received publishing deals.
    Good luck with spreading the word for your book!

  28. The pitch would be much improved if a hint to the storyline was added. However, I would probably buy the book just because I have a soft spot for disabled animals (people too). So for me the answer is yes.
    As for a snack - chocolate croissants.

  29. Thanks for the feedback. The vagueness is intentional. I would like people to read the pitch and then go to Amazon to read more about my book, and its reviews. Since they're already where my book is for sale they can buy it then and not have to go somewhere else.

  30. There is not enough in this pitch to entice anyone to read it. What kind of story is this? Funny, tender, touching? What does the child need to learn that he/she isn't learning from a more traditional source? And what does the cat have to offer besides monocular vision?
    Get a little into the story here.

  31. Hi Susanna! I found your blog through Rachael Harrie's campaigner blog. I'm now your newest follower, so:

    Nice to meet you!

    As to your post, I'm not going to comment. The pitch does interest me a bit, but I have no real experience on which to properly evaluate it. I don't read early readers, and my memory is not really good enough to remember a time when I did.

  32. A2Z Mommy, Iza, and Written Words - thanks so much for your help :)

    Matthew - thanks so much for stopping by! I'm so glad you've joined us :) You never know what kind of high jinx and shenanigans will be going on around here :)

  33. Hi Susanna, love your post. I am a follower of Saul Webber in LinkedIn also and think you are doing a great big service. I love his discussions on LinkedIn and wrote about him myself in my blog post of "two writer links" (don't remember if this was the title or not).
    You are in my picture book group in the writer's campaign and I'm glad I stopped by.

  34. I think a one-eyed cat is a great idea. Could it be sold in a more fun way? Does it have to be the lesson angle? Maybe what the cat can DO even with only one eye.

  35. I vote for Reese's peanut butter cups for our snack, cuz then we get some protein, right?

    I also wanted to let you know I left a comment in response to the comment you left the other day on my blog.:)

  36. Maybe. I had to read it several times to figure it out, and I'm not sure I'm there yet. It needs to be more specific. Right now it's too vague--except for the part about the one-eyed cat. Love that.

  37. *whew!* Finally made it back, a few days later than planned.

    I have to say "no" only because of the wording of the pitch. I have interest in this part only: "accept others for who they are and not what they are from a one-eyed cat?" and that only paints a still picture in my mind, not a whole book. What actually happens in the book? Is it all about the cat? Do the cat and child interact? Is the book slow and gentle, or adventurous? I don't know.

    I feel this pitch wastes valuable word space saying too little. "Read the book to find out" is stating the obvious.

    Having said that, I DO think it's a good story idea, and a stronger pitch would turn my "no" into a "yes."

  38. I think there's a balance between giving too much away and not enough. Not enough and there's no incentive to find out more about the book. Let's say for instance, I boast, "My book is set in the Malaysian rainforest. Click the link to find out more."

    The target audience would be quite small -- those interested in the Malaysian rainforest. There's just not enough information to entice other readers to find out more.

    From reading the comments, I think that's what's going on here. People who have a soft spot for cats (or animals with injuries) lean in with a maybe or yes... but not necessarily because of the pitch... but because of the cat. That's fine for those individuals, but you want to appeal to a larger crowd.

    As long as you don't give too many spoilers, more can work in your favor. I know there's the idea that if you give too much away, the reader won't want to read because they think they know the story. However, consider reviews. Some reviewers talk extensively about a book... sometimes so much so, I cringe. Yet at the end of reviews, you'll still find people who say, "Wow! This sounds like an interesting book. I'm going to add it to my reading list."

  39. No. It's in second person, for one. Who is the main character? A child or the cat? What is the main conflict? "Can your child learn to accept others for who they are?" That sounds more like a pitch for an article in a parenting magazine. The title "A Lesson My Cat Taught Me" does make the book seem to be more focused on the lesson aspect. I'm not sure that children would gravitate to a title like that. However, they do love cats, and if the cover art is enticing, then they might choose it. Good luck!

  40. Clar, Theresa, Laura, Stina, Kelly, Reena (again!), and Christie - thanks so much for all your wonderful comments. Saul is certainly getting the benefit of so many people's wisdom!

    I'm so impressed by how many people have really stepped up to the plate with thoughtful, helpful comments on this pitch!

  41. Referred here by Saul on our LinkedIn group... I might read the book at some point but I agree with the others on the pitch. My issue is that it sounds too much like other books in the "Growing Up" genre (pardon my tendency to categorize things from a Barnes & Noble reference, it's what happens when you work there for so long). A better pitch would be one that demonstrates all the cat is: adventurous, brave, helpful, funny, etc. For example: "Timmy discovers that having both eyes isn't necessary to have fun adventures or get into trouble with his one-eyed friend, Tom Catt..." This pitch is not at all a good one, but hopefully it does help illustrate my point about increasing it's descriptive content. Good luck!

  42. I had a one-eyed cat growing up so the subject is interesting to me for that reason. However, I wanted more detail in this pitch. I had potential, but it needed more.

  43. I love the idea of a one eyed cat providing lessons. My grand children love and understand animals and they have learned many lessons from observing them. Your cat takes people for who they are children are always willing to look past differences. I would buy it.

  44. Rachel, Kim, Myrobertsart - thanks so much for joining the discussion! I'm so glad you stopped by! And I'm sure Saul will be grateful for your comments!


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