I will tell you in one second, but please promise that, even if you're reeling with excitement, you'll remain calm and focused enough to read and comment on today's pitch! :)
Do you promise?
Cross your heart?
Are you sure?
I'm happy to announce that we have a great opportunity. Editor Erin Molta (of Pitch Pick Critique fame :)) is going to visit my blog!!! AND she is willing to do whatever would be most helpful to YOU!
So please tell me in the comments what you would most like Erin to talk about: common mistakes editors see from writers? what editors look for in a PB ms? how to tell if your book is a novelty book or a picture book? 10 best tips for writers from an editor? what kinds of stories or non-fiction are needed? a Q&A where you could submit questions ahead and Erin can answer....? Use your fertile imaginations! :) Sky's the limit - you guys tell us what you want to know about. And I'd love to have it be something that hasn't been done before! What do other posts/articles leave you still wondering about?
This is your chance to get questions answered by a real industry professional, so grab it by the horns (or something like that :))
Now. Wasn't that an awesome surprise? :)
I'm also happy to report that Phyllis is back on the trail. There are fabulous blog posts up from Clar and Melissa, with others coming soon from Alison, Renee, and Denise. Tina, Saba, Margaret, and Robyn will be receiving her soon, and Rosalind in the UK has a post scheduled for May 1! So don't abandon our furry little friend yet! :)
Now, on to Would You Read It!
Today's Would You Read It pitch comes to us from the amazing and wonderful Kirsten over at Creating Curious Kids. Kirsten is a former NASA PR princess, current college instructor, and mom to two curious boys. When she's not breaking up wrestling matches she reads, writes, and runs (so she can keep up with the kiddos!) Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Out Of This World Opposites
Age/Genre: Non-Fiction PB for ages 5+
The Pitch: Space is a place of opposites. Burning stars and icy comets. Roaring rockets and silent stillness. An ancient universe and newborn planets. Everyday scientists discover something old, new, near, far, wet, dry, dark or light as they learn more about the cosmos. Come along and explore our amazing universe.
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 Kirsten 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!
Kirsten is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!
And I am looking forward to hearing what you'd like to hear from Erin! Happy Wednesday everyone :)
This sounds so intriguing. What I especially l love is knowing that she has a history of NASA! It would make this so much more "real." It's a good credential for her to mention. But I also like the mention of all the opposites in space. I'd buy this for sure. I think my kids would like it, but I know I would! :)ReplyDelete
I would pick this up and flip through this to see if it would suit my five year old boy because it sounds right up his alley in terms of the subject, but I'd be EXCITED to read it with him if the language was a little more colorful. It sounds a little dry.ReplyDelete
PS - I'd love a Q & A type arrangement with Erin!ReplyDelete
I would most definitely read this (and what a great bio). I would be tempted to leave out the penultimate sentence, though. I will pop back in with question(s) for Erin! Thank you for organizing that, Susanna!ReplyDelete
OK. I stayed calm. WAHOOO! YAYY! (Until now ;) )I would like to know the top three common mistakes writers make and what makes her want to read a MS.ReplyDelete
I would read the book because it teaches about the opposites and space! Keep on writing Ms. Larson! :)
I would read it!!!! I think you have a great idea for teaching opposites because kids love space. I think I would rearrange the pitch. Grab them with the opposites first and then wrap it up by moving your first line to the last. Here's my take:ReplyDelete
Burning stars and icy comets. Roaring rockets and silent stillness. Newborn planets in an ancient universe. Come along as scientists discover old and new, near and far, wet and dry, dark and light, in cosmic space-a place of opposites.
OK....a question that I have been wondering about...when I read online in submission guidelines that a publishing house/agent is closed to submissions except for folks they've met at a conference OR REFERRALS FROM OTHER PROFESSIONALS...I always wonder just who all is included in those OTHER professionals. Does it mean just other editors/agents? Can it mean another published author? Does it ever happen that a published someone that runs a critique service happens upon a manuscript they refer onto one of the publishing houses/agents who is closed to submissions except for the circumstances I mentioned.
Hope that makes sense!
I would probably pick it up and look into it at the book store to see if my grandson would like it.... the pitch makes it sound a wee bit like a text book. Perhaps we could make it sound more like an adventure?ReplyDelete
I also would pick it up, but I would be looking for great visuals and energetic writing to carry the subject matter. I completely agree with Penny and think her suggestion to rearrange the pitch is a good one.ReplyDelete
Penny, thanks for taking the time to tweak my pitch. I'm copying and pasting your comments into a doc so I can go back and tweak it once I have everyone's comments. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Thanks for comments. I'll go back through and make sure it's exciting.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Dede. I've copied and pasted Penny's comments so I can go back and tweak.ReplyDelete
Thanks Erik. You are my target audience.ReplyDelete
Thanks Joanna. I value your feedback and will rework my pitch with your comments in mind.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your feedback, Aimee. I'll give the pitch (and the manuscript) another read through with this in mind and see where I can spice things up.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the vote of encouragement, Leigh. I wrote it with my two space-obsessed boys in mind.ReplyDelete
I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's comments today. Thanks for weighing in. And Susanna, I'm most interested in hearing what makes it out of the slushpile (for nonfiction) and why. What are editors looking for on the nonfiction side?ReplyDelete
Thanks, Erin Molta! I appreciated her pitch critique for REEF STEW, so I know she will provide helpful answers for everyone's questions. And to the pitch - YES! YES! Great pitch, Kristen. I'm not sure you need so many opposites in the pitch, but I don't really think it's bad to include them as it makes us wonder.ReplyDelete
Yes to the pitch (before I forget). I think I would read anything Erin wants to share. I don't know the difference between novelty and PB, but I'm sure I can look that up. I always learn a lot from posts pointing out "what not to do."ReplyDelete
Kirsten, I definitely would want to read your book. There is enough information to draw me, but not too much, so the remainder of the book is still a mystery. Good job!ReplyDelete
As for Erin, all the above answers would be helpful, but I also would like to know what place there is in the publishing world for picture books with more than 800 word counts. I was thinking of PBs for older children on non-fiction topics, that are woven into a story, such as "Amelia and Eleanor Go For A Ride" by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Thanks, Susanna...I'm looking forward to her interview!
Thanks Miranda. That was something I thought about myself when I reread it all these weeks later.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Stacy!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful surprise and my mind goes completely blank lol.ReplyDelete
I love that pitch Kirsten!
Pitch: 'Yes' I would, and 'Yes' I have! I agree with Penny on the switch though, and with Miranda on the number of opposites - maybe take out 'old' and 'new' as you use 'ancient' and 'newborn'. 'Wet and dry' intrigues me as I just don't think of 'wet' in Space!ReplyDelete
Questions for Erin:
Vocabulary: when and why does an editor like or dislike BIG words (son's 1st gr. teacher called them million dollar words!) in a PB manuscript?
Cliches: I understand that's a no-no, but when used sparingly is it not appropriate if it can teach a pre-schooler about the meaning behind a cliche?
In general do editor's agree on common mistakes or are the peeves more often personal? If so, give us the dirt Erin!
Thanks so much Susanna for organizing this!
YES! It seems like it's been done before. Totally NOT sure... But I really love the idea of opposites in space. "Burning" and "icy" are quite intriguing. I like "space is a place" as well as all your examples. I'd definitely come explore. But research to make sure it hasn't been done before first. Even if it has, you can tackle it from another angle.ReplyDelete
One more thing. Didn't NASA just retire the space program? If so, I'd mention the rockets as a type of historical things, like things that scientists have discovered in the past.
Kirsten, I love space and studied astronomy at UBC! And I think this book pitch is great...I agree with Penny's suggestion which makes a more catchy hook, but otherwise I would be into reading this book!ReplyDelete
Susanna, I think it would be cool to submit a few q's ahead of time to Erin as I'm sure people could benefit from that. whatever works best! Cheers
Hi Kirsten, yes I would read it. I love space and used to dream of working at NASA when I was a kid. The pitch seems a little long, I think it can be tightened up a bit.ReplyDelete
Here is my take:
Burning stars and icy comets. Roaring rockets and silent stillness. An ancient universe and newborn planets. Come explore, space is a place of opposites.
Susan, thanks for offering us this fantastic opportunity to ask Erin Molta questions. Any tips for PB authors (not PB author/illustrator) for writing unique/quirky PB under 300 words. I have noticed a lot of PBs I like are written by author/illustrators that are short on text, where the humor and quirkiness is carried in the pictures. I know I can come up with clever stories however since I am only a PB author, I get nervous about using too many illustrator notes, as that could turn-off an editor. Thanks.
Oh, what a fabulous concept, Kirsten!ReplyDelete
Susanna, all of the above for Erin. Maybe a q&a would be most useful. Sorry to have disappeared for so long. Hopefully I've got this time management thing under control. Ha!
Susanna, this is such a fun idea! I would love a Q&A. Not only for my own questions, but I always learn so much from other people's questions too. And yes to Kirsten...sounds like a wonderful and informative book!ReplyDelete
I loved this pitch when it came in for the Tamson Weston contest, and I still love it. So yes, I would definitely read it.ReplyDelete
And wow, what an opportunity with Erin! I guess I'd have to say my top curiosity right now is whether editors are still finding picture books to be a hard sell and, if so, whether she thinks that will change any time soon.
I think the pitch sounds great and I'm looking forward to the editor q&a! I'm always curious to hear what kinds of manuscripts publishers are buying right now. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Julie. I did make some tweaks based upon what I learned from Tamson Weston.ReplyDelete
Thanks for taking the time to read my pitch, Coleen!ReplyDelete
I appreciate your encouragement Vicki.ReplyDelete
Darshana, now that I'm rereading it weeks later, I have to say I agree that it needs tightening. Thanks for your helpful comments!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your input, Jackie. It's so helpful to hear from so many people.ReplyDelete
Thanks Christie. Though NASA retired the Space Shuttles, there are plenty of rockets to go around. I think Space Shuttle Discovery just arrived in Washington, DC yesterday.ReplyDelete
Thanks Julie. I know you've read (and reread) both the pitch and the MS. I appreciate your help.ReplyDelete
As a Mom of a boy who asks, "But Mommy, where are the science books--every time I return from the library with my stacks of fiction, I think this would be a book that many science-loving kids would love.
I think think the pitch was very well written--you hooked me for sure! ;)
Susanna--That is AWESOME news! I am looking forward to seeing what Erin has to say. :)
So glad you like the idea, Sharon! I hope you'll think up a question or two :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Natalie. I wrote it with my two space-loving boys in mind. (NOTE: No trip to the library is complete without my boys pulling science books out of the nonfiction section, many way above their grade level.)ReplyDelete
You already know that I love your story. So Yes! I hope that you get this book published!ReplyDelete
I've come to the conclusion that I know nothing about writing PB pitches, but this one works for me. I'd read it. :DReplyDelete
All great questions, Darshana! Thanks!ReplyDelete
This is a tough call. The pitch doesn't exactly draw me in, but the subject matter does. Space fascinates me, so an opportunity to share a PB about it with my 5 year old is a thrill.ReplyDelete
But the pitch itself sounds a bit too mature for a 5 year old... the pitch seems more tailored for individuals who already have an interest in astronomy rather than creating new excitement for a topic, as would be the case with young elementary school children.
Since you're pitching to young children and their parents, perhaps read your book to little persons and see their reactions... what about the book gets them excited? What kind of words do they use when presented with the pictures?
The pitch has the information portion. Now I think it needs an injection of excitement to get parents to say, "Yeah... I think my child would like this," which keeps the focus on the child and makes your book special. Rather than saying, "I really like astronomy. Maybe if I buy a PB on it I can get my kid interested also," which focuses on the parent's interests and any PB will do the trick.
Wow, I thought it was pitch perfect. I love space. I'd read it for sure.ReplyDelete
Great news about Erin. Will have to think some. You already put out interesting questions, I'd be interested in having her discuss.
Awesome puppies, for sure. Hmm. I am going to think of an awesome question.ReplyDelete
This is a picture book pitch??? It sounds like it is for much older kids. I think the words need to be tailored for younger kids. If you don't, then the agent/publisher will think you don't know what you're doing. The story itself sounds fascinating. But pretend you are writing the pitch for 5 year-old children. You want them to hear what your book is about. I hope to see it on the shelves one day soon. :-)
Q&A looks like the popular choice, so that's probably what we'll do!ReplyDelete
Great advice for Kirsten and great question! Thanks, Penny :)ReplyDelete
You're welcome! I'll look forward to your questions!ReplyDelete
I'm a little afraid of the answer, but I'd really like to know that too, Julie!!!ReplyDelete
Thanks for chiming in, Leigh! I know - having worked at NASA sounds really cool!ReplyDelete
Thank you for your very thoughtful comment, Reena!ReplyDelete
My mind is blank a lot! :) Don't worry - you have some time to think!ReplyDelete
Great! Everyone seems enthusiastic about that idea so that's probably what we'll do!ReplyDelete
Great questions! I'll add them to the list :)ReplyDelete
Yes, I would reread it!!! Can't wait to see this published Kirsten. Great job on the pitch.ReplyDelete
Great question, Jarm! Adding it to the list!ReplyDelete
Novelty = board book, lift-the-flap, pop-up, scratch 'n' sniff, touch & feel etc. PB is just a regular picture book.ReplyDelete
Me too - although in the PB world it seems like they're not buying too many :)ReplyDelete
This seems to be the popular response and questions are flooding in, so send any you have :)ReplyDelete
Everyone seems excited about a Q&A! This should be fun! And no worries - everyone is busy! If you've figured out time management please let me know how to do it!!! :)ReplyDelete
For Erin: I wonder if a ms with monsters and bedtime is has been written about too much and if she would just throw it in the trash without reading the whole pitch or does she think there's a chance for it to go through.ReplyDelete
Well if it works for you, we're happy! :)ReplyDelete
Yes, I would read it, Kristen. I remember your pitch although it's also new (old and new perhaps?) If I would change one thing it's this: shorten it to two-three sentences. You would still have a strong pitch if you picked your three favorite opposite examples. Good luck! I'm cheering for you!ReplyDelete
Sorry, Kirsten... I know who you are. Sorry for the name slip. :PReplyDelete
I was so excited to see a non-fic PB for 5 + about space, but was immediately deflated by the wordiness. This pitch wouldn't excite me very much. Come along and explore might sound better like this: 'Zoom between the stars, ride on a comet, and touch the heavens.' Just a thought.ReplyDelete
I would definitely read Kirsten's book. Sure, the pitch could be tightened, but I found it really lyrical and poetic and kind of mesmerizing. Well done!ReplyDelete
I would definitely read your book based on your pitch. The opposites you've used sound so exciting. My suggestions for improving your pitch would be to start with your opposites and remove the sentence beginning 'Everyday scientists...' as I think you've already given us enough examples of opposites before then. In my opinion, Darshana was spot on with the suggestion she gave you for how to change your pitch. Hope this is helpful and good luck with your book!
Looks like we're going o do a Q&A so let me know if you have and Qs :)ReplyDelete
Great questions, Erik! I'll add them to the list!ReplyDelete
It's not my pitch, but I like your suggestion Sharron!ReplyDelete
Very interesting question, because that is a topic that's been done a lot. I would be interested in her answer too :)ReplyDelete
I'd read it - it's intriguing - and I'm not a big science person! I think you could combine the two parts to make it more concise:ReplyDelete
Space is a place of opposites. Everyday scientists discover burning stars and icy comets; roaring rockets and silent stillness; an ancient universe and newborn planets. Come along and explore our amazing universe.
Thanks so much for the comment Lori!ReplyDelete
Thanks Christie. Though NASA retired the Space Shuttles, there are plenty of rockets to go around. I think Space Shuttle Discovery just arrived in Washington, DC yesterday.ReplyDelete