September 26, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday #59 - Untitled Picture Book!

Goede Woensdag!

I'm practicing my Dutch.  All of it.

How am I doing?

Do I sound like a native yet?

"Goede Woensdag" is supposed to mean "good Wednesday", which is as close to "happy Wednesday" as I could get with my language tutor... google translator :)

I'm pretty sure the Dutch are famous for their chocolate - I am technically Dutch after all, and I am very fond of chocolate -  I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this...  I think that makes it a perfect language to speak on Would You Read It Woensdag while we are snacking on Iets Chocolade (Something Chocolate!).  I may go healthy this morning and have strawberries dipped in chocolate.  I'm feeling virtuous :)

So let's see... I have a few things on my mind...  I just can't seem to remember what any of them are right now....

Oh, yes!

As you know, I am having an epic battle with my comments which is driving me nuts.  I would love to know everyone's opinion:  should I continue to try to get Disqus to work, even though I am unable to communicate with intelligent life over there and for nearly four weeks now they have alternately ignored my pleas for help and failed to answer my questions, OR should I cut Disqus loose even though it means losing 22 months of comments on this blog (that's ALL of them, if you're wondering!)  This is like one of those agonizing "would you rather" questions - you know, like would you rather be bald or covered in hair (a question I'm sure you all devote a lot of thought to :)) - neither alternative bears thinking about!

So that was one thing.  PLEASE tell me what you think I should do.  Or better yet, tell me if you know how to FIX THIS PROBLEM!

Another thing was, I wanted to let you all know that if you need bookmarks, postcards, flyers, or other swag of various types, Alison Hertz is your one stop shop!  Sorry if it sounds like we suddenly took a break for a word from our sponsors :) but she is amazing!  She designed 2 brand new book marks for me - one for Punxsutawney Phyllis and one for Can't Sleep Without Sheep - and they are gorgeous!  Want to see?

sorry you have to turn sideways for this one :)

Aren't they great?  They have very nice backs to, but this is the pretty side :)

Alison is wonderful to work with, does a superb job for a reasonable price, she's prompt, and she makes the process so easy that even I can do my part (and here I'm talking about how she delivered the book marks to me exactly the way they needed to be done so that I could upload them to gotprint without breaking the internet or causing a rift in the space-time continuum.)  Need I say more?

So definitely email her if you need anything like that!

So, I'm pretty sure there was something else... it'll come to me at 4 in the morning... but let's move on to our pitch for today, shall we?

Today's pitch comes to us from the lovely and talented Catherine.  She is a British Ex-pat living in Canada with her family. She writes picture books and children's poetry. You can find her on her blog at 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title:  She doesn't have one!  She needs your help!  Please make suggestions!
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Lord Flatulence and Lady Piddle have to make leave of their plumber, Mr. U-Bend for an emergency in the neighbouring kingdom. Mr. U-Bend is accosted en-route by the village paupers and their plumbing requirements so the Princesses in the neighbouring Kingdom set off to find Mr. U-Bend, but so too does Prince Constant, son of Lord Flatulence and the most needy of all subjects to keep his plumber to himself.

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 Catherine 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 November, so you have time to polish :) for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Catherine is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to your opinion on my Dutch accent and on what I should do about my comment situation.  Which reminds me, I would like to mention that Catherine is one of the people who is unable to comment on my blog... aarrgghhh!... so she will send her comments to me and I will post them but say they're from her.  Foolish, I realize, but I can't think how else to do it.  Therefore, be on the lookout for her comments/replies to you in boxes with my name on them!  I don't like to give vent to strong language, but right now I am not very happy with Disqus!

Chocolate covered strawberry anyone?

Have a goede Woensdag! :)


  1. A good title for the pitch is "Mr. U-Bend". I just thought the wording of the pitch was a bit confusing, but I was hooked at Lord Flatulence and Lady Piddle! I'd read it!

  2. Love Alison's bookmarks!

    And as a dutch speaker, I'm impressed, Susanna.

    Mine is a maybe on the pitch, as while I loved the wordplay in the names, I found it a little confusing, like Erik. i am still wondering quite what the heart of the kid-centered problem is. I also think the expressions is 'take leave" not "make leave"? The names are a blast, though, and kids will love these!

    Susanna, I am not crazy about Disquis and just wonder if there is anyway of retaining your comments if you ditch it??

  3. Susanna, NPR actually just started to use Disqus. There has got to be a way to make it work. As for Catherine's story, I think children will find it hilarious. The second sentence is long, so I would recommend trying to break it up. Maybe start a new sentence with the prince?

  4. The bookmarks are wonderful!! Good work, Alison! Nice Dutch greeting, Susanna. What other languages do you speak? :)
    Catherine, I'd probably read your book because it sounds so unusual and makes me curious to read a book about a plumber! However, I had to read the pitch a few times to get the gist. It almost seems like there are too many people named in the pitch. What if your starting sentence was simpler like "Mr. U-Bend, a plumber for Lord Flatulence and Lady Piddle, was called away for an emergency in a neighboring kingdom. But on the way... and then shorten the last part.

  5. Disqus hates me. I can't comment on your blog from my laptop at all. Ugh.

    Pitch-wise, this is not my kind of story. Although kids may think its hilarious, I'm not a bathroom humor type. I love the idea of a fairy tale starring a plumber. THAT I would read. But the names were distracting. Sorry.

  6. Thank you for complimenting my Dutch, Joanna - that means a lot coming from you :) And thank you for your helpful comments for Catherine. Re Disqus, I'm told there is no way to retain comments - which seems really unfair since most of them went up before I had Disqus and they at least shouldn't be able to take those! It seems like there should be a way around it...

  7. That's the frustrating thing - it seems to work for other blogs. But I can't get anyone to help me figure out what the issue is with mine. Too bad I'm not a techno-genius! Thanks for your comments for Catherine! :)

  8. Thanks for your helpful comments for Catherine, Tina, and for your kind words about my Dutch :) At the moment I speak English with a smattering (and by smattering I mean one or two words :)) of Spanish, French and Dutch. What would you like me to try next? :) And I'm glad you like the bookmarks - I think Alison did a terrific job... as you can tell... by my gushing post :)

  9. Thanks so much for battling Disqus to leave your helpful comments for Catherine, Genevieve. I really appreciate it. And thank you for letting me know that you are also struggling with Disqus. I must say, I like the idea of a fairy tale starring a plumber! :)

  10. In this case, I think kids would be a lot more likely to read it than I. I know kids love this sort of humor, and the names are definitely funny. So if I were a kid today, I'd maybe read it. I think the pitch could be tightened a bit, and there were some great suggestions in the comments before me.

    As for Disqus, I think it's dreadful that you would lose all your comments! If it weren't for that, I'd say ditch them pronto.

    Could Alison make a Perfect Picture Book Friday bookmark that we could hand out places? Leave in libraries? etc? (because the project I was trying to do just didn't work.)

  11. Posted For Catherine
    It's killing me not commenting with all this wonderful feedback. I have done a couple more edits on the ms since I sent the pitch so I would lean more towards just talking about Mr. U-Bend like Erik said. Thanks Erik! Mr. U-bend ends up with a knighthood Prince Bumgracious which I think would make a great title. I didn't think the potty humor was so bad, I could have said worse things ;) Nevermind can't please everyone. Superb feedback. Give them all my thanks. I'm having a hard time with it because there is no kid protag and lots of characters involved and my CPs didn't comment on my last version, but as of today I have a few extra CPs woo hoo!

    Thanks a lot Susanna (in English me no spekken ze dutch ;0)

  12. What a great idea, Beth! I never thought of that. I will ask her immediately! :) And thanks for your opinion on Disqus and your comments for Catherine!

  13. Posted For Catherine

    Thanks for the plumber in a fairy tale idea, Genevieve. That might have more universal appeal than this one.

  14. Posted For Catherine

    You are spot on, thanks so much. I waffle when there are a lot of characters. You see Mr. U-Bend is not in a third of the story, so i couldn't just talk about him.

  15. Posted For Catherine

    That's a much better pitch, thanks!

  16. Posted For Catherine

    Thanks for spotting Take Leave and I agree with you about kid-centric. Hmm..

  17. Posted For Catherine

    I agree, I'm confused myself :)

  18. Catherine, I agree that you need to tighten your pitch.It would help to have shorter sentences. There are a lot of characters and if you could do with less, I think that would help, too. I would read because I think you could use the bathroom humor, but at the same time make it cute and not too over-the-top for kids. I am not coming up with a suggestion for a title. Well, maybe....Mr. U-Bends Day Goes Down The Drain...sorry...I couldn't resist!

    Nice Dutch!!!

    And Discus...there has to be a solution. It would be a huge shame to lose all the comments...but it is a huge shame that folks can't comment when they'd like, also.

    The bookmarks!!!! The bookmarks!!!! Awesome!

  19. This one is a Maybe, leaning heavily towards a Yes. The character names are hilarious and clever, but I'm having a hard time figuring out who is doing what in the pitch. Perhaps change the wording around a bit?

    Flatulence and Lady Piddle must let their plumber, Mr.
    U-Bend, assist with an emergency in the neighbouring kingdom. Mr. U-Bend is
    accosted en-route by the plumbing requirements of the village paupers, so the Princesses of the neighbouring Kingdom sets out to look for him. Meanwhile, Prince Constant, son of Lord Flatulence and the
    most needy of all subjects, wants to keep his plumber to himself.

    I'm betting that this story would be a fantastic read aloud with lots of giggles!

    Susanna, the bookmarks are gorgeous! Alison did a beautiful job.

  20. Haha. The names are cracking me up. Yes, this is something I would buy for my nephew. This seems to me this could be a funny fairy tale. But I'm a bit confused. I'm not sure if the Princesses and the Prince are up against one another or working together to save the plumber. I'm not sure why the Prince wants to keep the plumber to himself when his parents were okay with the plumber going to the neighbouring kingdom in the first place. As for names "Lord of the Pipes" Sorry that is all I can think of.

    Susanna, I'm sorry to hear about disqus but I guess you have to do what you have to do. The question is will your blog be better without disqus if so then I say lose the comments as long as what you're left with works. Your bookmarks look lovely. Alison did a wonderful job.

  21. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Catherine, you awesome multi-tasker you :) So glad you like the bookmarks... and the Dutch... :) And yes, you'd think there would be a solution for Disqus, but alas, I know not what it is!

  22. Okay thanks so much you all have such good points. Prince Constant collects Princesses and together they rescue Mr. U-Bend. The story has changed a little since I wrote this pitch. Thanks Heather, Penny and Beth.

  23. Susanna, Would hate to think you'd lose all of the wonderful comments if you switch from Disqus, but I understand your frustration. Re the chocolate & strawberries, think you need some peanut butter there. It's one of the few foods I recall eating in Amsterdam that blends well with chocolate (my other food memories involve teeny, tiny fish & the Heinekin brewery tour; did I mention I was at university when I last visited Amsterdam?). And the bookmarks are beautiful - will definitely keep Alison in mind when (if ever?) I have something published!

    Catherine, sorry, but I can't say that I would read this PB. I was very confused as to who was doing what & must admit that potty humour is not my preferred reading. Perhaps if you can simplify the pitch somewhat I'd be more inclined to read it.

  24. Thanks for your comments for Catherine, Heather! And yes, isn't Alison amazing?! :)

  25. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Catherine, Rena, and for weighing in on the disqus issue. Glad you like the bookmarks :)

  26. *Laughing out loud.* Not only would I read it, but my sons would read it. Anything with names like Flatulence and Piddle are winners in my house :)

  27. Alison did a great job on the book marks. They look very nice. The pitch sounds good, but it's just not my type of story. So it's a no from me, but I'm not the target market.

  28. Love the pitch, but I think you need to break it down as it was too long. Liked Heather's suggestions. Am laughing as I read it. Kids will love this! Can't believe you can't come up with a title -- you are always so clever. Or is the issue, a "clean title?" LOL The Prince and the Plumber, The Kingdom's Plumber, What's a Plumber to Do? Wish I knew more about the story.

    Love the book marks Susanna. Allison did such a fabulous job!

    Disqus -- hope someone comes up with a fix. Do you know a computer guru? I hate to see you lose data. But, I am one of those who has trouble leaving a message on your blog. And, I get to it last. Someone who posted a review on your blog last week had Disqus and I was able to leave a comment. I can still respond to to the PPBF entries. I don't know how many people are having trouble, but if it's just a few I wouldn't do anything drastic.

  29. For a pitch to an agent or publisher, it should be no longer than one page long. Preferably anywhere from one sentence to one paragraph. Something that she can voice in less than three minutes, tops. That pitch was entirely too long.

    I loved the bookmarks by Alison. As you said, she is easy to work with and is a perfectionist in anything she does. The quality of any work she does is outstanding!

    On a side note: I'm glad I found this site!
    L. Sue Eggerton
    Weaving Dreams Publishing

  30. Those bookmarks are adorable!!!!!

    Sorry, but the pitch didn't do it for me. I get enough potty talk from my tweens to want to read it in a book. But my tweens might love it. ;)

    Susanna, the question is, do you need those old comments? I do understand what you're going through. I would hate to lose my comments too. You feel special when people take time to comment on your posts. You don't want to lose that special feeling by erasing them.

  31. Thanks for your comments for Catherine, Stina, and glad you like the book marks :) As to the comments, my husband said the same thing - who's going to go back and read all those? I'm sure you're right - probably no one - it just feels wrong to erase what people took the time and trouble to write. Also, on some of the contests, people's entries were in the comments... :(

  32. Welcome, Sue! So glad you found your way here! I recognize your company - Alison's publisher! - so you would certainly know how great she is to work with. Thank you so much for your helpful comments for Catherine. I hope to see you around :)

  33. Thanks so much for your comments for Catherine, Pat, and so glad you like the book marks! I appreciate your advice about the commenting problem. Part of my problem is that I know you, Catherine, Rachel, and several others are having trouble because as friends you've been kind enough to tell me. I have no idea how many other people may be stopping by once or twice, unable to comment, and just moving on and not coming back. You are wonderful to go the extra mile to comment, but it must be a pain, and it bothers me that you have to do that and that some of the others can't comment at all. So we'll see...

  34. Thanks for chiming in, Hannah, and I'm glad you like the book marks :)

  35. Thanks for chiming in, Julie! :) I think there are a whole lot of kids who would find this very funny :)

  36. Adorable bookmarks, Susanna! As for disqus, if it's so problematic, dump it. You have enough on your plate without battling with that. Your followers aren't going anywhere (are we?), so you'll have lots more comments.
    Lord Flatulence- what a gas! :-) For the names alone I'd read it, but I am confused about the plot. I would make the pitch clearer and more concise.

  37. Hmm... strawberries dipped in chocolate with peanut butter? It's almost like peanut butter and jelly dipped in chocolate :) No teeny tiny fish for me, thank you :) Thanks for your comments for Catherine, and glad you like the book marks. It's definitely WHEN, Patricia, not if ever! Think positive! :)

  38. Posted For Catherine in response to Heather, Penny and Beth

    Okay thanks so much you all have such good points. Prince Constant collects Princesses and together they rescue Mr. U-Bend. The story has changed a little since I wrote this pitch. Thanks Heather, Penny and Beth.

  39. Thanks so much, Iza, for your advice and for your comments for Catherine (it's a gas - you are funny! :)) I think I probably will let disqus go, but it's going to be so sad to say goodbye to all those lovely comments :(

  40. Catherine's story sounds like one my son would've roared laughing over. He was a big fan of Captain Underpants and Walter the Farting Dog. :) Susanna, I'm sorry you're having comment trouble--I wish I had a solution. I think Disqus owes you some chocolate!

  41. I like the way you think, Coleen! :) Thanks for your comments for Catherine... who can't comment!

  42. Hi Catherine-
    I'm a maybe on this one. I personally would read it because it sounds hilarious and, as a writer, I'd want to see how the heck you would tell this story and what amazing lengths you would go to to get a laugh. I also know my 7 year old would die laughing over this. The only reason I'd hesitate is because we've had an outbreak of potty talk around the house lately and I'd hate to add any fuel to that fire if you know what I mean.

    As far as the title goes, I think you need to be really self conscious and punny, and also say 'fairy tale'. I don't have any brilliant ideas, unfortunately. Once Upon a Toilet? The Prince and the Plugged Pipes?

    I agree with Tina that there are too many characters named and you need to shorten your sentences. I also think you're giving too much information about why he's delayed. We don't need to know that it's because of the villagers.

    Also, I would spell out his name phonetically. Eubend, maybe?

    Finally, a small technical point but would a lord and lady have a prince for a son? Not sure that level of accuracy matters in a story like this, but just a thought...I do love their names, though.

    Overall, it sounds very funny!

  43. Susanna- Sorry you are having so much trouble with Disqus. I haven't had a problem commenting but for some reason I do get two copies of everything, one that seems to come from the blog and one from Disqus. I think your hesitation might be that you think there IS a solution and you just don't know what it opposed to there not being any solution. Do you have a technical person who might be able to help you figure this out? I know it's a pain, but I would wait a while -- sometimes these techie things have a way of working themselves out when Version X.2 is released, that fixes all the bugs in Version X.1. However, at a certain point you do need to do whatever makes your life easier -- if that means losing the comments then I say do it.

  44. Catherine, BODACIOUS idea for a story if done right! (And I know you did it right!) Who wouldn't read it?? Though the pitch has me a tad on the confused side. I wonder if you could center it around the MC. Who is that? Mr. U-Bend? Come up with a concise, snappy pitch, with around 25 words. As it stands now, I'm not sure what is going on. Maybe shorten the sentences. One or two tighty written, short sentences is all you need. You don''t and you should NOT have all those names in the pitch, pal. I have not read the other comments. And sorry I'm checking in late.

    Susanna, Disqus hateth me. *sigh*

    The bookmarks are supercalafragalistic! I love 'em! (I just realized I used 2021 exclamation points.) *ahem*

  45. Er, I meant tightly, not tighty. Though I could have meant mighty. Hmm. Mighty tighty! *wink*

  46. Susanna...the chocolate sounds yummy, no matter what language we are speaking...are you planning a trip to Holland?
    The bookmarks are amazing!!!
    I'm only able to comment here if I go in with my Firefox browser...I can't comment if I use Internet Explorer...fortunately, I have both, so it is not a problem for me. ;)
    Catherine...this is a hilarious story...I've read through some of the comments and agree about the number of characters...but then again, look at Dr. Seuss. I love the idea of spelling the name as Eubend. :) I know that lots of kids would love this quirky subject. So my answer is yes, I would read it...and I think kids would laugh their socks off. :)

  47. Vivian, I am not planning a trip to Holland, although I did go there once when I was 7 (just a couple years ago come to think of it :)) but I am technically of Dutch heritage... well, if you're going to be REALLY technical, Friesian Dutch! But I'll take my chocolate in any language! :) Disqus, the ever unhelpful, says Internet Explorer 8 works perfectly. I'd like to know if that's the version you have that doesn't work! Thanks so much for your comments for Catherine :)

  48. Sidney Schuhmann LevesqueSeptember 28, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Susanna, I have had no trouble commenting on your blog. I use Firefox. Hope you are able to keep your archive. I especially found it useful to go back and read the pitch winners and then your editor's comments.

  49. Thanks for letting me know, Sidney. They say it's supposed to work, and clearly it does for lots of people.... I'd hate to lose all those comments from WYRI and the contests and everything...

  50. Thanks for your comments for Catherine, Robyn! And thank you for commenting in spite of the fact that disqus hateth you! Glad you like the bookmarks - I think Alison did a great job! As for exclamation points, my motto is "If exclamation points be how thou expresseth thineself, exclaim on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" :)

  51. That is exactly my hesitation - that I would delete everything only to discover there had been a way to save it. But I don't know how to figure that out. No gurus in my neck of the woods :( I could wait at least a little longer - it just bother me that some of my most faithful followers can't comment :( Thanks for your advice though, I really appreciate it!

  52. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and helpful comments for Catherine, Carrie! :)

  53. I'm a maybe for this one, mostly because I'm left a bit confused with the plot. If the pitch were shorter and clearer, I think it could be an entertaining read! Lord Flatulence is a great character name :)

  54. Thank you so much for your helpful comment for Catherine, Larissa! :)


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