Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Query Critique Week: YA Series Pitch

Today's query critique is for a YA series; it's aimed at an editor or agent. My comments appear in blue:

I am writing to query your interest in my Middle-Grade series, BIG SISTER BABYSITTER. I have read your bio in CWIM and thought my book might suit your representation style. [It's good to open with a "why I'm pitching you" but I'd like to see you mention specific books or series that the writer's series is similar to. Also, the wording a bit awkward--.e.g "suit your reprentation style." Why not just say "you may be interested in repping/publishing my book"?]

One day on a peaceful island Lake Ashley Payton, (also known as LA) hears some life changing news that rattles her world. “I am going to be a WHAT?!” she wails in fear of the worst. LA captures her every moment making a video diary, while she curiously learns the process of human development and uses Bible verses to help her through the emotional struggles. The true adventure of her blended family is just beginning when LA becomes a big sister and something happens that teaches her many lessons about love. [The language is a bit over-the-top, and I'm a little confused about the "true adventure". If this is fiction, it's not a true adventure. Also, certain words like "curiously" jump out at me. I'd rework this paragraph a bit, and include another line or two about LA so we know more about her as a character/person.]


BIG SISTER BABYSITTER is a 29,000-word middle-grade entertaining series written for fun, curious and youthful girls wanting to learn more about Christianity, human development and blended families. [Again, "fun, curious and youthful" doesn't work for me. I'd rework this sentence; also, is this one book which is 29,000 words or a series of books? It's unclear. Also, get rid of "human development." Why not say something like, "written for middle-school-aged girls dealing with issues of identity and families, especially those in blended families."]

This is my first middle-grade book. BIG SISTER BABYSITTER has been inspired by my own personal life growing up and my adoring husband and three amazing children. In this story captures the true voice of a youthful girl in a blended family. It is distinct because its’ humorous character learns in a Christian why what every little girl wonder’s about, but no one will talk about. [Again, a few words threw me off, like "adoring" and "amazing." It's fine to say that it's inspired by your life, but I'd focus more here on your platform/ability to sell the book. That's what editors/agents care about these days. A few lines about your connections/ability to market the book will make a big difference. Also, there are are some mistakes/typos in this paragraph, which is a turnoff.]

This is a simultaneous submission. Thank you for your time and consideration. [Good; you always want to let agents/editors know about simultaneous submissions.]

Sincerely,

[Overall, this query needs some work before it's ready to send out. Agents/editors don't care what inspired your book; they care about what kind of book it is, who the audience is, and how you'll sell it--in other words, what your platform is. That's what sells books today.]

Stay tuned for at least one more query critique this week!