Thursday, September 16, 2010


Thanks S.  I love the illustration!

The SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) Kansas Annual Conference begins Friday at 7 PM. There are going to be some amazing people there...I can't wait to meet them!   I even get to hang out with an old friend, Jessica.

I've been studying pitches this week (some of you have gotten frantic emails from me...THANKS for your help) with the hopes of cornering some unsuspecting agent or editor.  :)  I found some great links for you...and wanted to share part of an awesome email from my friend Randi Rivers an editor at Charlesbridge Publishing.

This is what Randi said when I asked her about pitches...

"To me it’s a lot like being a bookseller who’s hand-selling during Christmas season. You want to give the people to whom you’re pitching a sense of what happens in the book while enticing them to want more. Let’s see if I can do one off the cuff for a book I edited (What REALLY Happened to Humpty? by Jeanie Franz Ransom): Hard-boiled detective, Joe Dumpty, has until 5pm to crack the case and discover which character pushed his brother, Humpty, off the Wall.

From that pitch you learn the basic plot, the main character, the tone, and the genre—plus the mention of Humpty being pushed creates enticement."
& here are the links...
Rachelle Gardner gives you a full plan for what to do in an elevator...

Chris Richman at Upstart Crow Literary Agency gives a great example with CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.

Nathan Bransford did a great post on three different kinds of pitches.

You'll  see a few of our favorite blogging friends pitches at Cape Cod Children's Writers Blog.

So here's my 12 word, one sentence pitch for A CAKE I WILL BAKE... (It has plot, it has character (kind of), it has tone, I think you can tell the genre, and I think it gives a sense of enticement.  It also sounds like me.)

It's yummy, it's sweet, it's a gigantic kid baked and shared treat!

Here are my other completed pb pitches:
--"Phyllis and her mum watch the herd of children walk down Buxton Road and decide who'll live with them until The War is over."
--"Rat is a problem solver until he meets Dragon and gets a problem of his own."
--"We-Have-Enough is a village in peril, thanks to years of wasting their resources, eventually everyone pulls together and saves We-Have-Enough."
--"Fun loving Spider Monkey plays a trick on Crocodile and ends up with quite a tail."
--"Sara finds comfort in her memories and in the clouds when her beloved grandma dies."

So here's your chance to practice...I'll be flexible...Pitch me your book in 30 words or less...


  1. 1) I want to gobble that cake.
    2) I like the Rat/Dragon pitch.
    3) I'm not a writer but here's my make-believe pitch!!!: "A literary assistant moonlights as a bounty hunter at night when she discovers the villains from the rejected slush have come alive to terrorize her town."

  2. Hi Sharon .. great post and links - thank you .. I can see the brevity and succinctness required .. very interesting read.

    I have no book .. but this is good to know - enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

  3. Love your pitch. Very plot based from what I can gather. Thanks for the links. Pitches are oh so hard. I have some for my picture books (too lazy to get them out of my documents. Pitiful isn't it?), but here's mine for my MG grade novel (It was quite handy.) :)

    In their world, thirteen-year-old best friends, Anna (a diabetic) and Claire have almost perfect lives, until their world is blown apart. They’re lost in the mountains—by themselves and darkness is coming.

    A little long. Still trimming. HEEEEEEEELLLLLLLPPPPP. :(

  4. Wow, thanks for these awesome links! And good luck to you at the conference! It's worth perfecting your elevator pitch. I found myself in an awesome/terrifying position where I randomly met a literary agent and I had to pitch without ever having thought about how to do it. It turned out okay but I wish I had these tips beforehand! :-)

  5. Oh btw:

    Sara finds comfort in her memories and in the clouds when her beloved grandma dies.

    I'm a sucker for this type of stuff. I want to read it!

  6. Thanks for the links.
    Love the piccie :-)

  7. GOOD LUCK!!!!! I love the illustration! The Cake I Will Bake looks amazing already!! And your pitch is fab!!

    I'd love to give you a pitch of my own wip, but at the moment, the plot is very fluid! LOL!

    take care

    September 17, 2010 11:27 AM

  8. My pitch would be: Here is exactly how special needs animals make your heart smile from the inside.

  9. Hi Sharon,
    Cute illustration. ;)
    To answer your question from your previous post, you and I are already following each other's blogs. I don't know how to add my info to my name :( Do you know how?
    But here's my blog just in case (I have you under my favorites ;))

  10. Sweet drawing! :)

    Have a Happy weekend Sharon!
    xo Catherine

  11. Sounds fun! I want to have a go for The Curse Of The Phoenix!
    Clara is haunted by a lost love and a grudge from a part life that refuses to die until she does.
    How's that?

  12. Hi Sharon,
    And of course, I know the Buxton Road to which you refer. In fact, I drove along that road today, on my way to having yet another exciting supermarket expedition.
    It may interest you know that I link in with a British children's writer named Carole Anne Carr.

    Have a lovely weekend. With respect, Gary :-)

  13. Love the sound of these! :)

    Here's mine:

    In Victorian London where steampower rules & Bobbies don't, 2 teens stumble into a plot to defraud the Bank of England - and that's the good news.

  14. I love the picture, Sharon! Thanks for the links. I'll be sure to check them out! Good luck at the conference.

  15. I make myself do this all the time, otherwise when somebody asks me what I am working on, I just kind of freeze up and say lame things.

    (Unfortunately, I never remember well enough....)


  16. Pitching = scary.

    When Adam and Eve witness a life-like fog obliterate a Walmart, they follow the mist to an erratic, godlike being who puts them on a quest to save civilization from itself.

    31. Take out "erratic"?

  17. I saw Shelley's comment, and I'm the same way.

    Have fun at the conference, Sharon!

  18. Jude--Isn't it a great cake! I'll have to tell S. you liked it. :)

    Thanks...I'm glad you liked my Rat/Dragon pitch.

    I'm thinking I could see your pitch as a TV show on late night cable. (wink)

    Hilary M-B--It is important to get the essence of your story and your voice in as few words as possible. (25 or less!)

    Robyn--Very nice! My only suggestion would be that you don't need "by themselves" because we can assume that since they're lost.

    Melissa--I hope I didn't stutter too much. I did get a bit nervous reading my ms out loud...

    I'll send you COMFORT IN THE CLOUDS if you'd like to see it. :)

    Al--You are quite welcome. I love them too...The kiddos that provided them for me are something special!

    Jennifer--I'll be putting up a post later today about what happened with it....I learned something important...

    Brian--AWWWWWW, you know how to make me smile!

  19. Claudia--Hmmmm....I'll have to think on that. I'll get you on my blog roll later today. I have several new people that I'm following that I need to put on it....

    Catherine--I hope you had a lovely weekend and that your first day back to work went well.

    Nathalie--Wow! Very extra words!

    Gary--That is totally cool! I'm so glad I found you on Lenny's blog...

    I'll look her up. Thank you!

    Jemi--I love the sense of enticement your pitch leaves you with.... (just like Randi talked about.)

    Hema--Thanks and thanks.....I hope you had a good one...

    Shelley--I found it easier to write them for the stories I had written quite some time back than for A CAKE I WILL BAKE....

    Theresa--Are you asking me if you should take out erratic?

    Dawn--I'm so bad about panicing and forgetting too...

  20. These are great pitches! I'm embarrassed to admit, I don't have one. I better work on that...

  21. Thanks for those great links, SK! Randi's advice is invaluable. :) I can't wait until we get the run down on how the con went.

    Here's mine (tho I think it's too long): "Raised, groomed, and set apart, Jedda Hitler was her Fuhrer grandfather’s personal project to prove that even a small girl could be turned into a killing machine."

  22. How fun that you got to go to a conference. I'm looking forward to reading more about it:))Hope your pitch went over well too!