SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Recent Posts

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10
81
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by Laurel Gale on October 18, 2022, 02:34 PM »
Novels based, more or less, on the author's life already exist, so this isn't totally uncharted territory. You might want to research autobiographical novels and see how they're described. My instinct would be to treat it as a fantasy manuscript in the synopsis, using the third person,  and then just mention that it's inspired by your life in the bio section, but reading the back cover copy for other autobiographical novels might give you some more ideas.
82
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by austin-diamond on October 18, 2022, 01:31 PM »
There's one last question I'd like to ask.

As I said I would categorize this as fantasy meets memoir—and certainly as a true story. After all, the early stages are very much about the act of me creating these stories and characters, which eventually come to life and break into our reality. Since I am actively creating them, even though THEY are "fictional," me writing about the act of doing this is definitely NONfictional. And I love this curious paradox that occurs. I think it's been underappreciated. And so, related to this...

When I am pitching/querying I always struggle with knowing whether to use the 3rd or 1st person. I, "Austin," am the MC, and the story is told primarily through first-person point of view. A child reading (and anyone else), I don't think, would read it and be thinking the whole time, "Oh! This is all about the author! It's happening in real life!" Instead, they read Austin and it's simply the main character in the book. So in that sense, writing about it/pitching it in 3rd person, i.e. "Austin lives in a small white house atop a big green hill" would make sense. But, OTOH—I always worry and get the feeling that it would seem a little "prideful" or "egotistical" to describe the book/events with "Austin" as the MC,  like, "who is he to think he deserves to write this? And make himself the main character?"

I have a similar dilemma on the other, 1st person side. Since I am that character in "real life," and everything is true, and this would be especially evident in the context of my query—1st person would seem to make sense—but I always worry and get the feeling that it would seem a little "prideful" or "egotistical" to describe the book/events in 1st person, like, "who is he to think he deserves to write this?".

The book begins as follows: "Hi! I'm Austin! I don't know how to begin a story like this. You're probably wondering who I am!"

So my dilemma occurs right off the bat. 
83
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by Vijaya on October 18, 2022, 07:31 AM »
Sometimes an idea has to grow in the minds of others. You've had years with this. An agent or publisher only 5 min. I don't think it's disingenuous to keep the scope of your story close to your heart until someone shows genuine interest. By an advocate, I mean an agent. A good one will know who would be interested in a story like yours. Also be open to the idea that a publisher might only want to invest in a subset of books, but you can be free to publish the others yourself (so you'll have to make sure your contract doesn't stipulate any restrictions to using your characters). These are just other things to think about. Know that in today's world you have a lot more options. Here's an inspiring story about one man's journey for his ambitious adult project inspired by Tolkien: https://writerunboxed.com/2022/10/18/take-ten-vaughn-roycroft-and-the-severing-son/  Enjoy!
84
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by austin-diamond on October 17, 2022, 09:01 PM »
Thank you very much everyone for your replies. Debbie, Laurel, Dina, Vijaya! You have not disappointed with your sage advice.  :like

If you want to go the trade route, you'll want to pitch the first book with a note about it being a series. It'd be really good if you had an advocate to help you find the right fit.

As far as pitching only the first book with a note about it being a series, I don't know, it just seems so almost disingenuous, both to myself and to the agent/editor. To them, because they do not "get to see" the sheer breadth of what it could be. In the short space of a query they would by and large think I am "only" writing a PB, or at least not get a real sense of the entire series structure and potential. To myself, because as I said, even though my PB/1st chapter is a stand-alone book, I think the happiest marriage might be with someone who has fallen in love with the whole series.

Vijaya—when you say an advocate—were you thinking of someone/something in particular?
85
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by Vijaya on October 17, 2022, 06:55 PM »
Austin, my kids grew up with the books of Kate di Camillo, Grace Lin, Jane Yolen, and others who write across the spectrum of kidlit. They are well-established authors. But even their books are standalones or if part of a series, for the same age group. If you want to go the trade route, you'll want to pitch the first book with a note about it being a series. It'd be really good if you had an advocate to help you find the right fit. Self-publishing is also an option if you want to have complete control over your story, but it's not easy to be noticed in a sea of books. I know what it's like to work on an ambitious project. My first had everything in it... I started throwing out plot lines and lo and behold, less is more. This also means I have to write a sequel, but that's okay. This first book is better for it, though right now I'm adding another plotline... but this one will enrich instead of distract. I think. We'll see. Good luck with your writing and finding the right house for it.
86
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by Debbie Vilardi on October 17, 2022, 06:45 PM »
The advice above is spot on. Here's more of why. First, publishing is a business. If the first book you sell to a publishing house does not sell well, that publisher will not want book two.  (Another publisher is less likely to take it also.)

Second, the early books are fantasy/memoir, but the later books are STEM/STEAM. There may not be a reader for all of them.

Third, it takes two years to publish a book. Even a rushed publication timeline may not fit your schedule. And every book will need to sell well enough for them to go forward with the next book( or contract---it's possible to start with a three book deal and continue with a series deal, but this is multiple series. )

Do consider self-publishing if you think you can market effectively. Another option is to focus on the best work, get it into shape ,and go from there, one or two books at a time. An agent or editor would be overwhelmed by the scope of this. You might also think about whether all of these books have to be part of the same universe.  I know that isn't what you want to hear, but it is practical.

I have been telling myself stories with the same characters since I was 14. I'm now in my fifties. I picked the best story with one character as the main character--dual POV, but still. I'm writing that novel and will try to sell as a duology. But I could write a novel about the best friend, three other kids in the class (one each), the other best friend, the parent's childhoods and how they met, father of best friend 1, mom's best friend and her husband, their son and his wife and there is a third (or fourth) generation. And this does not include the antagonists. I can place these characters in any time period in any world and know how they will act and react. And I can write PB through adult. All books would be fantasy but other elements would be there from mystery to adventure to romance. I sure hope I'll sell the duology and it will do so well that I'm asked to do more books in the universe. (All that was just to say, I hear you about having  a whole vision and tons of story.)

No matter what I have available and written, it all has to start with one book.

Good luck with whatever path you decide.
87
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by Laurel Gale on October 17, 2022, 06:17 PM »
You have a very ambitious project that doesn't fit into the normal marketing categories. If you try to go the traditional publishing route, that's probably going to be a big problem.  I agree that self-publishing may be your best -- likely your only -- option for this.

I don't mean this as an insult. Some authors have been very successful with self-publishing!

If you want to try the traditional route first, by all means, go ahead.

Finding the right agents to target will be your first challenge. You could look for agents who rep a wide range of projects -- memoir, fantasy, children's lit, and adult lit. You could also try to submit directly to publishers. I think independent publishers that like unusual projects might be your best bet. Quirk Books is the first one that comes to mind, although I have no idea whether they'd be interested.

Writing your query will be your second challenge. I honestly think you just have too much planned to include everything in an initial query. Could you just focus on the first part and leave off the subsequent books? If a publisher is interested, you can always discuss the other books later.

But brace yourself for rejection. No matter how brilliant your story is, if publishing professionals don't know how to market it, they might decide they have to pass. Self-publishing can be a great option for authors who find themselves in this sort of situation. Research self-publishing and how to identify scams and rip-offs.

Good luck with whichever publishing path you end up taking!
88
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by dinalapomy101 on October 17, 2022, 05:55 PM »
I understand what you’re trying to do. You just won’t be able to get agents or publishers to buy into it. So I’d self publish.
89
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by austin-diamond on October 17, 2022, 05:29 PM »

The audience for each book type is different, so you won't capture the same audience even if the book has the same character and thread. This is what will make it nearly impossible to sell to a publisher.


The idea is that the books would be released for the child to grow with the book. So, for the child who starts out at the very beginning, and then grows up with it (target age given as well as theoretical release date):

1st Book (PB): 5, 2024
CB Series: 6-7, 2025-26
MG Books (September-mid-February at the school): 8-11, 2027-30
YA Books (Mid-February to April at the school): 12-13, 2031-32
"Adult" Books* (May-Graduation): 14-15, 2033-34 *Obviously when I say "Adult" this is still YA age, so "Adult" reflects the characters aging into adulthood—and past that—into seniority
The Subsequent Books: From Big Bang to Present Day: Written with versions for multiple age levels, the readers who have been reading already, along with any new readers who join the adventure - 2035-infinity

And the thought is, if all this goes according to plan, there are going to be a lot more people reading in it, at every stage, then just that first "original/target market" child, at every stage of the story.


90
Kidlit Genres / Re: How to Pitch This?
« Last post by dinalapomy101 on October 17, 2022, 03:45 PM »
Hello! I think if you want to keep the structure, you should self-publish.  A publisher won't likely pick up a series that spans formats (PB to YA to Adult Memoir).

If you want an agent, you should pitch book 1 then mention that it has series potential. But if book 1 is a PB and book 2 is a CB, I don't think an agent will want this bc they will have to sell a completely different format.

The audience for each book type is different, so you won't capture the same audience even if the book has the same character and thread. This is what will make it nearly impossible to sell to a publisher.

Harry Potter, for example, ages in each book, but the type of book is MG across the board so the same target age readers can binge all 7 books in the same year of their own life.

There are, of course, always exceptions! Prove me wrong! Just keep in mind that agents and publishers need to make money off the product, and it is hard to make money for a series that needs to be marketed to completely different age groups.
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10