Monday, October 15, 2018

Query Critique Winner

This month's lucky #8 is Paulette!  Congrats on winning the query critique!  This is her original query:

Dear Carrie, 
 Put kids and a piano together and someone is bound to play “Chopsticks.” Yet hardly anyone has heard of Euphemia Allan, the 16-year old Scottish lass who probably wrote it. 
 Euphemia published “Chopsticks” under a male pseudonym. When her identity was discovered, researchers doubted she could have composed the song herself. But so far, no one has offered any other explanation.  
CHOPSTICKS: A MUSICAL MYSTERY is a 500-word non-fiction picture book for ages 5-9 that explores the origins of the song. Readers also receive instructions for playing “Chopsticks” themselves, and learn about the version Russian children play.  
I’m a pianist, librarian, and writer. My non-fiction writing for children has appeared in magazines including HighlightsCricketSpider, and Ladybug. I’m a member of SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 Picture Book Challenge. 
 I have other manuscripts available upon request, including a picture book biography of 19th century German pianist Clara Schumann. 
 Thank you for considering my story.  
Sincerely,  
 Paulette


And here are my notes:


Dear Carrie,  
Put kids and a piano together and someone is bound to play “Chopsticks.” Yet hardly anyone has heard of Euphemia Allan, the 16-year old Scottish lass who probably wrote it.  Euphemia published “Chopsticks” under a male pseudonym since no one would have wanted to publish music written by a woman in those days. When her identity was discovered, researchers doubted she could have composed the song herself, since it was thought that women did not have the cognitive abilities to write music, let alone young girls[With these edits, I'm trying to build out a greater sense of context for the reader about why Euphemia had to publisher her song under a pen name and why people had such a hard time believing she could have written it.  Feel free to change if necessary, but you get what I'm going for here.] But so far, no one has offered any other explanation.
 
  
 CHOPSTICKS: A MUSICAL MYSTERY is a 500-word non-fiction picture book for ages 5-9 that explores the origins of the song. Readers also receive instructions for playing “Chopsticks” themselves, and learn about the version Russian children play.  This story will appeal to the same audience that loved John Smith's THE MYSTERY OF MOZART and be attractive to early educators and parents looking to help their child develop musical skills. [I'm just making stuff up here, but the point that I'm trying to make is that you need to add comp titles and other information to show agents that there is a market for this book and who the audience is.  Does this involve STEM in any way?  Would it be able to be used in classrooms in some way?  Have other similar books about musicians won awards?]  
I’m a pianist, librarian, and writer. My non-fiction writing for children has appeared in magazines including HighlightsCricketSpider, and Ladybug. I’m a member of SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 Picture Book Challenge. 
 I have other manuscripts available upon request, including I love introducing young readers to famous figures, especially musicians, and am also working on a picture book biography of 19th century German pianist Clara Schumann. [I think it is a good idea to take out the part about having another ms available upon request and just focus on hocking this one, as it were.  I think a better way to phrase things is to say that you have other related projects with potential in order to whet an agent's curiosity.] 
 Thank you for considering my story. 
 Sincerely,  
Paulette


Right off the bat, I have to say that this query is in totally awesome shape.  Paulette, you've done a great job!!  You draw the reader in right away and get them curious about the story behind the composition of "Chopsticks" and offer interesting, relevant information about what the story will do/offer and what your background is.  I love the clear, concise language you use to deftly get the job done.

With my edits, I mainly wanted to provide more marketing context for agents about how other comp titles have sold and if there is a market for this book.  I hope my thoughts are helpful and if anyone else has any other ideas or questions, be sure to chime in below in the comments section!

No comments:

Post a Comment