Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #19

Dear Sara,

I believe you may be interested in my picture book manuscript, ADVENTURES OF A BOOKWORM. ADVENTURES OF A BOOKWORM is a story about a little girl named Cora who can't read a book without the book characters coming to life. When Cora has to take her favorite books back to the library, she struggles with saying goodbye to her favorite book friends. It is a story about friendship and a story about embarking on new adventures and trying new things.

I author a relatively new blog called Snugglebug University ( where I blog primarily about DIY projects for kids. Last month my blog had slightly under 9,000 visitors. My projects have been featured on major websites such as Apartment Therapy, Craftgawker, and Cool Mom Picks.

I've created several characters as downloadable paper dolls for my blog. Cora, the Bookworm, is one of these characters (you can view the paper doll here: I expanded on Cora's paper doll bio to create ADVENTURES OF A BOOKWORM, a full picture book manuscript complete at about 500 words. While I do not consider myself an illustrator, I do dabble in illustrations and would be open to the idea of illustrating my story. You can see some of my artwork here:

Below I have included the first 250 words of my ADVENTURES OF A BOOKWORM manuscript.

Unfortunately I cannot offer exclusivity at this time. Thank you in advance for considering my manuscript. I look forward to hearing from you.



When Cora Jean opens a book, she never knows what will happen next.

She may be swept away by a gigantic wave, surrounded by the funniest of characters, or chased by the scariest of lions.

That's why Cora Jean knows that library day is not to be taken lightly.

"Hurry up Cora! Get your library books together and let's go!" Cora's mom says.

But today, Cora Jean doesn't much feel like an adventure. [Cora is slumped over bed in a state of desperation, with an elf--one of the funniest of characters seen earlier--perched on her bed.]

"You can bring us home again, " [Elf says.] "It's not really goodbye."

[Elf says,] " And just think of all the fun we can have at the library together before you go home!"

Cora Jean slowly gathers together all of her library essentials.

Her swimming goggles, in case she ends up in a wet place,

a change of clothes fit for the most elegant of balls,

and a few critical books.

A book about a circus with a lion tamer brave enough to control the wildest of animals.

A book about a genie who can grant three wishes,

and a book about an airplane, just in case a quick evacuation is needed.

"Cora! Don't you think the library has enough books?" Cora's mom says.

"You can never be too careful, Mom."

When Cora arrives at the library she's surprised at how quiet it is.


Darshana said...

Hi J.P.,

You have an interesting premise, however it isn't clear to me from the query how the new adventures and trying new things fits in with the book characters coming to life. What is the transformation Cora undergoes through the story, and maybe build the pitch around that.
Also I would recommend following the standard hook, book, cook query construct. 2nd paragraph should be able the book WC, marketing info, mention of you able to illustrate. Third paragraph is about your writing credentials. You can mention your blog however I don't see a reason to focus so much on the craft unless the MS has a craft aspect to it. I think that part should be left out or you can say that you have accompany activities to go with the story. Best of Luck.

wonderwoman5432 said...

Hi J.P.

Your book sounds cute. I love the idea of book characters coming to life and having a hard time returning books to the library. Like Darshana, I recommend following the typical query format. Some small suggestions: "a full picture book manuscript complete at about 500 words." I'd state the actual number of words since there's word count now.
"Unfortunately I cannot offer exclusivity at this time. Thank you in advance for considering my manuscript." I'd tighten this up. Just say you are submitting simultaneously and thank you for your consideration. No need to apologize. This is my favorite line in the ms: "That's why Cora Jean knows that library day is not to be taken lightly." Such a gentle humor. You have great voice, a lovable character, and room for illustration in your ms so far. I'd love to see more. Good luck!


Cindy Williams Schrauben said...

I really like your concept. It is a sweet story. I struggle with the illustrations in my mind. Because most of the story takes place in her bedroom there isn't much room for change of scenery.

I'm afraid I didn't understand the following statement: "one of the funniest of characters seen earlier". When did the reader see the elf?

I'm wondering - are there speech bubbles to indicate when elf is speaking since it is in ( )?

I really do like your idea - very inventive.

Good luck

Summer Wier said...

Your story has a very cute premise and your paper dolls look fun!

Regarding your query, it needs to be less about you and the paper dolls and more about the book. You might mention your blog, but leave the links off. They kind of clutter the letter.

Good luck on your journey!

Agent Sara Sciuto said...

I appreciated all of the relevant bio information you provided in this query. Nowadays, publishers are expecting authors to do more and more of their own marketing, etc, so it's great to see that you have this active blog, and that you have this character tie-in puppet.

From my personal agenting experience, although I enjoyed the premise, I know that books about books are pretty tough to sell--there's just a lot of them already out there, and more soon to be. So on that personal note, I went into the sample pages needing to be blown away.

For the sample pages, I wanted it to start off with a great live scene about how these characters come to life when she reads the book. Having the author just "tell" me this happens wasn't as convincing as "showing" me. Also, the bulk of this sample was about her preparing to have these characters come to life--it seems as much as possible of the text should be devoting to showing this great idea of characters coming to life in front of her. That's the fun part, right?!