Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #25

Dear Sara,

When the little witch Crystal Milk stumbles upon a baby fluffaboo, a rabbit-like farm animal, she takes it upon herself to find its momma. As she makes her way through Farmer Jack’s land she encounters unicorn frogs, flying cows, and milk spiders. But a broken bridge may just make reuniting mother and baby impossible. Crystal will have to muster all her witchy smarts to solve a task this big.

CRYSTAL MILK AND THE BABY FLUFFABOO is a picture book complete at 658 words. Since you have an interest in the quirky and fantastical I thought this may appeal to you.  I am an author/illustrator having studied six years of fine arts under Conchita Firgua at the Art Institute of Weston. I am a contributor at Writerly Rejects and literary agent intern at The Rights Factory. Thanks so much for your time. 

Best wishes,


Crystal Milk loved to SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE her curls as she skipped through the forest.

Every time she shook them, her curls giggled. It was the first spell she’d ever gotten right!

Crystal hoppity skipped through the forest, until she heard a very loud mewing sound.

Crystal peered behind a log, her curls chuckling.

A lonely little fluffaboo glanced from side to side.

“Why you’re just a baby. Have you lost your momma, little one?”

The fluffaboo nodded.

“Well, then I’ll help you find your momma!” The fluffaboo hopped onto her hand.

“Hmm,” she whispered.

A unicorn frog hopped across the path singing its froggy song.

“Oh excuse me, Mr. Frog,” Crystal called.

“RIBBET RIBB--Yes?” he stopped.

“Do you know where I can find the fluffaboos?”

The frog stuck out its tongue and SNAP, SNAP, SNAPPED up a fly.

“Delicious.” He licked his lips. “You can find the fluffaboos at Farmer Jack’s, along the path.”

“Thank you,” Crystal said as she and the fluffaboo made their way toward Farmer Jack’s.

“I’m sure one of the animals here must know where your momma is.”

Crystal gave her hair a shake and shimmy.

As they entered a hutch, some of the mini cows were busy laying eggs while others BUZZ BUZZ BUZZED around the room with their feathery wings.

“Hello,” Crystal said.

“Hello, little witch!” they replied.

A mini cow fluttered up to Crystal’s ear. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m trying to find this one’s mother. Have you seen her?”


PamBrunskill said...

Hi E.P.,

Your query letter's great. It follows all that I've read should be included, and your credentials are solid. I've read that PB should be 500 words or less, and so if you're having a word count in the 600 range, you might want to include a comparison with other books of similar word counts so that you can justify this somehow. The word count alone might turn off an agent, but I thought the letter was written well enough to keep going. I was intrigued by the different types of animals. As for the story, I think you have a lot of extra description that can be deleted, and lower your word count. The external problem, finding the fluffaboo's mom, is clear. I think the internal problem is that she's not confident in her witching spells, but I'm not positive. I wonder if there's a way to make this internal conflict clearer. Good luck!


Jill Pauli said...

Perhaps this is just a stylistic comment, but I would have liked to know your manuscript is a picture book manuscript sooner. Perhaps you could incorporate it into the first paragraph somehow? I also agree with most picture books these days having fewer words. Hope that helps some!

Zainab Khan said...

I think you have a good query letter. I love the name Fluffaboo. I'm curious to know what all of your animals (especially Fluffaboo) look like.

Some of your sentences could be more concise. I'm interested to know how the curls (cute idea) are important to the story.

Thanks for sharing your story with me. I enjoyed reading it.

Alison Miller said...

This PB sounds so FUN! And your query sounds awesome - solid credentials - what sounds like a fun and cute story. I do love the name Fluffaboo too!

I know - not much help here, but good luck!

Agent Sara Sciuto said...

First off, thanks for the personalization with my name in the greeting and the line about my interest in quirky picture books. This tells me that you've already researched me and feel your project would be a good fit, and so I'm already eager to read more.

For the query, I appreciate the fantastical elements and the unique world, but my first thought was that with all of this world-building it must be a chapter book or middle grade project. I was a bit surprised to learn it was a picture book and was concerned going into the sample pages that there would probably be too much going on for a picture book format.

Unfortunately, when I got to the sample pages, I found that to be the case. It just felt like too much going on for a 14-spread picture book (the standard pic book format) with the witch casting spells, and she's in this enchanted world, and she finds a magical creature and is looking for his home with the help of other magical creatures. It's a lot to attend to in a small format. I really appreciate the unique premise here, but I think the project would be stronger if you focused on just one of these elements--the magical witch, or the fluffaboo (a story just about this new creature seems more than enough material for a pic book).

Nicole Zoltack said...

I think your query is great. Sara's comment about it being a chapter book--you could definitely expand on the story and flesh it out more to make it one. If you wanted to. Good luck with this story!

Sarah Turnbull said...

"Crystal Milk loved to SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE her curls as she skipped through the forest.

Every time she shook them, her curls giggled. It was the first spell she’d ever gotten right!"

As a gal with curly hair, I really loved these two lines. They made me smile.

Elizabeth Prats said...

Thank you all for the awesome feedback! And a big thank you to you Sara :) Maybe I'll have to consider if the chapter book option or par down the PB book. I may try both :)