Monday, February 6, 2012

Toni Sinns' Current Query

I know today is Monday, but I've got something special planned this Friday, so we're doing queries Monday through Thursday this week. Today is Toni Sinns' query for what I assume is intended as a Picture Book, because it sounds too short to be an Early Reader. Toni has a blog, that you'll need to visit and follow.

Back? Great, here's her query:

Dear Agent,

I have written an approximant 399 word fictional adventure for all children called “Baby Dragon’s Sound” or “Where is my sound?”

Opening up you meet baby dragon and quickly find that baby dragon makes no noise. The baby dragon goes on an adventure to find his sound. As baby dragon walks down a small road he comes across fairies, gnomes, and elves. He is unable to make the same sounds as the people he meets on this road. He finally hears his mother and returns to the nest. He finds his sound with his mother.

This story is full of children magic. The characters are all mythical and live in children’s imagination. It is fun for children to hear and easy for them to learn to read. There is also the ability to make this book into a sound book with buttons for the different creatures. Other books have followed the search and find story line idea and have sold well. I believe mine can stand on its own by being about the magical creatures of the child’s imagination.

Thank you for your time. I have placed the text portion following this letter. I can’t wait to speak with you about joining your team.

Thank you,

Toni G. Sinns

That's it.

I'm definitely no expert in books for young children, and I've never attempted a Picture Book myself, but I have some readers who know a lot about them, so we'll see if we can help Toni with her query tomorrow.

36 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I attempted a pb once too. They are fun to write but I probably don't put enough time into them that I should to be serious about them.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've never written a PB either. I've read tons, though, and I LOVE books with baby dragons in them. So you've sold me there.

Okay, in terms of the query, here's what I do know. She needs to pick one title. Don't be indecisive.

I would expect that writing a PB query is the same as writing one for a novel. You need to be specific. This one is still a little vague. Who is baby dragon and why is making sounds important to him. And don't forget to include voice. The voice here is bland, which would make me, if I were an agent, assume the voice in the PB is bland too. I'm betting it isn't, so insert some voice magic here.

Never tell and agent or editor how your book can be published. They already know how well certain formats sell. They don't need the writer telling them that.

Can't wait to see what Matt comes up with. :D

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like an interesting story. I so admire PB writers because they have to say so much in so few words.

I did write a PB a long time ago and at that point the recommendation was that the query letter be more of a cover letter if the story is pasted in.

You're busy this week Matt.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Hi Matthew and Toni! Thanks for being brave and posting your query:) First of all, it sounds like such a sweet idea and I think you're off to a good start. I don't write PB's, but I think the formula for a good query is the same across the board. To me, that means it should read like a jacket flap, rather than a synopsis. Your query is an awesome start, but I'd get to the point and try to cut out the step-by- step explanation of what happens. Good luck!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A challenge for you today, Matthew!

farawayeyes said...

Hi Toni, thanks for sharing. I'm in awe of people who write for children. Good luck,let's see what tomorrow brings.

Gracielou said...

Thanks everyone, and thank you Matt for putting it up. I can't wait for tomorrow so I can fine tune and polish my little diamond to shine, with help from all of you guys/gals great tips and advice.

Justine Dell said...

OMGosh. This story sounds SO adorable!

~JD

Slamdunk said...

Looking forward to how your group handles this change up Matthew. Enjoy your day-after-Super-Bowl.

Talli Roland said...

Well this is a challenge! I know nothing about PBs, so I'm interested to see what people say. I agree with Stina, though, that she needs one title.

Sounds like a cute read!

Marta Szemik said...

It will be interesting to see your mark up tomorrow. I've never done a picture book either.

Sarah Ahiers said...

i'll try to be back tomorrow. Though i'm not going to lie. It is my b-day tomorrow and i may forget. If i do, i'll show up on another day, though, even if i am late

LTM said...

I don't know from picture books, but I think this sounds like the cutest story ever. And as a little girl, I loved magical stories like this. :o) Best of luck w/it!

what's happening Friday??? ;p

Jack said...

A PB, interesting! :) I can already see something that needs to be axed in the third paragraph! But overall, great tale!

Dawn Ius said...

I've never written a query for a picture book before (though I have one percolating), but I suspect most of the rules are the same. Looking forward to seeing some of the feedback.

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

I don't write PB but I've read my share, since I have young children.
Thank you for sharing your query with us, Toni.
I would suggest picking one title for the query, otherwise you sound undecided. There is too much of "the baby dragon" in the query and it gets distracting. Use a few different identifiers, like "he", or "she", or "the baby", "junior" etc.
I would like to know what does "not finding the voice with others, but only with his/her mother" teach the reader? What is the purpose of this story?
Also, I would get rid of the sentence in which you tell the prospective agent about how confident you are in terms of selling this book.
Good luck! :-)

Jessica Salyer said...

I haven't seen a query letter for a picture book yet. I'm interested to see what Matthew has to say. Thanks for sharing it with us Toni.

Johanna Garth said...

My only experience is reading to my kids. This sounds like exactly the kind of thing I would have bought when they were little. Also, I'm wondering if picture book queries need to include art. That seems like a major component and reason to publish/purchase.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

If it's a picture book, you totally should have linked Colbert's interview with Maurice Sendak! It's so lolable. If you haven't seen it, Google "Grim Colberty Tales"

David P. King said...

That's certainly an interesting concept. A dragon finding its sound like a person finding their voice? That's what I took from the query. :)

Lydia Kang said...

The story sounds adorable. It definitely needs some tightening, assuming that it still has to fit the basic query mold. I agree that there should just be one title. Good luck!

Angela Ackerman said...

Interested on your thoughts about this one Matt--it comes across much differently than an older age group novel, and I have no idea of that is how you handle PBs or not! Looking forward to finding out! :)

I like the idea of a dragon trying to find it's voice--it has great kid appeal. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Suzie F. said...

Hi Toni! Following up on Natalie's comment, here's a helpful post by children's literary agent, Mary Kole, on the subject of pb queries.

http://kidlit.com/2010/09/27/picture-book-queries/

Hope you find it helpful and can't wait for tomorrow's critique :)

Jay Noel said...

Query needs to nail down just ONE title.

The story sounds incredible. We all need to find our voice, don't we?

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

The book sounds sweet and fun. My main feedback is to write it in a more active voice. What works with writing in books works with queries too. Best wishes.

Bryan Russell said...

I want a baby dragon. Just sayin'.

M Pax said...

I agree with all Stina said.

I have no experience with PB's, but a sales pitch is a sales pitch.

Maybe baby dragon should have a name? And I'd put the length and housekeeping stuff later. Open with a hook.

Best of luck, Toni. It sounds like a great story.

Barbara Watson said...

Oooo, PBs are wonderful--but hard to put into a query, I can imagine as so much of the story is in the pictures.

Southpaw said...

I don't know how PBs are pitched but I would say to choose one title.

Abby Minard said...

Aw, sounds like a cute idea. Definitely could use some work on the query- I'm interested to see what you have to say, Matt.

Carrie Monroe said...

Welcome Toni. Thanks for sharing your query with us. I've written some PB manuscripts.

Kristen Pelfrey said...

Hooray for dragons. There can't be too many dragons in the world. Thanks for taking the plunge and letting us learn with you?

Donna Hole said...

This sounds just the thing for my 1 and 3 year old grandchildren. Its very cute.

Good luck with this Toni :)

........dhole

Em-Musing said...

Work your magic query wand, Matt.

Ishta Mercurio said...

A PB query! I'll be back tomorrow to throw in my two cents. In the meantime, kudos for putting this forward, Toni. Thanks for sharing your work so we can all learn from it.

Suzie F. said...
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