Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jenny Rose's Current Query

We're doing something a little different this week on the QQQE. Jenny has written a picture book, which she has a query for, that she would like help with.

Now I told her when she emailed me that I know nothing about picture books, and I asked her to take any advice I gave with a grain of salt, but I do have some friends, like Ishta Mercurio, and Shelley Moore Thomas, who are very knowledgeable about picture books. And I think of all my readers I have some people who will be able to lend an educated hand.

And really queries are all the same, to a certain degree. Hook, Character, Conflict, Choice, and Stakes. If you don't have all of that laid out clearly, you may want to take another look.

Anyway, today is just for introductions. Here is Jenny's query:

Dear Editor

Meshach has been through the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath and lived to tell about it. Meshach and his buddies Shadrach and Abednego were taken from Jerusalem to be slaves to the king of Babylon. They trusted God and proved their worth to the king and became officials. How did Meshach feel about being taken as a slave? What will happen when they refuse to bow to the king’s gold statue?

Meshach’s Story is a 500 word, illustrated story based on Daniel chapters one and three. Told from Meshach’s point of view, preschoolers and grade schoolers experience Meshach’s reaction to this familiar Bible story. Throughout the story, the importance of loving and trusting God and His care for us are emphasized.

Some Bible story books currently in bookstores are compilations such as My Everyday Bible Story Collection (Stephens Groups 2008) and Bible Heroes (Little Golden Books 2004) which provide a brief summary of several stories but cannot be expanded without a rewrite. Others highlight a particular story and can be part of a series of books but are written in third person such as Jonah and the Big Fish (Spirit Press 2006), Bible Classics: Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors (Bluewood Books 2000), Stories from the Bible: Noah’s Ark (Paragon Publishing 2004), and Arch Books: Baby Jesus Visits the Temple (Concordia Publishing 2001). However, Meshach’s Story is written as a first person account, making the story come more alive to young children and is one of several Bible stories that I have developed in first person.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and I am a former preschool teacher. Currently I write a variety of scripts for my church.

Would your publishing company be interested in publishing Meshach’s Story? I can have a copy ready for you by May 9, 2011.


Jenny Rose

Please come back tomorrow, for my feedback, and to provide your own. Jenny doesn't have a blog to link to, that I know of, but I'll make sure to ask her!


Emily White said...

Very interesting! And you now seem to be the go-to man for query critiques. How exciting! :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

i have some questions so i'll for sure be back

storyqueen said...

I'll be back tomorrow. The rules for a pb are a little different than those for a longer piece, but not that much.

And thanks for the shout out, Matthew!


Jess said...

A picture book~ fun!

Velvet Over Steel said...

Hi Matthew! So glad that you found me so I could find your blog! I of course have so much to learn, but WOW can I learn a lot from You!! BTW I liked your bio and the fact that you want to help others. My #1 reason for start my blog, the other is because I've always wanted to share my stories and write books 'someday'.. :-) I know I have a lot to learn. I will be back often! Thank you again!! ~ Coreen

vic caswell said...

jiminey! i wonder if the guidelines are really different?
*checks watch while wondering if there's time to research before tomorrow*

Creepy Query Girl said...

This sounds really interesting! Thanks for sharing Jenny- it takes courage (I know this from experience!) but if there's one place that can help you spruce it up, it's definitely here! I have a few ideas on what could be improved but I'm almost positive Matt and his friends Shelly and Ishta will get to them tomorrow! Good luck!

Robyn Lucas said...

Sounds interesting! Looking forward to some comments tomorrow

Unknown said...

I'm interested to see what the advice is. I have a PB manuscript that I've been submitting usually with a cover letter and the manuscript. There is at least one place I wanted to send a query to so I'll be back tomorrow to see what the advice is.

Michael G-G said...

I'm no picture book expert, but I'll try my best to help tomorrow.

Unknown said...

Another good example of this story would be the Veggietales version of it, although it was tweeked to be about a giant chocolate bunny.

I would be interested to see this story put into a small book, but it seems like a heavy topic to put into a small story.

Old Kitty said...

Oooh I look forward to the query comments tomorrow!!! Picture books - sounds like fun!! Take care

Talli Roland said...

I just remembered that I forgot to pop back on Friday! Argh! Ah well, this time I shall remember.

Amie Borst said...

i know absolutely nothing about PB's...so i'm looking forward to reading all the advice.

good luck!

Jenny Rose said...

Just popping in to say hi and looking forward to tomorrow.

I have two blogs:
the first is book reviews, health and fitness posts, and devotional insights
http://jennywidner.blogspot.com/ Jumbled Jots by Jenny

in the second I address issues relating to self-esteem and bullying
http://jennyrosewriter.blogspot.com/ Creatively Loving Kids by Jenny Rose

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I think it sounds very good. I like the premise of the book and I like the set up of the letter. (And as a parent I'm eager to see this in print!)
You show that you've read lots of other books in your genre and you have something new to offer.

Only one little thing- the last line about having a copy by May 9: Shouldn't you have it prepared to send already before you query? Maybe it's different for picture books, but I thought that was always the case.

I hope you get it published! :)

BTN Hip Hop said...

nice read there

Theresa Milstein said...

Yes, you need to have it ready before you query. "The full manuscript is available at your request," is standard.

I think you can leave out some of the info about what's in the stores. If a publisher is willing to buy a Bible story, they probably know what's out there. I'd only keep in the first person account part. In fact, you can attach that to the previous paragraph.

I like your last question in the first paragraph, but I'd change the previous one to a phrase instead of a question. "Meshach is furious..." (or whatever the emotion is).

Good luck!

Catherine Denton said...

I'll be interested to hear what everyone has to say! I didn't know you could guery for picture books.
My Blog

Author Joshua Hoyt said...

This looks very interesting. I have some thoughts I'll be back tomorrow.

LTM said...

oh, wow. This is very good. I'm kind of like you, Matt--I don't know *squat* about picture books, but I would imagine this would be both a hot market and a marketable product.


And this query seems right-on. I'll be back~ :o) <3

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'll be back tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

Anita said...

This will be interesting to watch...hopefully some "experts" will respond.