I’m back with more critiques and I was amazed this morning when I opened the original post to see that there are 256 comments. Wow! Now, I realize not all of them are pitches to be critiqued, but that is certainly a little daunting and I definitely know I won’t be getting to all of them over the next week or so. I will of course do my best to give as many critiques as I can and thank you to those who have said kind words and seem to be learning from this. I do believe, or at least hope, that whether I get to your critique or not that everyone can learn something from what I’m doing.
Propositioned by a Playboy model, hit by a car, mugged, and arrested for the murder of a man he’s never met, it’s safe to say that Brian Green has never had a crazier day in his life.
It’s about to get even weirder. A man calling himself Jack O’Lantern, with a smile to match the name, magically heals Brian’s injuries and gets him out of police custody with a few words. The price tag? Simply the promise of a favor returned. But what could Brian possibly do for a man like that?
My question to you is what is this story really about? Is it one weird night or is it what Brian is going to need to do for Jack, because I’m not sure one weird night will do it, it doesn’t seem different enough for a book. Jack however seems intriguing and like he’s probably the hook of your story. I think you can skip the first paragraph and instead delve further into Jack and who he is as well as more on what Brian is going to need to do.
Nina Weaver, a feisty, struggling NYC photographer whose photographs contain intrusive spirit messages, felt bespelled when she met Anthropology Professor Pascal Guzman… and she was right! Though he swore that he’d never unleash the power of the Stag God, Cernunus, locating the woman he once loved from afar overwhelms his self-control. And when Nina’s best friend is shot by men breaking into her apartment to steal her “magic” photos, Pascal convinces her that the answer to the mystery surrounding her work lies in his hometown of Santa Fe. She agrees to head out with him on a sex and danger filled road trip—but what neither one of them knows is that they are at the heart of a power struggle between rival gods, one of them bent on destroying Pascal.
Whew! You’ve got a lot of material here. My most immediate concern is that it seems you are trying to dump way too much information in here and a lot of it seems unnecessary. For example do we need to know that Nina is feisty or struggling, or even from NYC? What do we really need to know from her in a blurb? What seems to be key, and the only thing that seems important in that first sentence, are the photographs and what she shoots. I’m also very concerned about the exclamation point. I’m not sure it’s appropriate here. Are you really exclaiming that entire sentence? And the second sentence has a lot of the same problems. I have no idea where this information is coming from or how it fits in. I think the heart of your pitch is when you get to Nina’s best friend. Let’s skip the backstory about these two and get right to the book. In the end though, the biggest problem is that I still have no idea what this book is about.
“Maximum Comfort”, a Memoir
Raised in a small town as the middle child of six by a Black father and White mother, I couldn’t help but ask myself “Who am I? Where do I belong? What in the hell do I do with my hair?” These questions became urgent when my parents’ relationship exploded after 27 years of marriage. For most of my twenties I wrestled with my life, desperate to pin it down with context and meaning. There were a few excellent moves that made me feel in control for a while; Oprah-style weight loss, cool career in television, my own place in New York City. But it was an intense break-up with a guy so blonde, hot and blue-eyed that he SURFED, that finally forced me to ask myself what I truly wanted from life. Everyone knows the only place you can answer that question is at a Buddhist monastery. So thank God there was one just north of the city. There was no way I was going to India. My hair would be impossible to manage!
My book, titled WHIRLWIND, is a complete, 90,000 word, first person contemporary romance. It is a single title with sequel possibilities.
Melissa Williams, a practical journalism major, is not prepared when she first locks eyes with visiting med student, Jason McConnell, at her friend’s wedding. She doesn’t believe in love at first sight, and is shocked when she finds herself its unwilling victim.
Jason refuses to let Melissa hide in the background, inviting her to spend the night with him after stunning her with a single, amazing kiss. He isn’t the only man to notice Melissa, however, and as she succumbs to Jason’s pull, she also becomes the target of a killer.
Jason stays to protect Melissa, making no secret of his affection, or his responsibilities thousands of miles away. As the murderer slowly homes in on his target, it seems that Melissa is destined to lose Jason one way or another, ending their whirlwind romance just as it is beginning.
Honestly, I have no idea what this book is. You call it contemporary romance, but there’s a killer hunting her so is it really romantic suspense? Either way, your pitch is much too staid and boring. It doesn’t read as anything that’s different enough and would grab an agent’s attention. What makes this book different from all of the other books out there? Especially if you are a debut author a hook is crucially important. The first paragraph doesn’t really make much sense. It’s about love at first sight and then suddenly she’s an unwilling victim. If those two things are in the same sentence then somehow we need to see the connection between the two and I don’t. Why does she become the target of a killer? What is happening and why is Jason responsible for protecting her? What does the wedding have to do with any of this other then the fact that they met there?
Jenny Sampson’s experience as a rock goddess in the Denver music scene does nothing to prepare her for life as a domestic goddess in the suburbs of Philly. As Jenny and her family settle into a McMansion in the burbs, her country club lifestyle holds many surprises. Like a beautiful assistant DA interested in a threesome, a wealthy heiress who has eyes for Nate, and a rock club owner who falls hard for Jenny. When her longing for stardom resurfaces, will Jenny be forced to choose between the intoxicating world of rock and roll and life as a suburban doctor’s wife, or, is it possible to have it all?
75,000 words; Women’s Humor Fiction
I LOVE your first sentence. It made me smile right away and is a fabulous example of the use of subtle humor to show your voice. Immediately I get the sense that this book could be hilarious. I also like the second and third sentences. I think they work nicely. The end though sounds okay, but falls a little flat for me and again, I’m not sure if this is an instance of the book needing more or the pitch needing more. Is her entire challenge making the decision between suburban housewife and rockstar? I think I would like to know more, I would like to see a bigger conflict, because I do think the conflict could be bigger here. As this is written though I do suspect you’ll get some great requests from agents. Good work.