Happy New Year’s Eve! I hope everyone has been able to take some time off and enjoy a holiday vacation. I know I’m happy to report that I’ve enjoyed vacation and been very productive at the same time.
If Halli Montgomery hadn’t disobeyed her father, she wouldn’t be dangling from a cross a decade later. But running out of time had her taking chances. If she didn’t get down soon, she’d have to wait two years to be free. Not from the rusted nail that had her bound but from the curse that left her unable to love.
This is an example of a pitch that is potentially intriguing, but in the end far too vague. You hint at a lot of information like her father, the cross, time running out, but give us nothing concrete on what this all means. I think we need to know why she’s hanging on the cross and what happens when time is running out. More importantly though I have no sense from this pitch whether this book is contemporary, historical, paranormal or futuristic. I can figure from her name that it’s not historical and probably not fantasy, but is it contemporary or paranormal?
Some Kind of Normal (literary fiction)
All that stands between her daughter’s life and death is a tenth grade education, a zealous group of Baptist ladies, and 1.8 million Google hits.
Babs’ days, once full of grit-making and house-cleaning, just got a lot harder. Her husband’s growing away from her, her son is suddenly sporting a rainbow colored Mohawk, and her twelve-year-old daughter is on the brink of death. After Ashley faints and seizes in front of her, Babs embarks on a seemingly impossible journey: establishing some kind of normal life around her daughter’s volatile diabetes while not losing her husband, son, and overbearing but well-meaning friends in the process.
But when Ashley develops a rare allergy to insulin – the only medicine that can keep her alive – Babs has to overcome her high-school-drop-out education to find a cure the doctors say isn’t there. In a frantic rush against the clock and Ashley’s quickly dwindling days, Babs turns to the Internet. The answer she discovers is the one no one wants to hear: a risky stem cell operation that pits her against her husband, her faith, and the conservative church that’s been their biggest support.
This is one instance where at first glance this pitch is far too long. This is almost a full page. It seems to me that you have a lot of repetition here. Your second paragraph is really just an introductory version of what your first and third paragraphs are. You need to get to the heart of the story faster. I like your opening paragraph. This is clearly a tagline and not a pitch, but does grab the reader’s attention. I don’t know that it’s necessary, but it does work. And then the heart of the pitch is really the third paragraph. “When Bab’s teenage daughter Ashley develops….” That’s your book and your hook. What is really, in my estimation, going to grab an agent’s attention is your last sentence. That’s the conflict and the heart of your story.
Some things you can never forget: the touch of your mother’s hand on your hair, the smell of your father’s hug, your first kiss. The time you tried to fly and everyone mistook it for a suicide attempt, or trying to walk on water and nearly drowning. The day you found out your little brother is dying. Some things stay imprinted on your memory forever – the day your life changed.
Riley Kimball’s life has changed. Her twelve year old brother has leukemia and is dying.
Water Walker is a story about family and self-discovery. It is the story of Riley Kimball’s freshman year of high school, of her struggle to understand what is happening to her brother and to rediscover a sense of normalcy in her life. As her friendships crumble, her brother’s health continues to decline. But even in the darkness that surrounds her, Riley finds hope and strength in unexpected places: a renewed relationship with her older sister, the encouraging words of a jock football coach, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and most unexpectedly, from within herself.
What’s interesting here is that you have an overly long pitch that really tells me nothing and I think that should really show people that more words don’t mean a better or stronger pitch. The only line that works is the second paragraph. It’s the lead in to what’s really going on. From your first paragraph I would gather that this is a paranormal or YA Fantasy about a girl learning to harness her powers, but then we get farther in, it really seems to be about a girl who is struggling with the eventual death of her brother. In other words, what is this book really about? Avoid the line, “Water Walker is the story about family and self-discovery.” That says absolutely nothing. I would say 90% of all young adult books are about self-discovery. No one buys a book because it’s about family. They buy a book for plot and character. Get specific here. What about her brother dying is changing her life forever? What exactly is happening in this book?
Nephilim, an ancient Biblical race. Children born of the union between the Fallen Ones and the Daughters of Man.
Pandora, half-demon, half-human; born to be bad, but desperate to be good. Possessed by the demoness Lust, she lives in a world of shadow and light and walks the gray in between. For thousands of years she did as she wanted, killed as she wanted; indulged herself in every carnal whim. But now Pandora wants to find some meaning in her life. Problem is even when she tries to be good evil finds her anyway. Vamps have overtaken the city, children are missing and an ancient god has come to life.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, she also has a Grimoran on her tail. Very little is known of the Grimoran, other than their sole purpose in life is to seek out the Nephilim and destroy them. And now one has tagged her. Named Billy, he’s all that’s dangerous, dark, and deadly and arouses every wicked instinct inside her. And yet whenever he has the chance to kill her, he doesn’t. Can she trust him? Her body and heart say yes, but something evil this way comes. Who can she trust? Or is it already too late?
This is another example of a pitch that has an awful lot of words, but doesn’t say much at all. You are telling me who Pandora is and what is happening to her, but I really don’t get a sense of what this book is about. Is the entire book simply about her searching for meaning in her life while being chased by Billy? Because that sounds a little on the boring side to me. I need more specifics on what is going on. Why she’s being chased and what happens during the chase. I also need a better sense, through the story, of what makes this book different from others because it really doesn’t stand out to me.
Nicholas is a hard-ass angel with one weakness, Noelle Spencer, who has been his charge since her birth. He’ll fight to the death to keep her safe from the demon world. He has more at stake than fighting demons when he learns the woman he loves has the blood of the Deities running through her veins. Divine blood the rogue demons want to infuse into their next generation of demons. Now Nicholas must face the ultimate test, as legions of demons want to claim her as their queen. If he fails, not only will he lose Noelle, but the balance between angels and demons—good vs. evil—will be turned upside down, ending in disaster.
I think you have a lot of potential here, but it just doesn’t have the oomph it needs to stand out. I like the idea of the hard-ass angel, but show us a little more how he’s so tough. And I like the idea that she is now wanted by the demons, but I think we need a lot more detail on what exactly is going on and, again, how this book stands out from all other paranormal romances. I love the use of claiming her as the queen. I think that’s such a good hook it makes me think your title should be something like The Demon Queen. Now we need to know a little about how she plays into this and whether she knows that Nicholas is her angel. “As a tough guardian angel, Nicholas has one job and that’s to protect Noelle Spencer, a no-nonesense human with no knowledge of his existence. That is until it’s discovered that Noelle is no normal woman, she has the blood of the Deities running through her and the demons (explain who they are) see her as their queen…”