Pitch Your Book to Life Contest: Final Round of Feedback

Hi everyone, this is Jamie, Lisa just sent me feedback for these 17 entries. To give these people a chance to revise, we are extending the deadline for entries / revisions to tomorrow, April 16 at Midnight, and extending the voting period to the 17th. Contact me at [email protected] with any questions.

To submit revisions either: e-mail me at [email protected] or submit through the contest entry form. Vote here.

Entry 1

Teen to Middle Aged: 8 Phases (or stages) of a Woman’s Life and How to Be Happy through Each by Amy Holley

Do you know what you want to be “when you grow up”? This book will walk through the different stages of a woman’s life: teen, young adult, wife, mother, go-to girl, career woman, mother of teens and finally empty nester. Basically it will show how a woman may not really discover who she is until after her children are grown. So much of our lives as women is spent on pleasing others, taking care of others and focusing on others that we tend to lose who we are, who we’re meant to be or who we want to be. But along that journey, it IS possible to be happy in each of those life phases through maturing, choosing your battles, communication and seeing life through positive eyes. It covers topics such as staying married instead of divorcing, raising happy children, being happy with whatever weight you are, battling through depression and financial issues and chasing dreams despite fear of failure. Happiness is a choice, love is a decision and life is on purpose.

Is this book for a teen to middle aged audience? If so, I’d suggest picking a more narrow niche to focus on. It will be hard to sell a book that ‘s so broad.  Even though others will read the book, it’s best to zero in on a core market. If it’s too broad, no one knows it’s for them. Plus it’s harder to connect with such a broad range.

Entry 2

Tree Love: Heart of the Forest by Elisa Novick

Walking down a mossy forest path I was met by a powerful wave of love emanating from a magnificent oak. So began a fascinating multidimensional odyssey spanning 10 years, as a small patch of forest became my happiest place in the universe and a place for healing and awakening for many. Each tree has a unique personality and gifts to bestow and holds keys for the survival and thriving of the earth. My hope is that when people read my account of the amazing experiences I and people who have attended my Tree Love: Heart of the Forest workshops have had, as well as my actual discussions with the trees themselves, they will act to nourish and protect our forests. Not only the other half of our lungs, they may be the other half of our hearts. This book will appeal to people who enjoy amazing stories about spirituality and the healer’s journey, activists concerned with the sustainability of life on earth, nature lovers, and anyone who has ever sought solace and peace from their favorite tree or a walk in the woods.

This sounds like an inspiring read. Is it memoir or how-to? I would be clear and also clarify your core market of readers.

Entry 3

HayWire! How 26 Rescue Horses, 12 Dogs, 10 Cats, 2 Cows, And A Pig Taught Me Humanity by Nancy Raven Smith

A true love story that involves more than one man and one woman. Imagine Marley and Me, not with one dog, but with 26 rescue horses, 12 dogs, 10 cats, 2 cows and a pig, plus 3 suburban teenagers. When a 26 year old computer nerd from the city embarks on a new marriage, he’s unexpectedly propelled on a journey of self discovery as his bride’s crazy farm animals teach him about life and love.

Sounds like it could be very funny. For memoir, key will be excellent writing (humor helps!) and working on developing a platform. If you don’t blog, I would recommend starting a blog to develop an audience.

Entry 4

There’s a Seeker Born Every Minute by Lisa Noel Abend

Are you a spiritual seeker? If so, what are you looking for, how will you know when you find it, and what happens after you do? In this fun and practical how-to guide, you’ll hear the stories of spiritual seekers just like yourself; spiritual life coach Lisa Abend helps light the way to finding your own unique spiritual path. Every chapter includes coaching exercises to help you access your inner wisdom, and discover your own answers.

I love the fun title. I’d like to see a subtitle that is clear about benefits readers may expect from the book.

Entry 5

Stripping Down: The Dressing Room Approach to Shopping for Men by Julie Robinson

Instead of talking yourself into buying that so-so blouse because it is so incredibly cheap and talking yourself out of buying that perfect coat because it’s too expensive, imagine how your life would improve if your mantra was–“You can’t buy it unless you absolutely love it . . . and DON’T go looking at the price tag!” Many of us do the same things with men—if they fit into our “budget” plans (i.e. they’re easy enough, willing enough, rich enough, nice enough) they get taken home in a shopping bag. Have you ever thought what would happen if you simply tried men on for size to see who fits and who doesn’t? _Stripping Down_ guides women through the process of knowing where to go, what to look for, and who to avoid when shopping for only those men who make us look and feel fabulous. After years of squeezing, squirming, and squishing into the official good girl mold touted by all sorts of self-help dating experts, Julie now advises women how to date men on their own terms at the What? Not! Blog. A self-described cross between Bridget and Samantha Jones–this midlife single girl gives her readers tools for dating boldly while maintaining a certain amount of grace.

This sounds light hearted, fun and practical. Have you written a detailed outline? In some ways, to me it seems like more of an article than a book, but if you have a detailed outline you’ll know. Dating books are a very competitive category, so excellent writing and a very significant national platform (following) will be important if you want to get a traditional publisher. Great that you are blogging.

Entry 6

The sacred Art of Caregiving by Lucy Andrews

Are you overwhelmed caring for a loved one, are you exhausted by helping your aging parent while trying to managing your own life? The Sacred Art of Caregiving can help you find the miracles in the mundane, the sacred in the everyday and your way along the path as you care for your parent, partner or loved one by following these steps to sanity and success as a family caregiver. Turn tasks into joy and make memories that will last your entire life as you get and give the greatest gift by being a caregiver for someone you love.

This sounds inspiring from the title. I wonder if a specific subtitle (benefits based?) might help make it even clearer why a caregiver would want to read the book and what they can expect to get out of it. If you write a proposal, be sure to specify the exact market and size of that market.

Entry 7

Un-Procrastinate – Activate Your Purpose and Become an Unstoppable Force for Accelerated Action by Neshika Bell

This book is for anyone who wants do, but doesn’t; anyone who has talked about doing, but didn’t; and especially for those who have started to do, but stopped…and started…and stopped, and want to start – period. Fear, self doubt, being overwhelmed, perfectionism and poor time management have all been cited as reasons for procrastination. But Un-Procrastination Coach, Neshika Bell, proves otherwise: that they’re merely the symptoms; and until you deal with the cause, your symptoms will always overpower your actions. ‘Un-Procrastinate’ examines the most common symptoms, gets to the root cause of procrastination, shares all the powerful exercises, tools and affirmations that Neshika (once a chronic procrastinator herself) created and used to become a force for accelerated action, as well as all the insights gained through the process. If your life is stuck on stop, ‘Un-Procrastinate’ promises to be your coach and companion in kick starting it and catapulting you into action.

I like the energy of this–and it sounds like you’ll have powerful examples from personal stories (possibly disguised to protect people’s identities). A double-negative can be a hard sell (un-procrastinate). The subtitle, while it has some exciting words, is a bit long and maybe could be more specific about expected benefits. I would also do some research to see how this book compares to other books on this topic and be clear in your pitch what makes it fresh.

Entry 8

ART OF THE JOURNEY: The Healing Of A Lifetime by Rush Cole

Although life-long artist, Rush Cole, is a consumate professional at creating beautiful images of the world around her, depicting the inner visions that had always haunted her was another matter. “ART OF THE JOURNEY: The Healing Of A Lifetime” is Cole’s personal true story, told in vivid pictures and words, of a childhood filled with every kind of abuse. Begun in pain and darkness, Rush’s journey unfolds and gradually leads the reader into the brilliant light of healthy self-esteem and joyful living. The final painting, a self-portrait of the artist/author, is accompanied by inspiring words of hope for the evolving future of all humanity: Not only is healing from childhood abuse and neglect possible, once the process is begun, wholeness is inevitable.

This sounds like an inspiring book with a cathartic/transcendent element (through the art, in particular). It can be hard to get a publisher for a book with artwork due to the higher costs involved. If you have trouble finding a publisher, consider a kickstarter campaign, authr.com or another crowdfunding option.

Entry 9

Pocketful of Posies (searching for happiness and finding joy) by Sally Green

I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. There have been many times where I have felt overwhelmed by the circumstances occurring in my life. My book will include tips for keeping everything organized. In difficult times, I have found that if I look for blessings, especially when I believe there aren’t any, my whole attitude shifts. My book will reflect my desire to look for the good in any situation. I will share the tools I have discovered that instantly changes my perspective and encourage readers to live with an attitude of gratitude that will bring joy to their life. ( I am a small business owner, freelance writer and lay minister.)

It’s not quite clear from the pitch whether this is memoir or how-to book. I also am a little confused by the theme (tips for keeping organized vs. shifting one’s attitude and finding blessings). The concept needs to be a clarified a bit.  I’d like to see a fresher subtitle–something that draws readers and doesn’t sound too much like something we’re heard before. Some of the language in the pitch may be appropriate for your subtitle or even title (along the lines of how to find blessings where you can’t first see them–but something more pithy) could help. Your stories could be very inspirational. Perhaps you might try publishing one or two in a chicken soup anthology as a way to “break in” to publishing.

Entry 10

Power in the Common Place
by Brandon Copeland

Power in the Common Place is a book meant for those who endevour to empower themselves, and have a POSITIVE influence on the ones around them. It will teach you how to first; indentify your own shortcomings and correct them, for you are THE ONLY person who can hinder your own success in life. It will then give a mental web diagram of maneuvers to build your confidence and the confidence of those around you. Finally, and most importantly it will inspire your heart, stir your soul, and create an urge to not only recommend this book to all of your peers but also minister its contents into the lives of those who are falling by the waste side in life.

I think yours is a theme whose time has come. Clarify why you are the person to write this particular book. You will likely need to develop a following/platform, possibly through blogging and other social media. A subtitle that clarifies audience, problem, solution would be of benefit. 

Entry 11

Stop climbing someone else’s ladder…RISK being happy! by Jeannie Denuo

Job satisfaction surveys show that as many as 85% of people are not happy in their jobs—and these aren’t just people in low-level, dead-end jobs, these are high-level, successful individuals too! Meet Jeannie Denuo, a woman who was on a fast track to success working in marketing. By conventional standards, she had it all. The problem was, with each step up the ladder and increase in pay she found herself less happy. Once on the board’s succession plan to be CEO of her division, she made a decision to leave the corporate world and pursue happiness on her terms. Read the story of Jeannie’s transition to her right livelihood and wildly fulfilling life. Be inspired by the stories of others who have also redefined success from traditional measures. As an unhappy corporate success you can continue to climb a ladder chasing titles, money, and things and end your days feeling empty or you can stop. Do the exercises in this book and figure out what matters most to you and let that drive your success. Find the courage to stop climbing someone else’s ladder and RISK being happy.

I assume this is a how-to book with some memoir element, but it’s not 100% clear. When pitching, clarify who the audience is. I like the image of climbing someone else’s ladder and I also like that it refers to corporate ladder, but I’m not sure it’s a title that will sell books. Perhaps it is a great chapter title. I like the provocativeness of the word “RISK” but the full phrase, “Risk being happy” may still not be fresh enough. I think a more targeted/focused title might make it easier to sell this book. However, your sense of humor and use of images in the title are all good instincts.

Entry 12

Soul Birth: Navigating Life’s Labor Pains by Jennifer Summerfeldt

You know how life can slap you in the face so hard, and you find yourself on your knees in prayer and confusion, because the internal pain and chaos is too much to bare alone? For some, as it was for me, this is a foreign place to be; navigating this terrain takes courage, discipline, and deep trust. What this book offers is a road-map, applying the unique metaphor of instinctive birth and midwifery, to better understand how to navigate the dark emotions of grief, despair, and depression. This book takes the reader on a journey into the inner world of transformation and ‘pain with purpose'; inviting one to become inspired about his/her experience of a soul-birth.

This metaphor will appeal to a very specific niche of women, which can be a good thing. I like the idea of “Soul Birth.” Some may find the subtitle unclear, although I think it would be clear to a very specific audience.

Entry 13

Recipes for Change: Your Anti-Inflammatory Guide to the 21st Century by Kimberley Barker

Never before in our history have we had so many choices about the food we eat, fabrics we wear, and products we use to clean our bodies and our homes. Life in the twenty-first century is a chemical and biological experiment – and our bodies are the subjects. Too many of us rely on coffee, processed foods, chemical additives, and pharmaceutical drugs as our daily fuel, and the results to our bodies can be catastrophic, increasing chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. “Recipes For Change” is an owner’s manual, a workbook to help regular people change the way they eat, shop, cook, and live. From farmer’s markets and Community Supported Agriculture, to chemical-free home and body products, to educating our youth about the choices they make, and recipes to make these changes easier, this book covers simple yet effective ways to help anyone change their diet and change their life for the better. As a Nutritional Therapist I am the perfect author for this book, as I personally lived and then successfully beat the sugar addicted lifestyle. I’ve seen first-hand the toll that an inflammatory diet takes on the health of both my own and many clients’ minds, bodies, and families.

There is a real need for this type of book and I like the idea that you have both dietary suggestions, but also lifestyle changes as well. The title requires readers to know that their problem (overweight, tired or sick) is caused by inflammation. Otherwise, they are not likely to even pick up the book. You may need to get more at their problems and the solutions they are looking for–unless you are looking to write for an audience that’s already convinced that inflammation is their problem and they want change. 

Entry 14

The Proverbs of Lisa Gore by Lisa Gore

I love words and proverbs are one of my favorite because they are wise sayings or precepts that can change a persons life for the better. My book is full of proverbs and many things that I have learned over the course of my colorful life. Although my book will be dedicated to my son, my hope is that everyone who reads it will be able to grab something, hold on to it, and forever be changed!

This sounds like it could be fun, practical and a quick read. It all depends on the proverbs. Will you share one or two as a comment to this post? That would help us get a sense of how fresh they are. 

Entry 15

I Have Loved You 4000 Years – One Soul’s Journey through Past Life Regression by Karen Kubicko

My soul survived a dark energy blast in Atlantis, entrapment in the Scottish Highlands, hanging for witchcraft in Virginia, drowning in the Johnstown flood, gunfire from a New York mobster and burning alive during a World War II bombing in Eastern Europe. Yet, I am still here – again. My book, I Have Loved You 4000 Years – One Soul’s Journey through Past Life Regression, is an account of sixteen of my past lives and the emotional, spiritual and physical healing that transpired. This non-fiction book, written for the Mind/Body/Spirit genre, is the true account of my soul’s journey through life, death and going into the light. www. karenkubicko. com

There is a niche market for books about past lives–and it sounds like you include some interesting stories. You’ll need to demonstrate how your book is different from other similar books, that you have a following and I’d like a bit more of a sense of what readers may gain.

Entry 16

How To Be A Starry-Eyed Pragmatist by Leila Fanner

Take the creative and spiritual intuitiveness of Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way and blend it with the practical simplicity of Getting Things Done by David Allen and you are getting an idea of what ‘How To Be A Starry-eyed Pragmatist’ is about. High level corporate director, turned successful mompreneur artist, Leila Fanner, unravels why the Law Of Attraction isn’t working for you and shows you how – utilizing the creative paradox of being both pragmatic and starry-eyed, you are all you really need to succeed.

I like the premise. Subtitle will need to capture who the audience is and that this book is going to help them solve their problem or meet their goals. Getting a bit more clear on niche may be helpful, unless you have a large following (or plan to self-publish).

Entry 17

Have You Seen Me? by Gael Johnson

The book is a compilation of my jack missing journal, emails to and from friends and strangers and the support that overwhelmed me, my hope, my fear, my after thoughts….the overall process.The process was about faith, hope and the power of prayer. It was about learning to trust and that we get what we need in unexpected and unusual ways.  It is about the kindness of strangers and how that can change your life and alter your perceptions.  People need to understand the concept of God (and the Universe) hearing what is in our hearts and answering our prayers with what is best for us, not necessarily exactly what we think we want or need. But mostly, it is the story of an amazing cat and what my relationship with him brought me and taught me.

Hi Gael, It took me a while to figure out what “Jack missing journal” meant. I’d be clearer up front–I’m assuming it’s about losing your cat, your experiences with your cat and the faith that came out of those experiences. 

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Comments

  1. says

    (Thank You So Much!!!)
    Entry 14

    The Proverbs of Lisa Gore by Lisa Gore

    *Just because it seems to make you happy doesn’t mean its right! Just because it feels good that doesn’t always mean it’s good for you. Learn from your mistakes, don’t just keep repeating them.
    *Please understand that when you begin to protect your heart by setting certain boundaries people will back away and flee from the relationship. But know this; the ones that love you and want only the best for you will remain!

  2. says

    Thank you for your comments, Lisa. It’s definitely fun to enter a contest regarding a pitch for my book. I’ve been working hard at building my platform–my blog hit 25,000 total hits today, in fact–and now it’s time to really nail down this pitch and get my proposal written so I can submit queries to agents.

    Your blog and this contest are invaluable. Thank you so much!

  3. says

    Julie, that is so exciting. You are building that platform! And Leili, you can build it one step at a time. A blog is a great foundation, as Julie can attest to.

  4. Gael Johnson says

    Thanks Lisa – I resubmitted my pitch but I guess you gave feedback on my original. I hope the resubmission made it clearer!

  5. Lisa Tener says

    Here is Gael’s longer submission:

    This story is about the relationship of a beautiful Bengal Cat named Jack and the love and devotion he shared with his human mother (Me, Gayle) and the search for him when he disappeared. It expresses the experience of our connection and the kindness that surmounted during the time he was missing. The love and support from perfect strangers overwhelmed me and needless to say helped me through this exhausting and life changing ordeal. I kept a journal the entire time (7 months plus) he was missing – noting the calls and my continuous efforts of searching…I saved every email sent about possible sightings and those sent simply with comfort and prayer. I owe it to the multitude of people who supported me to share this incredible story and to provide hope to those who need to know that our prayers are heard and answered in ways beyond our depth of understanding. It will include reflections and musings on such topics of faith and hope, and the experiences that surfaced for me during this enormous and life changing search. This book is my Thank You to all who responded to my flyer “Have You Seen Me.”

    Gayle, I think Cat lovers, especially, will enjoy this type of book. Your pitch certainly makes me curious about how this changed your life. I like the simplicity of the title, but it almost sounds like a children’s book. Perhaps a subtitle can help make it sound more adult and explain more what it is.

  6. says

    Thanks, for the feedback,Lisa!
    Just to be clear, would you totally walk away from “Stop climbing someone else’s ladder” or do you think the subtitle could fix the clarity issue?

  7. Lisa Tener says

    Jeannie, negative titles do not generally sell well. It’s a great chapter title and a good pr hook. Often the title will be more clear as you complete the book–so keep thinking, but don’t feel pressure. It’s fine for a working title.

  8. Brandon Copeland says

    This is the resubmission of “Power in the Common Place” by Brandon Copeland

    Dear Reader,

    “Power in the Common Place” is a testimony of ideas, emperical tactics, and self montivating verses, that I have found to be both effective, and spiritually refreashing through having to find my own place in life, observing the lives of those I have known personaly, and studying our world in general. This book is for those who feel powerless over themselves and their life, and feel as if they are the destined underdog in life. I believe these are the reasons depression, suicide, and extremely violent crimes of people “lashing out”, such as school shootings, are on the rise. This book will give you the motivating nourishment, the quenching of your thirst for confidence, and the neccesary “Knowlegde of strategy”, to claim your happiness, and maintain your world so you will NEVER feel desolate again.

    Love and regards,

    Brandon Copeland


    With God Life if always a Blessing

    • Lisa Tener says

      Brandon, this sounds like a clear audience from your pitch, but the title does not necessarily make clear who the book is for. Perhaps the subtitle can help with that. Your articulation of the benefits is inspiring–perhaps the subtitle can capture some of that.

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