Query- Isabella Vampirella (EVIL EDITOR response at end)

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kenpochick
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Query- Isabella Vampirella (EVIL EDITOR response at end)

Post by kenpochick » March 25th, 2010, 4:39 pm

Hello all,
I admit I've been mostly a lurker so I'm throwing myself at your mercy to critique my query.
Thanks in advance!

Dear Agent,

Isabella just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs!

Isabella is eight years old and thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha; a witch, and Jack; a werewolf. After all, she’ll officially be one of the big kids taking classes in one of the towers of the magical school, not having lunch until midnight and getting to play on the huge playground deep in the woods. That is until her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself, the teacher assigns seats and puts Isabella near the back of the class and her obnoxious classmate, Talia de la Nuit, thinks she’s so mature just because she has her fangs.

Isabella is determined to show everyone how grown-up she is -once she gets her fangs too. But soon Betha discovers her magic and Jack finds his howl and Isabella is feeling seriously left behind as everyone seems to be growing up without her. When Isabella finally gets her fangs she discovers they come with a terrible price. A lisp! With the help of her family, Isabella gets the lisp under control before class on Monday and learns that there’s more to growing up then just getting a set of fangs.

ISABELLA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word early middle grade novel aimed at readers of Junie B. Jones and The Magic Tree house series of books who may want something a bit offbeat.

Thank you for your consideration.
Last edited by kenpochick on April 5th, 2010, 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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shadow
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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by shadow » March 25th, 2010, 7:10 pm

Here I go!

Dear Agent,

Isabella just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs! I don't see much reason for an exclamation mark. Also this might turn down some agents because of the vampire fad so if I were writing a vampire novel I would make the hook very original. But otherwise, I wouldn't say it's a horrid hook. gosh I didn't realize that you were writing a childrens book. In that case I like it.

Isabella is eight years old and thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha; a witch, and Jack; a werewolf. After all, she’ll officially be one of the big kids taking classes in one of the towers of the magical school, not having lunch until midnight and getting to play on the huge playground deep in the woods. That sentence does not flow very well.That is until her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself,All of a sudden, why? the teacher assigns seats and puts Isabella near the back of the class and her obnoxious classmate, Talia de la Nuit, thinks she’s so mature just because she has her fangs.

Isabella is determined to show everyone how grown-up she is -once she gets her fangs too. But soon Betha discovers her magic and Jack finds his howl and Isabella is feeling seriously left behind as everyone seems to be growing up without her. I see now that you are trying to address an issue among younger kids but maybe let us know that at the beginning instead of at the end. When Isabella finally gets her fangs she discovers they come with a terrible price. A lisp! With the help of her family, Isabella gets the lisp under control before class on Monday and learns that there’s more to growing up then just getting a set of fangs.

ISABELLA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word early middle grade novel aimed at readers of Junie B. Jones and The Magic Tree house series of books who may want something a bit offbeat.

Thank you for your consideration.

Good Luck!
Last edited by shadow on March 25th, 2010, 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by GeeGee55 » March 25th, 2010, 9:42 pm

I love the title - Isabella Vampirella. I know nothing about queries for kids books, so these are just comments on the sentences/word choice/flow.
kenpochick wrote:Hello all,
I admit I've been mostly a lurker so I'm throwing myself at your mercy to critique my query.
Thanks in advance!

Dear Agent,

Eight-year-old Isabella just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs! - Two reasons to put the eight years up front - gives the reader a clue right away what age group this is for and it makes the next sentence flow much more nicely

She's thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha; a witch, and Jack; a werewolf. After all, she’ll officially be one of the big kids: taking classes in one of the towers of the magical school, not having lunch until midnight and getting to play on the huge playground deep in the woods. That is until her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself, the teacher assigns seats and puts Isabella near the back of the class and her obnoxious classmate, Talia de la Nuit, thinks she’s so mature - rethink this wording, I know it's for kids, but - taunts her or calls her names just because she has her fangs. and leave out the fangs

Isabella is determined to show everyone how grown-up she is -once she gets her fangs too - you used this phrase above twice, once she gets her fangs, and here it is again- I think it's too often. But- cut Soon Betha discovers her magic, Jack finds his howl and Isabella is feeling seriously - cut left behind as everyone seems to be growing up without her. When Isabella finally gets her fangs ok, you can use the fangs here she discovers they come with a terrible price. A lisp! This is cute. With the help of her family, Isabella gets the lisp under control before class on Monday and learns that there’s more to growing up then just getting a set of fangs. (I don't know if you should tell the ending or leave a bit of a surprise.)

ISABELLA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word early middle grade novel aimed at readers of Junie B. Jones and The Magic Tree house series of books who may want something a bit offbeat.

Thank you for your consideration.
This sounds so cute and a good message. I'd buy one for my kids if they were the right age. Good luck with it.

kenpochick
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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by kenpochick » March 26th, 2010, 9:13 am

Thank you so much for the replies guys. I will definitely incorporate those changes.

I was one of those kids that was obsessed with vampires and the like when I was young and my only real option was Bunicula (which was awesome). Now that I have my own kids I've looked around and although vampires are everywhere in young adult and just about every genre of adult books, it's hard to find anything in that kind of realm for young readers. I hope the fact that they're everywhere won't hurt it.

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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by maybegenius » March 26th, 2010, 8:12 pm

Very cute query! I *might* possibly be a little worried about Isabella's name because of Twilight (Bella's full name is Isabella). I think the fact that this is aimed at younger children might save you from that, but just to bring it to your attention. I definitely agree with putting "Eight-year old" in the first sentence, because the way it reads now, it IMMEDIATELY reminded me of Twilight, and you need to separate yourself from that association as soon as possible.

I'm a little concerned about the classification - I think this might be an early reader, instead of early MG? But I'm not positive on that, I would need to look up the age classifications. I believe the general rule is that your book is aimed at kids 1-2 years younger than your protagonist, which would mean this is aimed at children 6-7.

I agree with the changes made by those before me - rework some of the clunkier sentences, watch your word repetition. Other than that, this sounds adorable and I like the query :)
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JustineDell
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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by JustineDell » March 26th, 2010, 11:15 pm

I agree with maybegenius and the others. Make those changes and it's good. I also wanted to point out that my daughter used to be a huge Junie B. Jones fan, and I think (aside from the paranormal aspect), your book really does fall withn those lines a teaching children something like those books do. It's really cute.

Oh, and you could totally call her Mirabella instead of Isabella. That way it still goes with Vampirella.

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Quill
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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by Quill » March 26th, 2010, 11:38 pm

Or you could call her JustinDella.

Just sayin'.

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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by Matthew MacNish » March 27th, 2010, 12:04 am

Bella also mean beautiful (or is it good?) in Italian. I like Justine's suggestion of Mirabella and agree with others that you don't want to get pigeonholed into a Twilight comparison. Despite its commercial success people either love it or hate it but either way it can be quite polarizing.
kenpochick wrote:Hello all,
I admit I've been mostly a lurker so I'm throwing myself at your mercy to critique my query.
Thanks in advance!

Dear Agent,

Isabella just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs! Considering the target audience I think the exclamation point is okay, but I would combine this paragraph with the first sentence from the next.

Eight year old Isabella is eight years old and thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha; a witch, and Jack; a werewolf. Between Harry Potter and Twilight this almost sounds cliche but again, I think your target audience/genre saves you. After all, she’ll officially be one of the big kids taking classes in one of the towers of the magical school the fact that these kinds of people attend a magical school seems obvious, not having lunch until midnight and getting to play on the huge playground deep in the woods. This phrase doesn't connect for me with the first part of the sentence. That is until her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself, the teacher assigns seats and puts Isabella near the back of the class and next to her obnoxious classmate, Talia de la Nuit, who thinks she’s so mature just because she has her fangs.

Isabella is determined to show everyone how grown-up she is -once she gets her fangs too. But soon Betha discovers her magic and Jack finds his howl and Isabella is feeling seriously left behind as everyone seems to be growing up without her. When Isabella finally gets her fangs she discovers they come with a terrible price. A lisp! With the help of her family, Isabella gets the lisp under control before class on Monday and learns that there’s more to growing up then just getting a set of fangs. This paragraph looks pretty good.

ISABELLA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word early middle grade novel aimed at readers of Junie B. Jones and The Magic Tree house series of books who may want something a bit offbeat.

Thank you for your consideration.
My only question is does this really count as a novel? I don't know much about MG but my YA novel has chapters longer than 10k words. Just wondering. I think an earlier commenter might be right about early readers. When I think MG I think of Artemis Fowl and I know those books are longer than that. Anyway this sounds like a fun cute story. The query needs some work but the premise sounds pretty good for the audience.

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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by kenpochick » March 27th, 2010, 8:11 am

Yeah, I wondered if Isabella would get referenced to Twilight. I only picked it because it rhymes. I named her older sister Annabella. I'm hoping that because they call her Bella (in Twilight) so much that maybe Isabella would lose it's Twilight connotation? I may have to change that though.

The Junie B Jones and Magic Tree House books are both between 6,000 and 9,000 words for each book. MG is such a huge range of books! It includes the Junie B Jones books like I said but it also includes Harry Potter! Although I noticed in the stores the areas for these smaller books are called Early Readers or Chapter Books or even Young Readers depending on the bookstore but when they sell them online they're all called MG with an appropriate age next to it. I'm shooting for 5-8 years old. Do you think I should change the category?

LMAO: "JustinDella" :-) Maybe she could have a brother.

Thanks so much for the help!

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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by kenpochick » March 27th, 2010, 8:45 am

Ok. So I just went to a baby name site and found a page with 185 names that ended with -ella. :-)

They also had different spellings for Isabella so the sound would stay the same but it would separate it from THAT Bella. Ysabella or Izabella. I kind of like the Y spelling. What do you think? Is it enough of a difference?

Here are some other options that keep with the 3 syllable -ella theme.
Ariella
Aristella
Barbarella (Ok, not that one but I can't help singing "Electric Barbarella" in my head.)
Claribella
Crystabella
Gabriella
Maricella
Mirabella
Auriella

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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by ljkuhnley » March 27th, 2010, 1:25 pm

My understanding is that Junie B. Jones and the Magic Tree House are chapter books and are usually around 6,000 words. Then there are longer chapter books for slightly older readers such as Captain Underpants, The Dragon Slayer's Academy, and the Supernatural Rubber Chicken which are about 10,000 words. Then there are early middle grade novels such as Clementine and Phineas L. Maguire Erupts. which are 12,000 and 15,000 words, respectively. If you read books from each of these three groups you'll noticed subtle differences between the novels beyond their word counts.

You might also want to check out Verla Kay's forum http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php for more information.

Hope this helps. Good Luck! Your story sounds very cute.

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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by chomsnumnum » March 27th, 2010, 2:54 pm

I'm a children's writer and I think you have a great hook here. There's not much out there in paranormal for this age range, but kids of all ages are attracted to this stuff. Your query has some really good things such as the explanation of the plot and characters. You have some really akward sentences, but I see some other posters have already addressed those.

I would say lose the exclamation point. Life will be perfect once you finally.... That's a strong statement that doesn't require an exclamation point. You don't want an agent thinking that they're going to be reading a MS peppered with weak writing and a lot of exclamation points.

I wasn't terribly worried about your word count at 10,000. Junie B Jones, etc. are considered Chapter Books. I get mixed reviews about the marketablity of Chapter Books but you might have more of a Middle Grade. Your MC might be a bit older say 10. Eight is kindof a strange transition age, Ten going into double digits 5th grade being top of the lower school. But as for your query, you've got a good start, just clean it up.

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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by JustineDell » March 27th, 2010, 4:26 pm

Quill wrote:Or you could call her JustinDella.

Just sayin'.
Okay, I totally vote for this one. LoL ;-)

~JD

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"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella

Post by kenpochick » March 27th, 2010, 4:32 pm

Thanks for the resource. I'm definitely going to check that out.

I've gotten some great suggestions so I'm going to clean it up. I have had trouble finding a genre. There's very little difference between young adult and adult but when you look at the differences between 5-12 years old both in reading ability and maturity there is an enormous difference. I really want to keep it towards the young and innocent side. :-) Plus the genres don't stay consistent with kids it seems either. In one spot I'll see Captain Underpants as a young reader but so is Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Then in others one is a young reader and the other is a chapter book.

Would it be too vague to simply call it a children's book and indicate the ages I'm targeting?

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Re: Query- Isabella Vampirella REVISED

Post by kenpochick » March 28th, 2010, 8:29 am

Ok, I changed the spelling of Isabella to get away from the Twilight connotation. I changed the wording and I also added in that this is the first in a planned series. I know you only query one book at a time but I've also heard that kids books are a hard sell without them being in a series. (In case you're curious the second book has a new family moving into town, a ghost who's been adopted by family of mummies.) I also changed the category from early MG to a chapter book. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!


Dear Agent,

Eight year old Ysabela just knows her life will be perfect once she finally gets her fangs!

She’s thrilled to be starting the third grade with her friends Betha, a witch, and Jack, a werewolf. After all, she’ll officially be one of the big kids taking classes in one of the towers of the magical school deep in the woods. She’s thrilled that is until her parents don’t let her walk to school by herself, the teacher assigns seats and puts Isabella near the back of the class right next to her obnoxious classmate, Talia de la Nuit, who thinks she’s so mature just because she has her fangs.

Ysabela is determined to show everyone how grown-up she is. Soon Betha discovers her magic, Jack finds his howl and Ysabela is left behind as everyone seems to be growing up without her. When Ysabela finally gets her fangs she discovers they come with a terrible price. A lisp! With the help of her family, Ysabela gets the lisp under control before class on Monday and learns that there’s more to growing up then just getting a set of fangs.

YSABELA VAMPIRELLA GETS HER FANGS is a 10,000 word chapter book aimed at readers of Junie B. Jones and The Magic Tree house series of books who may want something a bit offbeat but aren’t quite ready for Goosebumps. This is the first book in a planned series.

Thank you for your consideration.

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