Thursday, August 09, 2007

SCBWI Conference Notes-Series Proposals

It seems as if I'm always apologizing around here, mostly for being such an intermittent blogger. In fact, I was thinking that I would have to just give up and go on hiatus until after I got my mss turned in on September 1, but then I went to the SCBWI conference and realized I have tons of great notes to share. Hopefully that will make up for my lackadaisical blogging habits. Which will get much better come Fall, I promise. Plus, I am doing a large portion of my blogging on the Theodosia site, as well as over at Shrinking Violets.

Anywhoo...

I was one of the lucky few who was able to get in to Bonnie Bader's (Editorial Director Grosset & Dunlap) Creating The Series two part breakout session. She was hugely generous in the information she shared with us, so I in turn will share it with you. She listened to everyone's hooks/pitches, and handed out a number of successful series proposals that had sold, so there was tons of great, concrete information.

What Makes a Good Proposal

1. A strong, succinct logline - boil the premise of the series down to three sentences, making sure to include the hook. Bonnie really emphasized this hook concept. The hook/logline really needs to be fresh and different, a unique twist on stuff they see all the time.

2. A strong, succinct one page overview of the story. A synopsis that clarifies the arc of the series and the protagonists journey. Make sure any unifying elements for the series books are emphasized. Note: You can have different protagonists in each book, you just need to be sure and stress the unifying themes/elements in the proposal.

3. Character Breakdown - A one paragraph description of each of the main characters (protagonist, best friend, the foil, the love interest, the antagonist, etc.) Be unique and creative by using distinctive choices for your characters that help them stand out from all the others that cross their desks.

4. A half page synopsis each of the first three books and a smaller blurb for "possible follow ups."

5. Three sample chapters - the first three chapters of the first book, preferably.

6. Marketing Pitch (Optional) - info that can show the editor why this series will sell. This is NOT a "my book is the next Harry Potter" type hard sell, but a comparison to other similar books in the market place that is working and why yours is different and what hole or niche your series is filling.

Next up, brilliant ways to put the internet to work for you by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

2 comments:

a. fortis said...

Thanks for sharing this, Robin! Wish I could have gone to the conference this year. I was really hoping to.

I love the blog redesign--I guess I haven't been by in a while. I remember looking at this one when we were redesigning Finding Wonderland and seriously considering it!!

Robin L said...

Sorry you missed the conference, a. It would have been fun to meet you!

And yes, I adore this blog template! Makes me very happy every time I look at it.