Cover Reveal: PRINCESSES CAN FIX IT! + Giveaway
Nov. 5, 2020
Princesses Margaret, Harriet and Lila want to do more than just draw, play music, and make jewelry - but the King doesn't think proper princesses should build, invent, or experiment. When the Princesses keep falling asleep during the day, the Prince is sent to investigate. But the King doesn't believe what he sees: in a secret workshop, the Princesses are hard at work using the six simple machines to build an ingenious contraption that will send the alligators back to the moat!
This STEAM-focused take on the classic fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses includes fun illustrations bursting with hilarious detail (and alligators), zany characters, and three inspiring princesses who don't just think they can save the castle. They know they can.
Let's take another look at this fun cover, illustration by Julia Christians, designed by Melia Parsloe:
Mini Q & A for Tracy
Tell us what inspired this book.
I have always loved the fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The idea that these women would have a secret dance party every night to the point that they needed new shoes every morning sounded wonderful (if you ignore the goblin part, that is!) So when I was talking to another writer about ways to concept or brainstorm new picture book ideas, I mentioned fractured fairy tales. I said something akin to - "So like, if you turned the Twelve Dancing Princesses into the Twelve Building Princesses - no wait, I want to write that one!"
You wear a few hats, author and agent. How do each of these roles affect your other job?
I love working as both an agent and an author, and I think my work in one area naturally strengthens the work in the other. As an agent, I'm constantly hearing feedback about what's working (or not) in the children's marketplace from editors and art directors, and that definitely influences the way I think about my own projects as an author.
And I think being a children's author myself helps make me a more empathetic agent. I know exactly how it feels when that submission goes to boards but doesn't make it - and while I think all agents feel the disappointment when something doesn't go well on behalf of their clients (I mean, we love those books too - otherwise we wouldn't rep them!), I think it does help that when I'm commiserating with a client, I can truly say "I know how disappointing this is" from the author standpoint. And it also helps me when I think about what to do next - how we're going to brush ourselves off, and keep going!
As an agent, what is the biggest mistake you see in submissions? What makes you excited about a submission?
The biggest mistake I see in submissions is query letters that haven't been reviewed by critique partners or writers groups. For picture books, I tend to go right to the manuscript and your pitch only needs to be two or three lines (along with an author bio). But for novels, I really need to feel like there's something in this book that I haven't seen before - and that the project is polished as it can be. So when I read a query letter and still don't actually know what the book is about or what the protagonist is going to do to get what they want, then I'm immediately concerned that the manuscript itself isn't quite ready.
While I'm currently closed to submissions, when I am open to queries, I'm always excited to see projects in my inbox that are polished, professional and feel like they'd complement (but not directly compete) with a project on my list! (You can see my currently published client books at https://tracymarchini.com/client-books/ and also check out the blog for updates about books that have recently sold and been announced.)
I love illustration that has the feel of fine art but still fits seamlessly into the children's market. I love quirky, clever books. Books about the sciences. Middle grades about family and friendship with just a touch of some sort of magic (and maybe it's figurative magic - like a set of characters that I wish I'd been friends with myself in middle school). Books for children that delve into the harder side of life with empathy and hope. Author-illustrator projects that really make the most of the juxtaposition possible between art and text. Some things specifically for when I reopen to queries - I'm still looking for more LGBT+ picture books and middle grade for my list, I'd love to see more books with non-traditional family structures, I'm not afraid of picture books where characters are eaten, I am always looking for more BIPOC representation on my list, I love chapter books and graphic novels (particularly from author-illustrators) - but for the most part it's a gut feeling. What makes me excited is when I read something and I think "THIS is a book I can't let go of."
Thank you, Tracy!
Tracy Marchini is thrilled to spend most of her time immersed in children's books as both a Literary Agent and author. Her debut picture book, Chicken Wants a Nap, received a starred review from Kirkus and was a 2019 Bridge to Reading Picture Book nominee. She holds an M.F.A in Writing for Children from Simmons College and a B.A. in English from Binghamton University.
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