In review, this was my pitch:
When Brian finds a box in the attic containing old newspaper clippings and a signet ring just like his grandfather’s, he realizes he’s stumbled across the family secret: Jack. Although Grandpa Jim has good reason to forget his identical twin, the past will continue to haunt him unless Brian can uncover what really happened.
JIM AND JACK is a YA contemporary with a historical twist and a splash of romance, the completed first novel in an outlined series of History Mysteries.
Well, I was passed on, but not in a bad way. The agent’s response was:
The conflict in this book feels too removed from the main character to make it seem exciting or dramatic. How can you bring the story into the forefront more? This isn’t quite historical, but it’s not quite contemporary either, so there’s a bit of a market problem.
Alas, she was right. Jack is actually the protagonist, and half of the book, including the first page, takes place in 1929 (landing the novel pretty squarely in the historical market), but I didn’t mention those things in the pitch.
While the results weren’t what I had hoped for, entering this contest was a productive experience. It didn’t net me an agent, but writing the pitch was time well spent. Her response resulted in my considering a new angle for my query letter, which will hopefully result in more requests.
Anyone know a good literary agent? 🙂