I circulated my pitch for The Adventures of Miss Maybelle to several friends and acquaintances whose opinions I respect. I specifically did NOT send it to other writers or bloggers. I selected people all but two of whom were in my target audience and who, I believed, would be honest about their opinions.
The specific feedback I received about the pitch itself was helpful, and I've overhauled it accordingly. It is amazing how some words or phrases can have negative overtones or resonance of which the writer can be unaware. What is more, certain expressions or literary references I think need no explanation are evidently not as universally known and/or accepted as I thought. Glad I checked that out!
That is why feedback is important.
My friends all reacted very negatively to the parts of the pitch involving the genre and the target audience (which the guidelines for ABNA say the pitch should include). That is not surprising because none of them are in the publishing business. I was gratified that each of the "target" group made positive comments about the story line itself. Most of them said they would read it; a couple said they thought it had merit even if it wasn't the kind of book they generally read. That tells me that I'm on the right track with a story that can connect with its intended readers.
Not surprisingly, the two women outside the target group were the least enthusiastic. One said she'd want to know more before determining whether or not she would want to read it. My daughter made a face and said, "EW! Who'd want to read a book about a 75-year-old lady??" I did, after all, pick people I expected to be honest!
I think it's a good story. I've spent months overhauling my pitch. One more pass through the manuscript and I'll be ready for ABNA. If I don't make the cut, at least I'll be ready to start querying this one in the spring.