Crafting a pitch is often difficult for writers because it’s another skill set, it’s about marketing which most of us find distasteful. A pitch in the book world is a less than three minute presentation of your book to an agent, editor, or publisher. It’s also something that you, the writer, will use several times, when describing your book to book clubs, speaking groups, and book sellers. How is a pitch different from a query letter? Not much difference. A query is simply a “pitch” on paper.
One strategy is for the three minute presentation and the other is for a 25 words or less quickie. First the three minute approach:
Hook,genre, protagonist, premise of plot and communicating why we should care about the story.
Who is your protagonist: human, gender, age, ethnicity, unique characteristics.
What is the plot/quest: a one line summary, i.e. A female editor blackmails her male assistant into a faux engagement to prevent her deportation. (The Proposal).
Who is the hero/heroine and what is his/her quest?
Boil down your story or non-fiction proposal to 1-3 sentences. We’re talking about normal length sentences, not oodles of noodles sentences with twenty commas. Keep re-writing these sentences until they articulate what you are trying to convey.
When you convey the information, remember to use the appropriate ‘pitch protocol,” in other words good manners. Don’t pitch a story when the agent is in the bathroom or while he/she is eating. I’ve seen it. Remember to modulate your tone, use pauses, a clear voice, and be professional. When you finish ‘pitching’ close your mouth and open up your ears to listen for feedback. For more information visit www.pitch-university.com
You will also use your pitch in the following situations:
Here are a few examples:
What if a cyborg is sent back through time to kill the mother of the future savior of mankind? “Terminator” 19 words
You can find more information from Jon Land atwww.thrillerfest.com/craftfest/pitch-tips/
I think answering the “What if” and “So What?” generates the specific information needed to make the pitch, however I wouldn’t pitch to an agent with a question.
And ‘What if’ you don’t like any of the above ideas? Well, there’s an app for that. The
“Pitch Your Book” teaches a three step plug-and-play formula anyone can use to present their book to an editor or agent, taught in a step-by-step manner with lots of examples, for $3.99 http://www.studybyapp.com
I’ve written three pitches for my novel that I keep in the memo section of my cell phone. I look at it from time to time, but haven’t memorized it, probably because I know it’s not ‘right’ yet. My next goal, within the next thirty days, is to take those three summaries and use the information here to refine the pitch. Then I think I’ll take the plunge and try it out on this blog for feedback.