Perfecting Your Pitch
So you’ve finished your novel and your ready to set your baby loose. But if you were asked to describe your novel in a few sentences, would you be able to do it?
Some people call it an elevator pitch. The little sound bite that will catch an editor’s attention, if you were in…well an elevator. Though you many never use it in the elevator, it’s good to start off with a one sentence summary.
So what EXACTLY is a pitch?
Here are some great quotes and thoughts about pitches:
“A pitch is a HOOK. It should have one goal and one only: to make the editor want to know more about your story. Just as a chapter hook makes the reader turn the page, your pitch hook makes the editor ask a follow-up question. Sometimes editors will ask a follow-up question simply to be polite. The trick is making them ask a question because they really are curious about the answer.” Brandilyn Collins.
A pitch is a “one minute back of the book type blurb memorized and spoken to an editor. We call this an elevator(pitch). Because, like me, you may literally be pitching it in an elevator. Though it could be anywhere, more than likely, over a meal. I practiced mine last year for weeks before the conference. My friends and I would cold-call each other and say, “Tell me about your book.” This practice was nerve wracking but paid off big time at the conference.” Gina Holmes,
“Don’t tell me your entire story. Just stick to the P’s: Pitch, Package, Platform. PITCH: Give me the essence in as few words as possible. (caveat: “Aliens meets Blue Like Jazz” is not helpful. “Philip K. Dick meets Don Miller” is better, but explain that genre with a more specific comparison like, “Kathy Tyers meets Siri Mitchell.” Mick Silva, former acquisitions editor for Waterbrook.
How I write my pitch:
First, I start with the character. What’s the character’s essence? What makes them stand out. Can you describe the character in two words? If it’s historical, then the pitch should mention the time or era. Then I state the goal and conflict. Maybe end with a question. Simple, right? Here’s the short version of my pitch.
In 1943 New York, “Rosie the Riveter” fights family, friends, and society to prove that she and her children can survive without her abusive husband.
How about you? Ready to pitch or need some help refining your pitch?
Go ahead. Share your pitch in the comment section. It’ll be great practice!