How To Pitch Your Book
I know some of you are self-publishing, but it’s still crucial to have your pitch and sell it to everyone you meet! Besides, it’s the best step in querying, writing your blurb, and your synopsis.
When do I need to have my pitch?
Nail your one-sentence pitch ASAP for any and all encounters: agents, editors, everyone in the bookstore/library, your skeptical parents or grandparents, nosy parents of your kids’ friends whom you are forced to have conversations with periodically, and especially anyone from your past that has wronged you, snubbed you, or doubted you. HAVE THAT SHIT DOWN!
- Because you want to SELL it, but you also want to have the confidence that backs up your accomplishment. You deserve it.
- For most of these people, practice a super tight logline (one-sentence pitch) instead of a typical 2-3 paragraphed query letter pitch. Let’s put it this way: If a query letter is a first date, the pitch gets you the first date.
Before we get into the meat of the pitch, let’s make sure you have the elements of the story down first. Because people are going to ask you some vital questions, you need to be ready for a quickfire response.
STORY ELEMENTS: A character who is trying to accomplish something runs into other people/events (obstacles) that will help or hinder their intention/journey.
This is also known as DRAMATIC ACTION.
If you don’t hint at the genre in the pitch, briefly say this is a… (paranormal thriller, Roman historical romance, etc.) And don’t forget to specify if it’s adult or YA, or younger, Title, and if you are querying, include the page #.
EXAMPLE (thanks to my creative writing course):
“When a girl is asked to the senior prom by the most popular boy at school, her excitement is dashed when her date shows up at her door on prom night as a zombie, forcing her to spend the most important night of her year fighting off flesh-eating teens, saving her best friend from certain death, and trying not to ruin her prom dress in an effort to save the world.”
*We get a good sense that this is a YA book with horror themes, and the tone of it also communicates a sense of humor.
EXAMPLE FOR THE LAST KINGDOM:
“When a Saxon boy watches his family die at the hands of the invading Viking Danes who kidnap him, he is raised as a fierce Viking warrior who grapples with his split loyalties between saving the last kingdom of England and protecting those that follow him while on a quest to regain the lands of his birthright.”
Where can I professionally pitch my implausibly unrivaled and deeply transcendent manuscript?
You can pitch to an agent in person at a meeting or conference, but a pitch can also be written out as a query letter.
Want to write a query letter to get an agent and not sure how? Click here for a query letter edit and formula.
Other places to pitch:
Query Letters (I have a formula for these to make it easier. Reach out! )
Twitter pitch events
Online writing hubs like Jericho Writers even have a fest
In an elevator? (Had to.)
Keepin’ it brief in a casual situation:
A couple hundred words written out, or 15-60 seconds in person.
If you don’t want to sound like the movie theater voice guy when talking to someone, then make it even more short and sweet—people will be sure to ask you for more.
IF SOMEONE ASKS ME IN PASSING WHAT I WRITE, I WANT A SOLID PITCH, BUT I MIGHT NOT WANT TO GET INTO THE MEAT OF IT, SO I’LL SAY:
“I WRITE LITERARY FICTION RETELLING THE CLASSICAL GREEK MYTHS FROM A FEMALE PERSPECTIVE”
OR I SAY:
“I WRITE EPIC ADVENTURES ABOUT KICK ASS WARRIOR WOMEN IN ANCIENT HISTORY”
This will get the conversation going or give a confident response to someone inquiring.
If you have more time allowed:
Focus on the character—who they are, what drives them, or their major relationships.
Give a quickie description about plots and conflicts.
EITHER WAY, NAIL YOUR PITCH AND PUT IT OUT INTO THE UNIVERSE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!
Don’t miss two of my most popular editing videos
A.R. Garrett is writing her debut historical fiction series, Atalanta & The Amazons. As a writer of the ancient world, she excavates facts & dissects mythology to spotlight the most prolific warrior women lost in the shadows of our history books—adding a touch of fantasy for the daydreamer in all of us.
A.R. Garrett has a degree in Business and English with a concentration in fiction writing from SNHU, and is currently working on a double masters in Creative Writing and Ancient History. She’s been a freelance fiction editor since 2018 and created a platform to help other women writers on FB: www.facebook.com/groups/supportingwomenwriters
When she’s not wrangling her two boys in the mountains of Colorado and trying endlessly to understand the mystical world of algorithms, she loves handwritten letters sealed with a wax stamp, and appreciates a dang-good brownie.
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