Monday, October 11, 2010

Pitching Your Book

First you write.
Then you re-write.
Maybe multiple times each.

But at some point, if you want to get published, you're going to have to present your book to an agent (or publisher).

You can write a query letter *shudder*, and wait to hear back, or you can try an in-person pitch.

These pitch sessions are available at most writing conferences. You pay to have a small window of time with an agent, in which you tell them about your book. At the end of your pitch session, you just might (crossing fingers!) be invited to send in your entire manuscript. But you only have 10 minutes (usually), so you've got to make it good.


My final class at the Book Academy conference covered how to do it. Author and presenter Julie Wright has five published books, including Cross My Heart, which was just released this month. She is also an editor at Precision Editing Group.

Be Prepared!
  • Finish the Book!
  • Do NOT turn in your First Draft! Remember, this is essentially a competition. You're trying to convince them why your story is better then everyone else's.
  • Have alpha readers read your book first. (Alpha, or beta, readers are just people. Have other people read it. Readers, writers, ect. Get their feedback. Fix the problems they point out.)
  • Taylor your pitch to the person your pitching to. Know what kind of books they invest in.
  • Practice Out-Loud! Don't ramble or stutter.
  • Don't forget about hygiene. Seriously? Be presentable. Brush your teeth. Eat a mint.
What to Cover:
  • Character. Who is your hero and what does he want? What is at stake?
  • Conflict. What keeps your hero from getting what he wants?
  • Setting. Insure your setting, or at least your genre, is obvious.
  • Action. Your hook-line needs to promise excitement.

Figure out how to describe your book in three sentences or less, using the four areas above.

What? Only three sentences?

Yes. But you can do it. You're a writer!

The Pitch Session:

  • Be comfortable selling yourself. Don't sell yourself short.
  • Be confident. But not cocky!
  • Don't talk bad about other authors.
  • Prove that you are different.
  • Don't get defensive.
  • Don't be hard to work with.

Four ways to be an editor's favorite author:
1. Write well.
2. Don't be a jerk.
3. Don't be a jerk.
4. PLEASE, don't be a jerk.

  • Don't forget about hygiene. Seriously? Be presentable. Brush your teeth. Eat a mint. (I know, I put this above too. But it's pretty important!)
  • End the right way. Don't overstay your appointment.
  • Get their business card.
  • If they ask for your manuscript, submit it! And when you do, remind them that you've met.
Okay, if you're anything like me, you might be feeling more intimidated about pitching your book then you were before you read this post. But that's okay. At least you'll be prepared!

Courage is being afraid, but doing it anyway!

Thanks to all the presenters at this conference, for allowing me to blog about their classes. I learned a lot, and hope someone learned something from these posts!


Samantha said...

Huh. I didn't even know this was a possibility. Very interesting - yet very intimidating at the same time. Hmm....

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

I've never really thought about trying to get published before.

In truth, I never liked writing, until I started blogging! :D

But these are great tips!

L.T. Elliot said...

Awesome post! Thank you so much for sharing this!

MT said...

I've got good hygiene and I'm not a jerk, but I'm still working on the rest. :)

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Hi Kim! Great post! Karen gave me her pitch, which was short and sweet and simple. She basically gave me the elements of her book--the ones sure to hook your readers and chronologicalized them. It was short, catchy and simple.

I've yet to practice mine. I better get working on that!