Today we begin a three part series on pitching your novel. We’ll start by talking about the components of a good pitch. In part 2, we’ll discuss delivering your rock star pitch. Finally, we’ll conclude with a workshop and a CONTEST!!! Get your first ten pages in front of literary agent Michelle Brower of Folio Literary Management! (More details below.)
So let’s get started!!
What types of pitches are there?
1. The one sentence pitch or elevator pitch
2. The three sentence pitch (25-35 words, preferably)
3. In-person pitches at conferences or book festivals, typically in 8-10 minute blocks (*** to be discussed in part two.)
4. Online pitches via email, twitter, or writer forums
What are the components of a good pitch?
1. Juicy, image-provoking language
2. The setting, if it’s important.
3. The protagonist (s), including only the most important details about the his/her character or motivation.
3. The CENTRAL conflict between protag and what is working against them (antagonist, evil forces, society, etc.)
3. The choices the protag must face to acheive his/her goal
What You Should NOT Include
1. Themes or the emotional journey of the protagonist. These are elements that come about in a novel as a RESULT of the plot. Pitches are about plot, and only the CENTRAL question in the plot!
2. Too many details that don’t relate to the BIG PROBLEM in the novel.
3. Tepid word choices or verbs of being. Make the pitch powerful and active!
- Make a bulleted list of the 10 major points in your novel. Boil the list down to three. From there, figure out what the pivotal moment, the big twist, or the climactic moment is. Form you pitch around this moment. Another way to look at it is to answer these questions: What’s at stake for your protag? What must they overcome to accomplish XXX?
- Emphasize the most unique components of your manuscript. How is it different than the rest of those YA paranormal books or those historicals written about queens?
- Leave the reader wanting more–don’t give away the climax of the book. Remember that a pitch is a teaser!
- Be careful of clichés that sound like a movie trailer.
- Use vivid language that evokes imagery. You want your reader/listener to be able to visualize your story or at least one memorable scene.
- Make sure the tone of the pitch matches the tone of your manuscript. If you wrote a romantic comedy, your pitch should make that obvious. You wouldn’t use the same language to describe a horror or steampunk novel as you would BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY.
Easy Formula to Get Started
When [opening conflict] happens to [character(s)], they must [overcome conflict] to [achieve their goal or complete their quest].
Stay tuned for part two…
The week of NOVEMBER 5th, join us at Between the Sheets and flex your PITCHING skills. Post your badass pitch in the comments section of the PITCH-ILICIOUS CONTEST POST for a chance to win. Three pitches will be selected by an anonymous judge to move on to the FINAL ROUND.
Here’s the best part.
Other prizes include FREE critiques from editor extraordinaire (yours truly), and a variety of books. MARK YOUR CALENDARS! This isn’t an event you want to miss.
October 22nd: How to deliver the perfect pitch and other tips about marketing
October 29th: Sign up to join the pitch workshop–give & receive feedback from myself and your fellow writers
November 5th-November 9th: Post your pitch in the comments section to enter a chance to win the Pitch-ilcious contest and get your pages in front of Michelle Brower
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