Friday, February 05, 2010

Perfect Pitch?

I don't think I'll ever hear those words. I HAVE been told that I'm wordy, so imagine my extreme panic when I try to come up with a condensed version of what my book is about. I think I actually begin to sweat. Over the course of my writing journey to the ultimate destination of "Pubbed Land", I have forced myself to pitch several of my manuscripts. Some of you have mentioned having the same angst over preparing pitches or blurbs. I thought today maybe we could go over a few of the basics and work up from there. Just know that...I am in no way an expert. LOL. I have had a few requests out of my attempts, and even won or finaled in a couple of contests. But I've also been passed over. You are the ultimate storyteller. Have faith in your story!!

The pitch is basically a high concept showcase of your manuscript. The first thing I do is to open a Word file, or you can just grab a piece of paper. I list my two main protagonists, my heroine and hero. Make a basic list of WHO they are, WHAT they want, and WHY it is important to them. It's the basic goal, motivation, and conflict of the story. Try to use genre specific key words.

And a final thought for today... It's really important to KNOW who you are pitching to. My advice?? Read through the submission guidelines and write down specific key words that are listed to describe the line.

Have a great weekend!! I'll try to get back as soon as possible to work more on the pitching process.

9 comments:

Stephanie said...

I can handle a paper pitch...it's the face to face pitch I'm sweatin' over.....as in my agent meeting at the conference I'm going to in March!! I can handle the paper pitch..the one I can agonize over for days and days and perfect. The live thing....yikes.....so hoping I do not turn into a blabbering idiot!

Chelle Sandell said...

All I could do was ramble...and still got a request. I think as long as the storyline fits the target editor or agent, they're open to reading most pitches. The main thing is to prepare in advance and try to memorize. If it's short and sweet, it's easier to blurt out. LOL. My problem came when she started asking questions, I thought I was going to puke on the table. :D

Marcie said...

And I'm sure the editors are just as nervous as we are! Imagine them wondering how to tell us 'sounds like a good story, but not for us'.
As for pitching manuscripts - Jeannie Watt posted on the SuperRomance blog why the first 3 chapters were easy and the 4th not so much - it was because she didn't know the story. That helped me out a lot.
But if you do answer the what and why - you should be able to get past chapter 3. Unless you answered one of those questions wrong and 'something' still doesn't feel right about the story!

Terri Tiffany said...

I have yet to do my first pitch! Thank you for some good concrete information. I will be back!

Chicki said...

I'm okay with a written pitch, it's those in-person appointments that completely freak me out! For those I will probably need heavy-duty mediction ...

Susan R. Mills said...

Thanks for the tip. It's very helpful. I'm already thinking.

Chelle Sandell said...

Marcie ~ At our RWA conf...we had an editor and agent speak to us before the pitch sessions. They told us that we shouldn't be so nervous because they are just regular people like us. I had to giggle a bit at that comment though. While that may be true...they still hold our publishing career in their hot little hands. :)

And Chicki ~ I was lucky enough to have a seasoned veteran sitting beside me to hold my hand and calm me down before I went in. I think I did ok except for the rambling bit. :D

Susan & Terri ~ Thanks! I'll try to post something more today.

R.M.Gilbert said...

I'm glad you are touching on the pitch. And love that you say to 'have faith in our stories'. Sometimes after tearing it down in edits it can feel like the story gets a bit tortured. :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

I'm used to speaking extemporaneously, so my problem would being sure I have notes on each story ready to pitch. Notes similar to what you said Chelle. that way you're prepared. I learned that the hard way. I wasn't intending to pitch. Wasn't mentally prepared at all to pitch. Beware of friends that say, oh___tell her about your book. Book? I wrote a book? lolol! A RWA friend told me, never go to a conference without having notes on any MS that's done, because you never know...

Nice article. :-)