Thursday, October 7, 2010

Heading Off to Pitch

"Stick to the facts, but make those facts fascinating." --Blythe Camenson

Although the dry weather has pretty much nixed colorful foliage this fall, I did notice a few bright spots on my walk this morning. There is beauty if we would only pause to look for it. And, although there were times in the past few days as I prepared for this weekend's pitch opportunity that the progress seemed to go dry, I found bright spots along the way there, too. Can I hear the collective cheer when we all say thanks to those who have posted so much wonderful help for the rest of us? One... two... three... YEAAAA.

Recapping highlights. First, on the one-sentence summary--the starting place for effective pitches:

"The resulting very basic pitch is: When OPENING CONFLICT happens to CHARACTER(s), they have OVERCOME CONFLICT to COMPLETE quest...The important thing to remember is that a good pitch is a description of what actually happens. It's a one sentence description of the plot, not the theme." --Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent

"The one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, a hook, or a one-sentence pitch (it is not a tagline, however) a one-sentence summary (that) takes your complex book with multiple characters and plotlines and boils it down into a simple statement that can be quickly conveyed and understood, and generates interest in the book." --Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

"Knowing a story's pitch (a one-line description) is an effective way to keep the main concept in mind when writing and revising. To develop your one-sentence pitch, here's a formula: Title + Genre + Life Change = Pitch." --Adventures in Children's Publishing

On the verbal pitch itself (which I will have six minutes alloted to me to do):

"Be prepared...Conquer the nerves...Accept criticism."--Sue Lick, writing-world

"Keep it short. Focus on a character and the character's problem. Stop at a moment of tension and wait." --Jane Friedman, Writer's Digest There Are No Rules

"So if you do get an agent or editor in front of you, relax. Impossible, I know. But once you relax, you can actually talk to the other person. Tell them about your book. Ask a question. Talk as well as listen. There's nothing I appreciate more than a writer who is prepared yet flexible, professional yet casual. Someone who'll talk to me as another person who loves books, not as someone desperately trying to get my approval." --Mary Kole, Literary Agent

So here we are. Ready and raring to go. I expect the entire workshop to be fun, and the pitch to be a great experience.

As for the future, I think I will reverse the order. Instead of trying to come up with the one-sentence summary and short pitch paragraph after writing the book, I want to follow Blythe Camenson's advice in his book Give 'Em What They Want, The Right Way to Pitch Your Novel to Editors and Agents: "If you create your pitch line before you actually write the novel, it can guide your writing and keep your plot on track." And, may I add, cut lots of time off the work to the finished product? I think so.

I'll share some of what I learned when I get back. Until then, happy plotting, revising, dreaming, imagining, pitching--whatever part of writing occupies your time in the days ahead. May there be many bright spots along your way, too.


  1. Such wonderful advice! Look forward to what you'll be sharing. :)

  2. Can't wait to read how it goes!

  3. Great advice! I can't wait to hear more :)

  4. This is really great advice. I can't wait till you share the news with us.

  5. Loved your book. Kind regards, Carole.

  6. Great collection of tips and advice. thanks! :O)