Search:
 
 

Pitching 101

In just a few short weeks, many of us will be in the Big Apple, taking advantage of all that the City has to offer. And one of the biggest advantages of having the RWA National Conference in NYC is the proximity to industry professionals. Unlike most years, when publishing houses have to limit which editors they send due to financial constraints, not having to worry about airfare or hotel costs can make a big difference in deciding who attends. Houses can send many — or all — of their editors to RWA. And this means more editors to pitch!

As I indicated in my previous post on preparing for the conference, don’t despair if you couldn’t snag a pitch appointment with the editor or agent of your choice. Plenty of opportunities exist for pitching outside of the traditional route…and often those on-the-spot pitches can be more effective.

The #1 rule that you must remember when pitching is that nobody has ever sold a book on the basis of their pitch alone. Well, I can’t definitively state that, since obviously there is an exception to every rule. But I’ve never heard of anyone who ever has, unless they were already a Big Name. (And really, in that case, they didn’t actually sell because of the pitch but because of who they were — they’d already built a reputation for great writing.) Ultimately, it’s your writing that must stand on its own, not your pitch.

Does that mean that pitching isn’t important? No, I didn’t say that. Any opportunity that you have to get in front of an agent or editor and tell them about your book is a precious one, and should never be wasted. The pitch can open doors for you and earn you the opportunity to submit. But it’s not going to make or break your career.

Think of the pitch as an in-person query letter…only with much better shoes. 😉 You have a short period of time to get the industry pro to decide whether to request the work or pass. Make the moment memorable by crafting a series of brief, targeted talking points about your book.

A good pitch starts with a single sentence, known as a logline or hook. Prepare one or two additional sentence-long talking points about your project based on the book’s synopsis. That’s it. Yes, the pitch appointments are scheduled for ten-minute slots, and you very well might end up using that entire time to chat (about the market, the imprint’s plans for expansion, the agency’s needs, etc) or maybe the industry pro might be so intrigued by your book that SHE wants to talk about it the entire time, but your job is to make your pitch as brief and concise as possible. Get right to the point, and move on.

The pitch is NOT a retelling of the whole story. It is a brief statement depicting the core idea of your book. When you’re competing against hundreds of other writers, a well-crafted pitch can help your chances of connecting with a potential agent or publisher.

Every pitch should contain the following info:

  • Main characters (hero/heroine)
  • Core conflict/plot
  • Differentiating factor (what sets your book apart from all the other Western-space opera-inspirational-YA-mysteries out there?)
  • Setting and subgenre, if relavant
  • Word count (you need to be in the right ballpark for the genre)

That’s it. No more, no less.

Now how do we get there? Why don’t we analyze a sample logline, and see how it’s done? This is the summary of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, as printed on the copyright page at the front of the book:

 “In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control though an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.”

Let’s run through those elements:

  1. The main character is Katniss, who is 16 years old.
  2. The main conflict is that Katniss must compete for her survival against other teens.
  3. The story is different because of the idea of children fighting each other as a means of entertainment.
  4. The setting is a futuristic dystopian North America.

OK, so it didn’t give the word count. But I happen to think word count is important because it ties directly into marketability. There are some houses that will do super-long or super short, but in general, you are trying to make your book look as easy to place as possible. Just use a ballpark figure. You don’t have to say your book is 88,267 words. Call it 90K.

Let’s do another one. In fact, it’s another YA. Yes, I’m shameless. We’re going to look at my own pitch for Codename: Dancer. 😉

When someone starts sabotaging a dance contest reality show being filmed on the campus of a performing arts boarding school, aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak sets out to solve the case before her 15 minutes of fame are over before she hits age 15. It’s like “Nancy Drew in toe shoes” in this light-hearted 50,000-word tween mystery, a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Award for Best Young Adult Romance.”

Running through the elements, we now know:

  1. The main character is Dani, who is not yet 15 years old.
  2. The main conflict is that Dani must figure out who is sabotaging the dance show.
  3. The story is different because it combines dancing with mystery, and it was nominated for a Golden Heart.
  4. The setting is a reality TV show being filmed at a performing arts boarding school.
  5. The book is on the short side, but perfectly appropriate for the younger YA crowd.

Now, I lucked out with that “Nancy Drew in toe shoes” analogy. (Although my original pitch used “Veronica Mars meets Dancing with the Stars” but I was advised to remove that since it’s been a few years since Veronica Mars went off the air.) Not everyone can do a “_________ meets _________” tagline, but if you can, jump on it! Using this kind of analogy can boil your pitch down to just that one line, and agents and editors love it! It immediately gets the point across, which is exactly what you need when pitching.

As you develop your pitch, avoid the following mistakes:

  1. DON’T talk about the process: The agent or editor doesn’t care how you developed your characters or where you got your ideas. It just isn’t relevant.
  2. DON’T pounce: Take the time to open up a natural conversation if at all possible. Building rapport before the pitch makes the agent or publisher more receptive to your message. This can be as simple as exchanging business cards and chatting briefly about the conference or the market. Of course, if you’re doing an elevator pitch at a crowded conferenc,e you might not have this luxury.
  3. DON’T verbally vomit: Nobody likes long-winded pitches, and industry pros will lose interest. Stick to short, one- to two-sentence talking points that make them respond with “Tell me more.”
  4. DO quit while you’re ahead: Once you hear the magic words “Send it to me,” say thank you, stop talking, and move on — either to the next manuscript, a different topic, or even ending the session.

Take the time to do it right. Practice saying your pitch out loud. Test it on a couple of friends. Keep whittling it down until it contains only the needed elements. But be prepared to explain when the industry professional says “tell me more.”

If you practice ahead of time, you’ll be ready when it comes time to pitch. Don’t be afraid to bring note cards if that helps you, but also don’t plan to use them. If you spend the time looking down at your cards, you come off as nervous and your pitch will be stilted. Rather than reading note cards, just tell her about your book. Remember, YOU’RE the expert on your book. Not her. She won’t know whether you messed something up. She’s just interested in whether it sounds like something she wants to read.

So relax and have fun!

66 responses to “Pitching 101”

  1. Great, great post, Amanda! I always try to remember that the agent or editor is a real person, just like my girlfriends. So practice on your girlfriends, ladies! And I love the idea of a catchy tagline (the Nancy Drew one is perfect!)– something that will make them say, “Tell me more about that!”

    We hear “ten minute pitch session” and tend to clutch, thinking that we have to come up with THAT much stuff to say. But in reality, a pitch session is more like a conversation that you strike up. The hook opens the door, and then once the ball is rolling, the agent or editor will ask questions and you can go from there.

    I will say that I did get caught by surprise last year– I had two finished manuscripts, but felt that one was a bit stronger than the other, so I worked up a huge pitch for it…and once we had talked about it for about five minutes, the agent decided she wanted to see it (squee!). So she asked for it…and then said “So, tell me about what else you’ve written”. I had to scramble a bit, but I managed to walk away from that pitch session with requests for both of my books. So be prepared to talk about everything! You never know what’s going to resonate with these agents and editors!

    I have my fingers crossed for all of you giving pitches. And if you’re in the bullpen on Thursday morning at 9:40, I’ll see you there 😉 We’ll pep talk each other into some great pitching– especially since we’ve had great advice to send us on our way!

    Thanks Amanda– great post

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      If anyone is in the bullpen around 10 am on Friday, come say hi. We can keep each other calm.

      And great advice to prepare pitches for more than one manuscript. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I went in thinking I was pitching one book, but ended up with requests for the other! Seriously, it happens all the time. You can research an agent’s needs and interests all you want, and think one of your manuscripts is more ready than the other, but you really just have no idea which will strike an industry pro’s fancy.

      But thinking on your feet is no fun, particularly when you’re already anxious and nervous. So be prepared and have a one-or-two-liner ready for each of your manuscripts.

      0
  2. Diana Layne says:

    really good tips, Amanda. Not having to pitch is the only plus side to me not going this year. 🙂

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      I wish you were going, too! But you have plenty to celebrate about this week, Miss First Sale!

      0
  3. Kat Cantrell says:

    I wish I’d had this advice in April when I pitched at my local RWA chapter conference. It would have saved me from stumbling through the five most painful minutes of my life! Good luck to everyone pitching at Nationals. Wish I could be there with you – next year for sure. 🙂

    0
  4. liz talley says:

    Wonderful post, Amanda. I need to get the word out about this one. Everyone going to Nationals has humming nerves, and being prepared to talk about what you write is as essential as those kickass shoes! (Oh, btw, I bought two pair this past weekend – black lace, high heel Mary Janes and satin wedges with satin leopard bow in the back. Yummy!)

    And remember, it’s not always about your book. It’s about you. You are more likely to shine when you are being yourself. Snarky, witty or plain friendly. I’ve met with editors and agents not even knowing who they are and the conversations started with them, eventually get around to what I write, but they didn’t start there. In fact, my editor remembered me from the conversation we had after the 2007 RWA awards ceremony…and I never even mentioned what I wrote!

    And last year, I didn’t pitch, but had an editor from Bantam Dell waiting to talk to me after I made a comment in a workshop. She introduced herself, asked what I wrote, and then told me to send her something. Seriously.

    So you never know who you might be sitting next to, or what interest someone might take in you based on any number of reasons….but usually, they are going to want to know what you write and about your book, so you need to be prepared.

    Love this one, Amanda!

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Those shoes sound divine!

      And yes, the anti-pitch is actually the best. It’s sort of a stealth pitch where you’re not actually pitching, but you get a request anyway.

      0
  5. Very timely, Amanda. Those cue cards can come in handy, even if you think you don’t need them. I remember when I first pitched in San Francisco, my mind blanked and I couldn’t even remember my heroine’s name. It turned out okay because the kind editor showed me pictures of her dog.

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Agents and editors really are people, too. We put them up on this pedestal, but they’re just like you and me. They know you’re nervous and want you to relax.

      And here’s a secret…unless your book is so totally off the mark from what they’re looking for (you write Western-space opera-inspirational-YA-mysteries but they’re looking for Single Title Contemporary), they’re probably going to request at least a partial anyway. So really…just relax, take a deep breath, and pretend you’re talking to your best girlfriend about your book.

      0
  6. Great post, Amanda. I’ll be pitching for the first time this year, so these tips are invaluable to me.

    Thanks!

    0
  7. Shea Berkley says:

    Great post, Amanda!! I hate pitching. I’m seriously horrible at it. Thank God I have an agent now. She makes me sound so good, even I want to read my stories.

    When I didn’t have an agent, I would print my pitch out on a 3X5 card. Now, the pros say you must memorize your pitch and really sell it in the telling. I’m not an actress, not even close. I am a word vomiter. It’s really not pretty, so that 3X5 card was essential for my well being and the survival of the poor agent/editor who was forced to sit across from me.

    This is how it went.

    Me: thrust out my hand and say my name.

    Them: gingerly take my hand and pray I will let go.

    Me: ramble on about how horrible I am at pitching.

    Them: start to really pray I will shut up and get to the point.

    Me: pull out the card.

    Them: look at card, look at me, look at card and listen as I do a poor job of reading aloud.

    Me: pray they don’t ask any questions ’cause I’m ready to spew more than words.

    Them: never look “crazy” me in the eye in case I start rambling again…say thanks but better luck next time.

    OR

    Them: chance looking “crazy” me in the eye, get alarmed at the green tinge to my skin, and ask to see a partial or the full out of pure pity.

    Seriously, it’s a 50/50 chance they’ll ask for it even if your pitch is solid. It’s all about need. Agent: Can they sell the idea? Editor: Does the story sound like it will fit their editorial needs AT THAT TIME? Timing is evrything in this business.

    I’m not saying this is the best way to approach the situation, but it’s better than stumbling on your words when you’re super nervous.

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      I’m laughing with you, not AT you, Shea. I promise.

      And you’re right. The agent or editor is thinking in terms of marketability. Can they sell it? Does it fit with their editorial needs? If not, even if it is a great pitch, it won’t get a request. Likewise, it can be a piss poor pitch, but if it’s exactly in line with what they’re looking for, they’ll request at least a partial.

      But ultimately, what makes the sale is the writing. Not the pitch.

      0
  8. Fantastic rundown of the basics of pitching! I hope you don’t mind, Amanda, but I posted the link on my chapter loop. Anyone who’s planning to pitch at Nationals (or EVER, really) should read this! Thanks for taking the time to lay it all out so concisely and clearly.

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Oh, absolutely! That’s why I did the post…to hopefully help someone out. So thanks for helping spread the word!

      0
  9. At these agent/editor appointments, do editors and agents ever NOT request a manuscript that’s at least in the ballpark of what they acquire? It seems easier to say “send it to me” and send a rejection later than reject in person.

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Well, I’ve seen instances where the industry pro didn’t request even though it’s exactly the type of story they acquire, simply because it was too similar to a story they’d just acquired, or maybe it just wasn’t unique enough from all the other stories out there. They don’t want to waste their time reading it if they know right up front it isn’t for them. But that isn’t necessarily a reflection on you or your story. What doesn’t work for one agent/editor could easily work for someone else.

      0
  10. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Great post, Amanda. Actually, I think Lori Wilde sold a book AND the movie rights on the basis of her high concept pitch. Granted you need solid writing and a kick-ass plot to sell a novel, but I think a great pitch is half the battle.

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Was Lori’s pitch for a debut novel? Because if not, then writing was still involved, because even if they only heard the pitch, they knew her track record for writing. So the earlier books were the writing sample. 🙂

      But if it was for a debut novel, then ROCK ON! I stand corrected, and yes it can happen!

      0
      • Laurie Kellogg says:

        I’m not sure, Amanda. But even if she had other books out, selling a project on a one line elevator pitch is damn impressive.

        0
  11. Here’s a question:

    What do you do if you aren’t quite finished with your manuscript by the time of your pitch session? Do you cancel?

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Absolutely not! Many agents and editors prefer that you wait until after the summer is over anyway before sending them stuff just because they get so slammed after conference, and they’ll have more time a little bit later. So pitch, get that request, and send it when it’s done!

      0
    • Beth Langston says:

      Last year, my pitch appt was with a Harlequin editor. Three weeks before the conference, another Harlequin editor rejected it. I still went to the appt, explained the situation, and asked if we could talk instead about what Harlequin Teen was looking for. The editor asked me to go ahead and pitch anything I had in progress. So I did, and she requested the full “whenever you get it done.” (She has it now.)

      Moral of the story— have a pitch ready for anything you’ve written or anything that might be finished in the next few months.

      0
      • Amanda Brice says:

        Excellent advice, Beth. And it just goes to show that sometimes the anti-pitch can be much more effective anyway. The editor probably thought it was refreshing that you weren’t trying to sell her on anything, and thus took the time to see what you had to sell!

        0
  12. Kelly Fitzpatrick says:

    You almost make me want to go to NY and pitch something. Almost.

    0
  13. Carla says:

    Thank you so much, Amanda! No matter how prepared I am for pitching, I’m going to be nervous. It makes me wonder if I’ll be better at it if I work off-the-cuff, rather than standing around, worrying for 20 minutes prior to an appointment? Either way, I plan to use your instructions to make my pitch better! Wish me luck! If I’m not going to trip on my tongue, I’ll need all the luck I can get… 🙂

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      You’ll do great!

      And I agree that the off-the-cuff pitches usually end up better than the appointments. Like you said, you spend all this time worrying and getting all worked up, and then you arrive to the bullpen and sit there watching everyone else biting their nails and before you know it, you’ve worked yourself up into a mess. It’s much easier to talk to someone on the fly, at lunch or after a workshop, I think. But even there, you need to prepare, so that when you hear “So, what do you write?” you’ll be ready!

      0
  14. Tari Jewett says:

    What great information and right on time for me. Opportunity to pitch at our RWA meeting this weekend. I’m off to make sure my pitch meets your specifications!!

    0
  15. Carlene says:

    No matter how many times I read something about the right way to pitch, I still feel like I’m just not gonna get it right in person! Your post here covered just what I think I need though. I love the very simple but poignant advice you give about keeping it short and sweet. Thank you Amanda! A quick funny though–I pitched at our WRW Retreat and I used the “The love triangle in my story is very similar to the one in xyz…” I felt so bad when the agent wasn’t familiar with my example! But, it did lead to her asking me more questions about my story to clarify, which helped. So I’m glad you say use the comparison if you have one.

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Yes, that’s why I changed “Veronica Mars meets Dancing with the Stars” to “Nancy Drew in toe shoes.” It was much more universally recognized. Using a comparison can be a great tool, but if the person you’re talking to has no idea what you’re talking about, it can sometimes hinder you. But fortunately in your case, it opened the door to more discussion, which is always a good thing!

      0
  16. Awesome post, Amanda!!! This is a great reminder of what to do and what not to do during a pitch. It’s hard to remember these things when the time comes, so I definitely suggest practicing. Even then, I would get so nervous, I would ramble. I almost put Heather Osburn to sleep once, but I think she was really tired anyway. *glances away inconspicuously*

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      We all think we do a much worse job than we actually do. I’m sure you didn’t put Heather Osborn to sleep. How could you? You’re fab!

      0
  17. Jenn Stark says:

    Amanda, I should read this over and over again before I pitch. I can write other folks’ pitches… but I’m terrible with my own. I think I’m one of the few people who ever got an agent to say “you know…um… no. don’t send that”. 🙂

    GREAT information!!

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Oh no!

      But I’m sure it wasn’t the pitch. It just probably wasn’t a story that agent figured she could sell. It wasn’t what she was looking for at that time.

      0
  18. Leslie says:

    Even if you haven’t snagged a coveted appointment at Nationals, you will hear repeatedly, “What do you write?” I’ve fumbled through countless encounters with other writers with drivel. Thanks for getting me pointed in the right pitching direction.

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      So true! If we earned a dollar each time we heard “So, what do you write?” at Nationals, I bet we’d break even by the end of the trip. Seriously. Between fellow writers, agents, editors…it really is the biggest topic of discussion.

      0
    • Tamara Hogan says:

      You’re SO right, Leslie! We always need to be able to answer the question, “Tell me about your story!” in an intriguing, abbreviated way. Even after we sell.
      Especially after we sell – because at that point, every person who asks is a potential reader.

      0
  19. This is great, Amanda! I’m terrified of in person pitches. I do not like drawing attention to myself, so having an agent or editor focused exclusively on me is pure torture. LOL. I won’t be in NY, *sniffle* :), but I’m definitely keeping this in mind for next year! (If I can get over my pitch-a-phobia, that is!)

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Oooh, did I read this right? You’re coming to Nationals next year?! Yay!

      0
  20. Anne Speer says:

    I’ve just joined RWA and am certainly not going to nationals this year, since they’re so soon. I’m really grateful for all this advice, though, so that when I finish the next draft of this manuscript, I’ll be as well prepared as possible for what’s to come. Thanks!

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      You’re so welcome! And whittling the story down to the basics is a skill that comes in handy for a variety of things, including query letters and after you sell you’ll want to pitch it to your local booksellers, too!

      0
  21. Tina Joyce says:

    Great advice, Amanda. I wish I’d had this last year when I had to pitch. I’m bookmarking this page for future use, though! Thanks.

    0
  22. Hope Ramsay says:

    Amanda,

    What awesome advice. I wish I’d had some of this when I pitched my first manuscript. Honestly it was ugly.

    I am moved to share a couple of funny pitching stories, just to underscore that things can get seriously strange sometimes, and you never really know how things will ultimately turn out. So always be prepared, and try to see the bright side of every encounter with an industry pro.

    My first story involves the late Kate Duffy, who was notoroious for eating writers alive. I was terrified. I sat down. I smiled. I spoke my rehearsed line: “My book is Dukes of Hazard meets Oscar Wilde.” (Yeah, it was a great pitch line, because I was prepared.) Kate leaned across the table and firmly pinched both my cheeks. Hard. It brought tears to my eyes (and not in a good way.) I wondered if the woman was trying to assalt me or praise me. It turned out she was blown away. She told me I had just made her weekend. She requested the full, and talked about my pitch to all her editor friends who were at this chapter meeting. Alas, she did not buy the book.

    My second story involves an agent and editor who are still in the business. I was happily pitching the agent, when the editor (who had seen and rejected my work) came over to the table, plopped her elbows on it and said. “I love the way this woman writes. But I have no idea how to sell her books. If you take her on, you’ll have to help her rewrite them all.”

    Wow! Try recovering from a comment like that from a serious industry pro. I was so flummoxed I messed up the rest of the pitch, went back to my hotel room, and cried. Later, during the same conference, the agent sought me out and gave me a second chance. We chatted about the books for a long, long time. She requested the full manuscripts for three books — one of them Welcome to Last Chance. Two months later I signed with her. Less than a year later, she had sold two of the three books I pitched — but not to that editor who disrupted my pitch session.

    So you never know. The important thing is to get out there and talk about your books — to anyone who will listen.

    0
  23. Kim Law says:

    Excellent, excellent advice! I’ll add that for me, I get far less nervous when I DON’T practice for my pitch. Sounds weird, right? I figure out things like what you explained (though not nearly as good as you explained), then I forget about it. I figure, I know my story, so I’m good. And with the no practice part of it, it allows me to go in and just talk and have a conversatoin and not feel like I’m “on”. Does that make sense? This allows me to sell myself as much as the story, probably more. I’ve had some great pitches since getting to this point. So that’s my suggestion…quit practicing and worrying about it, just do it! 🙂

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      I actually happen to agree with you. Me personally, I don’t practice. Not out loud at least. I do spend time crafting the pitch (whittling it down to the very essence of it and coming up with a good tagline, if I can think of it), but that’s it. Because like you said, I do best when I’m just chatting. But for others, they do best when they rehearse ahead of time. So you need to know your style. If the thought of sitting down and chatting terrifies you, then practice ahead of time. Say your pitch to your mirror, to your husband, to your critique partner. Say it so often you can recite it in your sleep.

      Only you know what works best for you!

      0
      • Kim Law says:

        Exactly, everyone is different! I used to practice and practice and it all just felt so forced and fake. I hate fake. So I quit worrying about it. Whittled it down in my head, like you say, then just went with it. I much prefer a conversation.

        0
    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Kim,

      I’m with you, too. I think it’s important to be able to sumarize your story in a couple of sentences, but I never tried to memorize a pitch. That would make me so nervous. But I would talk about my book to anyone who asked.

      Which reminds me, when you’re at nationals it’s likely that you’ll have dozens of people come up to you and ask you what you write. Use very opportunity to practice your pitch, even when you’re talking to another writer. And if you don’t know how to start a conversation at one of those mega-luncheons, just sit down next to a stranger and ask them what they write. It works every time. 🙂

      0
  24. Rita Henuber says:

    Amanda this is brilliant! I hope a lot of people take this to heart because it is so correct.
    I would add be sure you tell the agent/editor what makes your story different. Why do you love it so much you just had to write it. Show them your passion for the story. Relax.
    Best of luck to all who are pitching

    0
  25. Kate Parker says:

    Great advice, Amanda. As the veteran of many “deer in the headlights” pitches, I know that 3×5 card can be a lifesaver.

    Another piece of advice: Never drink a soda right before pitching. Save the poor agent or editor from a horrible burp brought on by nerves.

    0
  26. Jennie says:

    I’ve recently had the good fortune of receiving a revise and resubmit email from a Harlequin editor. She has has the revised manuscript for several weeks. I made an appointment with her, hoping to meet her and talk about the book. I do have another book in the works that I could pitch.

    Is this an acceptable scenario?

    Thanks!

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Absolutely acceptable, and a great opportunity. With a revise and resubmit, you already know that she sees something in your manuscript that she likes and wants to nurture. So speaking with her in person is the perfect opportunity. I did something similar once when I had a R&R from an editor. I didn’t have an official appt with her, but I emailed her and asked if we could meet for coffee. It was a great opportunity to talk about the book, and put a name with a face. It made the experience a lot more personal, and I think I got a better idea of what she wanted than just from the email. (It ultimately resulted in a second R&R and then eventually an R, but it was still a very worthwhile experience.

      0
  27. Amanda, Thank you so much for posting this. Great advice in the post and in the comments. I’m going to work on my pitchs this week. I can’t wait until NY.

    0
  28. Elise Hayes says:

    Oh, man, I’m terrible at pitches, so this post was *really* helpful, Amanda! One line. Main elements. Got it. Still not easy, but better than the one-minute speech I used to write out and then try to memorize 🙂

    0
    • Amanda Brice says:

      Yup, the ideal pitch is just one or two lines. it boils the story down to the essence, then it opens up into a conversation with the industry professional about the book. you want them to be so intrigued by the one-liner that they say “Ooh, tell me more” or “send it to me”.

      Writers see that each pitch session is 10 minutes long and assume they must have 10 minutes worth of material, but not so. Have maybe 15-30 seconds prepared and then the rest is just a chat.

      0
  29. Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

    Sorry I wasn’t here to see this yesterday, Amanda, but I’ll be printing it out. I’m so poor at pitching.

    0

Subscribe to the Blog

The Latest Comments

  • Jacie Floyd: It is always something, Tamara. Life happens all the time. It’s when I let those little things ale...
  • Jacie Floyd: Glad you can identify, Beth! Thanks for posting.
  • Beth Trissel: Terrific post. This is so me.
  • Tamara Hogan: I just got home from spending a long weekend in Nashville with college girlfriends. The huge mess I...
  • Jacie Floyd: Hi Jamie! Trying to focus on exercise these days, but like promotion, I will ditch it for almost...

Archives