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How to Write an Effective Selling Pitch for a Romance Novel

“How to Write an Effective Selling Pitch” for a Romance Novel by Joan Y. Edwards

To write an effective selling pitch for a Romance Novel, choose the character in the romance situation that moves the story forward as your main character. Inara Scott says to be sure to tell the circumstances that throw the hero and heroine together and what keeps them apart. Regina Jeffers suggests that you show how the antagonist or the circumstances come close to defeating the heroine and hero before they finally come together.

Bob Mayer says a pitch is one sentence, the original idea in 25 words or less that causes an emotional reaction, an emotional response from a reader. He says the emotional hook is probably the idea that pushed you to write the book in the first place and convince you to sit down and write 50,000 words about it.

There’s more than one correct pitch for your book. Diane Holmes of Pitch University believes there are 100 right pitches and 1000 wrong pitches for your story.

Hilari Bell says to introduce a factor that makes your book different from all the other books similar to it. Give a fact that sounds interesting, that zings you.

Regina Jeffers suggests that you show how the antagonist or the circumstances come close to defeating the heroine and hero in a Romance novel before they finally come together.

Inara Scott says to tell the circumstances that throw the hero and heroine together and what keeps them apart.

Michael Ferris says in a one sentence pitch you highlight the love story and the historic and tragic setting.  You bait the readers with the mystery – what happens? How does it happen? Ferris says Never TELL the story. SELL the story.

  1. Your Name. Title of book is a Romance Novel with (number of) words.
  2. What makes this love story and these characters different from all the rest? What’s the zing? the shiver? the oh no?
  3. What happens? How does it happen? What makes it bad? What circumstances or situation throws the hero and heroine together?
  4. What antagonist, circumstances, or situation keeps them apart and puts them at the biting edge of defeat?
  5. What does the heroine want and why? Why can’t she have it? What’s at stake if she loses?
  6. What does the hero want and why? What can’t he have it? What’s at stake if he loses?
  7. What is the heroine’s internal/emotional conflict and how does she solve it?
  8. How is the hero’s internal/emotional conflict and how does he solve it?
  9. How do the heroine and hero change? How changes enable them to stay together as a couple?
  10. What universal lesson do they learn? What universal lesson does their story teach?

With all this information, you will be able to write an effective selling pitch for your romance novel. You can condense it into one sentence of 25 words. If you’re saying, “No way.” Try getting the number of words to 50 and two sentences. After your name, the title, genre, and number of words, you can have five sentences at the most. Kathleen Antrim says that the most effective pitches are 17 words. Go from 50 words, to 40 words, to 30 words, to 25 words, to 17 words. Do the best you can do.

Then share your pitch with your critique group. They will be able to make sure the “oomph,” they’ve read in your story is in your pitch.

When you are telling your pitch, you can begin with:

“What if…”

“One day…”

“This is a story about…”

I hope this helps you write a better selling pitch for your story. Let me know your favorite Romance novels.

My Pitch Corner USA Pitch Exercise #2 during December will be pitches for Romance Novels.  If you’d like for me to consider your pitch for it, email me at the address from the left-hand column.

Join 12 others.  See if the pitches pass your expectations. Would you reject them or accept them by asking for 3 chapters? Pretend you are an editor or agent for Pitch Exercise #1: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/73SLT8B.

Awesome References

  1. Diane Holmes. “Develop a Pitch for  Your Book, Part One:” http://romanceuniversity.org/2011/03/30/developing-your-pitch-part-one/
  2. Diane Holmes. http://www.pitch-university.com/
  3. Hilari Bell. “Scoring in the Elevator: All I know about writing a good two sentence pitch:” http://www.sfwa.org/members/bell/writingtips/spring09.html Be specific.
  4. Inara Scott. “Pitching Your Romance Novel: “http://www.inarascott.com/2011/10/pitching-your-romance-novel/
  5. John Saul. http://www.johnsaul.com
  6. Kate Kyle. “How to Pitch Romance Novel:” http://scribocin.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-to-pitch-romance-novel.html
  7. Kathleen Antrim and Bob Mayer.Writer’s Digest.  “Learn How to Pitch Your Book:” http://www.writersdigestshop.com/learn-how-to-pitch-your-book
  8. Laurie Schnebly Campbell. “Ten Minutes To Glory: Your Editor/Agent Pitch:” http://www.booklaurie.com/tips_ten.php
  9. Michael Ferris. Final Draft. “Loglines and How to Get Your Script Ready by Strangers in the Industry.” http://www.scriptmag.com/features/loglines-and-you-how-to-get-your-script-read-by-strangers-in-the-industry
  10. Paula Roe. “Pitch:” http://www.paularoe.com/pitch.html
  11. Regina Jeffers. “How to Pitch Your Romance Novel:” http://reginajeffers.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/how-to-pitch-your-romance-novel/

Thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate you very much.

We have 99 subscribers as of November 5, 2012. Thanks. Only one more subscriber to go for the big celebration. At 100 subscribers, ten lucky subscribers will win a free pitch and 1000 word manuscript critiques. I’ll choose one winner from first ten subscribers, second ten, etc. One lucky person will win a free pitch and 5000 word manuscript critique. Would you like to win? Get your name in the hat, now.  Subscribe now by email from the left hand column.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards


12 Responses

  1. Joan,
    I liked the idea of having a pitch that zings! Advertising slogans are especially good at this. Just like them, we are trying to sell too! Thanks for all your research. Have fun Pitch Corner USA team!


  2. Dear Linda,
    I’m glad you like Hilari Bell’s idea to have a pitch that zings. You are right advertising slogans are especially good at that. Thanks for writing. The Pitch Corner USA team appreciates you.

    Joan Y. Edwards
    Pitch Corner USA


  3. Nice post!when I used to write for this market, the complaint always was that had too much plot! 😦 Even so, I had fun with a few pub. Houses!
    M aureen


    • Dear Maureen,
      Thanks for writing. I agree. I think you can tell too much of the plot. You can also not hint at enough of the plot. Finding the Goldilocks amount of plot to put in your pitch is an undertaking that takes practice and finesse. I’m glad you had fun with a few publishing houses. Thanks for saying it was a nice post. Enjoy your day writing and drawing.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  4. Thanks for the great info Joan.


    • Dear Susan,
      You are very welcome. It was my pleasure. I’m glad you found the information helpful. You send encouragement to everyone you meet. You are a blessing.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  5. Oh, the days of the romance novels! I did write a number of them; my favorites were the regency romances under ‘Rebecca Ward.’ Rebecca was having fun… until she was told that her stories had too much plot.Hmm…


    • Dear Maureen,
      I thought you meant the pitch had too much plot. How can a plot have too much plot? Tsk. Tsk. What did they know? They missed out on an awesome writer and wonderful stories. I’ll see if the library has any of your Rebecca Ward books with Regency Romances.
      You could write a novel about a rebel writer putting too much plot in her book and being on the New York Best Selling List.
      Enjoy your evening.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


      • Dear Maureen,
        Did you write all of these under the pen name of Rebecca Ward from 1991-1996?
        A Monstrous Secret
        My Lord Lion
        Lady in Shadow
        The Wild Rose
        Grand Deception
        Madam Mystery
        Enchanted Rendezvous
        Cinderella’s Stepmother
        Lady in Silver
        Lord Longshanks
        Fair Fortune
        The Promissory Note

        Awesome titles.

        Never Give Up
        Joan Y. Edwards


  6. Good information. Lucky me I came across your website by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve saved as a favorite for later!


    • Dear Isabel Pointer, with get psn codes
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you found information that is helpful to you. I hope you’ll come back to visit again soon.
      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  7. […] How to Write an Effective Selling Pitch for a Romance Novel […]


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