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Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead.

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead.

A pitch can be called an elevator pitch or a logline (in the case of a screenplay. A pitch doesn’t tell the ending of the story. A pitch for an article, thesis, picture book or novel is 25 words or two sentences telling enough about a story to capture the interest of a possible reader, publisher, agent, or editor. A pitch is used in person, online, in chats, interviews, query letters, cover letters, proposals, and on the covers of books. It’s your door to getting another person interested in what you’ve written.

A blurb on the back of a book is a longer pitch – perhaps 100 words,  ten sentences, depending on the publisher or author’s decision. You can add to it, but the essential information that pulls us in should be one or two sentences.

Write your pitch before you write your story. What? You say you’ve already written your story. That’s okay. Write your pitch now. Write it before your next revision. Doing this will help you make sure your story is what your pitch says it is. Your pitch is your promise to your readers of your story’s emotional impact.

It’s a great idea to practice your pitch. Have it ready when someone asks you, “What are you writing now?”

Start you stopwatch. You’ve got 30-60 seconds to get the person’s attention with the pitch for your book. If you stammer too long, the person will start a new topic of conversation or if leave the elevator and your chance goes down the drain.

Be ready. Write your pitch on a 3×5 inch index card. If it won’t fit on the 3×5 inch index card, it’s too long. Keep it with you in your wallet. Practice saying it in front of a mirror.

Christina Mandelski with Upstart Crow Literary says “I like to always start with who the story is about, what challenges the protagonist faces, and some standout detail that makes it feel unique.”

Amy Burkhart, agent, says the pitch has to tell, “Who, What, When, Where, and Why should I care?”

Kathleen Antrim, award-winning author, says a pitch must tell, “What if… and so what?”

­What if?
  1.  Who is the story about – girl, boy, age or grade, man or woman, occupation if it’s important to the plot, and the main character’s major flaw. (You don’t have to tell the names of characters)
  2. Where is she? Historical Fiction necessary. Not always essential.
  3. When does the story take place? Historical Fiction necessary. Not always essential.
  4. What is her problem? Who or what stands in her way?
  5. So what? Why is crisis important to her? Why does she need to win this challenge? What change has to happen for her to win? Does this pull at your heart strings? Does it invoke a deep emotion for the protagonist’s situation?

Here are some of the words about four New York Best Sellers. I shortened them to the nitty gritty (major essence) from the information given on Amazon.com. I don’t have the exact pitches that these authors sent to their agents or publishers.

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain.
Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. What if that’s not true?
The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Charlotte Davis is in pieces.  You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. But she’s learned how to forget.

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Good luck in writing a pitch that hooks your readers, agents, and editors!



smaller Cover Joan's Elder Care Guide by Aidana WillowRaven

Copyright 2016 Aidana Willow-Raven and 4RV Publishing

As I mentioned when I posted this Pitch blog, the voting for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2016 was over on January 14, 2017. Thank you to all of you who voted for Joan’s Elder Care Guide and other books in the contest. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

Oh my goodness. Joan’s Elder Care Guide came in 3rd Place! Third Place in Best Nonfiction Book! How cool is that! Here’s a link to see the results and to read the sweet comments that touched my heart! 


Thanks for believing in me!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please click on comment and scroll down and tell me your favorite pitch!


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards


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Resources -Other blog posts in the Why Not series:

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG

Here are more articles about pitches:


6 Responses

  1. Thanks, Joan. The billboard at the entrance to our Community has channeled you. It reads Never Give Up.😃


    • Dear Sarah, How cool is that! You must live in a great community! They send you and the other residents encouragement to keep on going! Love it!

      (I saw where your comment was split. So I combined them for you and deleted the unnecessary part.)

      Celebrate where you are, even if it’s at the bottom of the hill.
      We’ve all got to start somewhere.

      Love you,


  2. Joan,
    Thanks so much for this wonderful advise. I love the idea of a 3×5 index card, it’s genius! Inspiring, too.
    Phyllis Karpen


    • Dear Phyllis,
      Thank you for writing! I enjoyed hearing from you. I’m so glad you believe my advice on writing a pitch is wonderful. I’m excited that you like the idea of a 3×5 index card to use to write your pitch!

      I hope you’ve subscribed to my blog.

      Never Give Up


  3. There’s always more to learn about writing a good pitch. Thank you for sharing these tips.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for leaving a comment. I love interacting with my long time subscribers and friends. Yes. You are right. There’s always more to learn about writing a good pitch. Glad the ideas helped you.

      Never Give Up


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