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?”
- 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)
- Where is she? Historical Fiction necessary. Not always essential.
- When does the story take place? Historical Fiction necessary. Not always essential.
- What is her problem? Who or what stands in her way?
- 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.
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.
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!
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:
- “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
- “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
- “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
- “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG
Here are more articles about pitches: