I’m doing a pitch workshop at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Create Something Magical conference next month. Nothing makes a conference goer sweat like the prospect of pitching her book. But the process isn’t something to fear. A 10 minute speed date with an agent or editor is hardly a bear sniffing your camping tent. You’ll be fine, and the whole pitch process is a good exercise for your future career.
I haven’t pitched to an editor or agent in a few years, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t written pitches. If you think you’re done with pitching once you’ve snagged an agent or editor, think again. Authors have to write pitches, too, except now they’re called proposals or short blurbs. Every time a new contract comes up, my editor doesn’t say, “If you send us books, we will pay you money.” No, she needs a proposal to take to her acquisitions meeting. Guess what the first sentence of my proposal is? A pitch.
Pitch writing doesn’t stop after a book is acquired either. After the book is finished, cover and promotional copy has to be written. Promo copy is pitches of different lengths, this time aimed at potential readers/buyers.
There might be slight differences in the wording or focus of the pitch depending upon the intended audience. But just like an action scene, a pitch has to grab the attention of the editor, agent, or in the case of promo copy, potential buyer.
The reader of the pitch must be hooked. In one or two sentences, you have to make them want to acquire/read your book.
I have one more use for a good pitch. I like to pin my proposal to the bottom of my storyboard while I’m writing the book. During the actual plotting and writing process, rereading that initial pitch helps me stay focused on the core of the story.
Now that I’ve expounded on the importance of being able to pull the hook for your book from the rubble of a manuscript, I’m looking for some successful pitches from well-known movies or books to use in my workshop. I have a few, but in my opinion, nothing explains a good pitch better than fabulous examples, and what makes that light bulb shine for one person might not work for another.
Does anyone have a killer pitch for a well-known book or movie?