Monday, April 25, 2016

A Pitch to Build a Book On

Contest and Conference season is closing in and one of the main things we learn as budding or published authors is ‘the pitch’.

First of all, what IS a pitch?

Well….very loosely, it’s the best pick-up line for an agent or editor.

You’re trying to win them woo them with your story J

For a perfect pick-up line, what do you need?

Here are a few of my ideas – and I hope you all can add some more to the mix J

You’re serious about your story

Lots of people can come up with a story idea, but very few end of writing a book. When you write a pitch, you want to have enough of the story written to show you’re serious. If you’re an unpublished author, you need to have the entire book completed. That in and of itself shows seriousness.

If you’re a published author, your pitch should be strong enough to show you’re committed to the story. I prefer having a solid outline for the book before I pitch it, or at least a sure grasp on my characters’ motivations.

Your concept is clear and interesting

A pitch gives a clear (and succinct) heart of your story. I’m writing a new novel series and just finished working on a proposal for it. Here’s the pitch:

A small town tea shop owner with a sweet-tooth and a devil-may-care Englishman with more savory tastes join forces to cater an England-themed wedding.

A wedding planner with dramatic flair and country charm teams up with an aloof undercover prince to create a fairytale wedding for her best friend.

He’s trying to find a hero within and she’s pretty sure it’s a lost cause, but sparks are sure to fly when this opinionated country girl and an arrogant city boy team up to save a children’s clinic from bankruptcy.

A young inventor who chooses crime fighting instead of matrimony and a handsome detective trying to prove his worth team up to stop the illusive Jack the Ripper before someone they love becomes his next victim.

In these, I HOPE I’ve established a few things.

1.       A little hint of the hero and heroine’s personalities

2.       Possible conflict

3.       Uniqueness of the story

So, how about you try?

                You need a hero (and if it’s a romance you need a hero and heroine)

                                                A little personality touch

                                                                A purpose

                                                                                And a twist

How about you? Share your pitches OR share your tips for pitch writing!


kaybee said...

This is a good post, Pepper, and so important in these days of marketing and instant grat.
Here's one I use for my post-world-war-I-settlement house story:
"Violet O'Connell found everything she needed among people who had lost everything."
And here's one for my Oregon Trail series:
"Michael had once betrayed Caroline's trust, in the worst possible way. Can she trust him to get her to Oregon Country, and can he trust himself to accept her forgiveness -- and God's?"
I've been honing these for years and they used to be pretty terrible -- and long. I talk fast, but not fast enough. Pitching, like any other aspect of marketing, is an art in itself.
Kathy Bailey

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I always end up writing my pitch after I complete my book... Ha! That's alittke backwards but it works for me simply because I like to establish a theme and then be sure to play on each word carefully to get the feel across in my hook. Great stuff, pep!

Unknown said...

Great post! I'll post a pitch, which might be more like a hook sentence, that I recently used in a Love Inspired Historical contest. I got through to Round 2, but my chapters didn't really fit the mold!

"When Viking's widow Dagny is forced to acknowledge her dead husband's lies, will she wake to the love of Brand, a warrior who would sacrifice everything for her, even his most tightly-held dream?"

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Pepper, I love your approach to creating pitches. And yours are SO good! Mine never end up sounding as interesting. :)

Here's my shot at a (too-long) pitch for the book I'm getting ready to write:

When a wealthy chemist loses her memory, she relies on her high school love-turned-science-teacher who snubs the rich and helps underprivileged children to help her prepare a world-changing presentation. She must discover if her life as a scientist is the one she was meant to live, or if her destiny waits in the hometown she fled from to mend her broken heart.

Robin E. Mason said...

A talented and prolific artist who doesn't know her own worth hides the truth of who she is until her secret is discovered. (Tessa)

wow! not as hair-pulling as i thought!

Her perfect and charmed life is shattered when Clara Bess discovers her parents were not who she thought they were.

Evil words spoken shape the life of a small child, who lives tortured until her death at an early age, her deathbed words setting in place a curse on her own lineage. (this one's kinda tough!)

ps, i knew this was you when i read "you need ... purpose and a *twist*!" ha!

K. Stelter said...

An emotionally detached girl hides her strangely illogical gift to speak to the dead while trying to save these departed souls from those who want their powers.

It's still a work in progress, but I never would have put the pieces together like this without your post! Great article!