If you head over to WriteOnCon's blog, you will find all sorts of posts from various agents giving advice on writing a pitch. AND, if you go to the WriteOnCon Forum (open until March 10), you can get your pitch critiqued.
So, about pitches. Sometimes, I think we forget their purpose. We think it's supposed to tell people what happens in our book.
Wait . . . what? Isn't it? I can hear the questions already.
The real purpose of a pitch is to entice readers to read more.
The irony of it all is this: As a person writing a pitch, it's easy to forget that. As a person reading a pitch, that's all you think about.
So let's pretend: You walk into a bookstore unsure of what to buy. So what do you do? You read back cover copy (and maybe a line or two of the beginning) until something grabs you.
First book you grab: The Hero's Guide to Saving your Kindgom
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.
Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.
Obviously, every person will have their own reaction to this pitch here is mine, Twitter style (just because):
- Prince Duncan? LOL! Except now I want some cake.
- 4 fairytales in 1??? Where do I sign up? I *heart* Fairytales.
- "Lousy bards" *snort* I do like me some snark.
- That's why they're all named "Charming"!!! I've wondered for years! Ha!
- What?! Prince Charming rejected? Low blow Snow White. Low Blow.
- Trolls, check. Bandits, check. Dragons, double check. Witches, check. You go Prince Charming . . .er, Duncan!
So how might this help you?
First, realize that pitches are subjective. Not everyone likes the same things. I happen to love fairytales, and this pitch is absolutely aimed at people who like fairytales. If you have an intended audience, make sure they know this is for them.
Second, voice. It didn't take much to set the tone, but "lousy bards" told me this would be a voice I'd appreciate. Work the voice from your book into your pitch.
Third, hook. This particular book plays off the fact that all of the princes in fairytales seem to be named Charming. Absolutely something I have laughed at for years. That is the line that sold me on this book. What is the hook of your book? What about it will make others connect to your story and want to read more?
Writing a pitch is not easy. The pitch I shared is a mere 112 words, and I guarantee those are some labor-intensive words. But try to look at it as a reader:
What in a pitch makes you go, "Ooh! I want to read that book!!"?
Best of luck to all you pitch writers!