Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pitch It

Have you ever gone to a restaurant, positively starving and all they have on the menu are dishes you have never heard of?
In the words of Tigger, prezactically
So the next logical thing to do would be to ask the waiter what the least threatening looking dish is made out of, now what would you do if he goes on to explain how the chef goes to the farmers market at 5am each morning to hand select the fish which was caught just a few hours before? The fish goes in a special container to preserve its freshness or even keep it alive, after that he kills it, descales it and browns it in a shallow pan with the slightest hint of spices and specially churned butter before it comes to you garnished with steamed veggies on the rarest china.
Remember you are starving, what would your reaction be?

I have never been to a writers conference but I have heard what happens there, you learn a lot at workshops, you also get to meet several agents and editors and can pitch your manuscripts anywhere except the in the ladies(so I have heard).

So I started to do some research on how to pitch to agents and this is what I have come up with

Have a completed Manuscript
Always have your business card ready
Research the agents you know are going to be present beforehand and also prepare for the surprise pitch

So according to Nina Harrington when she wants to make a pitch she says "My story is about someone [ your protagonist]….who strives for [goal]… and this stands in his way [ forces of opposition and antagonism].WHO she is, WHAT she wants, and WHAT she is going to have to overcome to get it."*
How would you make a pitch and what works for you? I am determined to go to my first conference in 2011 (Hopefully RWA) and I don't think the pantser approach to pitching will work :) 
Finally Corsica at sundown

* http://community.eharlequin.com/content/loglines-pitches-and-premises


  1. I have found that the most beneficial part of writer conferences is meeting other writers. It's the networking that has been most helpful, at least to me.

    Admittedly, I've never been in a pitch session but I think you would want your pitch to sound an awful lot like your query: short, concise, with a great big hook.

    Good luck, Joanna!

  2. Pitching and conferences are two of my biggest fears. I've been to one last year. All there was were frustrated people wondering why they couldn't be published too. It's pretty wild over there, I prefer the written approach.

  3. I've never been to a conference either, but I lament over the day:)

    I have a hard time pulling my story into a few snappy sentence. I'm getting there, and I hope to be able to make lots of lasting impressions.

  4. Gorgeous pics! Pitching's incredibly hard, in part because we all know how much more there is to our stories than that one snappy sentence! I haven't pitched yet, but I do a heap of public speaking, and the one piece of advice I have is to practice the thing out loud. You'll probably stumble the first time or two, so make sure it's only in front of the mirror or a friend!

  5. This is really helpful information and I agree completely. It's so important to go prepared.


  6. Go girl! Pitches are like a fine wine. You should [theoretically] be able to spew your log line in 25 words or less. I've found (like your formula above) it should contain info of what/who is the story about, why should I care and what stands in his/her way.

  7. I'd also recomment practising your pitch several times out loud in front of a mirror or someone watching. It sounds cheesy but it really makes a different!

  8. I haven't had to do this yet but the advice is to keep it simple, short and punchy. I'd practice a few alternatives, trying them out both on your own and in front of trusted friends/writers, especially those who know your work, and see what works best? Good luck!

  9. Great advice Joanna!

    Well did you order the fish in the end? Dying to hear!

    Love the new look...very pleasing.

  10. Thanks for the advice everyone
    @ Ann lol if it happened to me I would pass out but the fish does sound tasty

  11. Great advice--being prepared and knowing what you're going to do before you leave is always a sound idea.

  12. I LOVE how you compared pitching to the restaurant chef, omigosh, having been on the other side of the table (being pitched TO) I can totally relate, especially when it's before lunch LOL. That's awesome advice btw and it will impress the agent or editor. Most writers ramble on endlessly until one's eyes glaze over. My favorite pitches are the ones that actually *open a conversation*

  13. You seriously made me hungry for that fish. Hope the approach works on the agent of your choice equally well!

    And I think you're right with the plan to be prepared, and have your little summary memorised and ready to come out with at a moment's notice...


I'd love to hear what you have to say, so go on & make my day