Angie James has an excellent post on pitching today, advising authors craft their main pitch into the length of a Twitter update (140 characters). Brilliant!
As I’ll be taking a few hours of pitch sessions this weekend at the New England romance writers conference in Boston, it’s a topic that’s definitely been on my mind. In fact, Jessica Anderson–newly minted RITA nominee–asked for some tips to share in the workshop she’s running Friday evening. And at the risk of stealing her thunder, here’s what I suggested:
I think the biggest things for folks to know is there’s no *wrong* way to pitch. As long as the writer has done her homework and targeted the editor or agent carefully, 90% of the time, she’s going to get a request.
The pitches that stick with me tend to be the ones that summarize the book in a really quick way–it’s Gilmore Girls meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or in Regency England, a nobleman has so many female friends he can’t get a date and has to learn how to man-up (I totally stole that from one of my new authors, so no fair using that one). The pitches that immediately pique my interest are ones in which the author can identify what makes the book different–a setting, a profession, a situation you just don’t see all that often, a playful or intriguing title.
I like to treat a pitch as a conversation–give and take, back and forth. It’s a little harder for me to have someone reading a prepared summary, but at the same time, if that’s what it takes to make the author less nervous, that’s absolutely fine. Most editors and agents know that a person’s ability to pitch usually has nothing to do with her ability to write. It’s really the pages that sell the story.