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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wistful Wednesday

The Pitch


If you're a writer, one of the key elements to getting your writing out there is called The Pitch. It can come in various forms. There's the elevator pitch - that quickie that can be told on a ride between floors on an elevator - which probably equals out to the three-line pitch. There are the Twitter pitches, which consist of 140 characters. Or 25 word pitches. 100 Word pitches. 250 word pitches. You get the idea. Some pitches are frighteningly short (seriously, 25 words to describe an 80,000-word novel?), some a little bit longer, but all amount to the same thing: The necessity of condensing a vast amount of words to a bare minimum. How does one do that, you might ask. I'll let you in on a little secret: There's no definitive answer.

Pitching is very much like writing itself in that the style and method is unique to the person who employs it. What works for one might not work for another. Writer A may have to outline every bit that goes into the book and/or the pitch, sweating over each and every word choice, whereas Writer B might just sit down at the computer and wing it. And Writer C might fall somewhere in between. Whatever the case, the ultimate goal is the words and when it comes to pitches, the more concise and succinct one is, the more powerful the pitch.

Now I don't profess to be an expert on this issue, so you can accept or deny my findings at your discretion. This is just a bit of knowledge I've culled together from years of honing my craft. Does it mean I'm totally skilled in the art of pitching? Probably not. But that doesn't stop me from giving it the old college try and taking advantage of opportunities to get my writing out there. What about you? I'd love to hear you're take on this necessary evil of writing. Show me your pitch!

Incidentally, there are some great pitching opportunities coming up this week at Savvy U, starting today with a chance to pitch to Leah Hultenschmidt of Sourcebooks. You must be a member to pitch, but Basic Membership is free. Here's a link to more information: http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/showevent.php?eventid=1040

10 Moonbeams (comments):

V.R. Leavitt said...

Pitching and querying are among my least favorite aspects of writing. You do have some great tips here and like you said, it's about giving it the old college try. :-)

Cheryl said...

Great article. What I love about the Muse Online Writers Conference is the chance to pitch to publishers and/or agents. I had 5 minutes last year to convince a publisher to take a look at my second manuscript. It worked, so I feel better prepared to do it again this year.

Margay said...

Thanks, VR. You're right. Sometimes you just have to go for it!

Margay said...

Cheryl, I love the Muse conference, too! In fact, I recently got a contract out of a pitch I did at the last conference and I am currently doing edits on it. Hopefully, it will be coming out in October.

Angela Kay Austin said...

It's amazing. I get nervous thinking about pitching. I always craft what I want to say, but of course the words jumble. I attended Muse's online conference, and it was a great experience! Met some awesome folks.

Margay said...

I've attended a few times, Angela, and I always had an amazing experience. it's a great way to hone your pitching skills and Lea (the coordinator) is fantastic. She really helps the authors out and she's so sweet.

Kate Dolan said...

Oh you've hit on a really important topic. And taking the time to refine a pitch also pays off when it's time to create blurbs for promotional materials too. I am terrible at this and need to devote more time to it. People ask what my books are about and I just hem and haw.

Margay said...

Kate, I am the same way! And then I usually go into long spiels about what it is about! The trick is learning to take that long spiel and cull the nuggets of gold from it to get your pitch.

Farrah from The Book Faery Reviews said...

Oh the things I must learn and do while I work on my first story! Thanks for sharing this part of what's expected. :-)

Margay said...

So glad I could help, Farrah. One of the most important things is to be able to condense your book into a nice hook that you can capture attention with. Some people actually do this before they start to write the story. Maybe some day, I'll be able to do that.