>When I first started writing, I knew the bare minimums in regards to writing terms, what to do, what not to do and how to do it. Everything seemed simpler back then. Not so much now. Now I pursue blogs daily (even when I’m at work), google writing references (I had no idea what dialogue tags were … seriously), and work on my writing, trying to perfect my craft.
Pitching is one of those ‘things’ that I had no idea about and almost wish I never figured out. Creating a pitch is hard. Writing your novel is the easy part I think, its everything that follows that is hard. If you are like me and asking ‘what is a pitch?’ – I have a simple answer for you. You know when people find out you wrote a book, or if an agent asks you ‘so what is your book about?” – the pitch is the answer – the answer you’ll give. Really – its quite important!
Over at Slushbusters they are holding a pitching contest. I submitted my pitch, after agonizing over it for hours and having to recall my first pitch because of a word I didn’t like that I used. LOL When I first read about the contest, I thought initially “easy peasy”. I figured I’d take my query and condense it into 3-4 sentences. Sounds like a plan, right?
Here’s what I learnt when creating a pitch (I’ll share what I did after). According to the gals over at Slushbusters you need to think about the following three points – does your pitch …
- Communicate the conflict.
- Communicate the stakes. (What happens if things don’t work out?)
- Does it make someone want to read the story?
Then they gave some links to follow to learn from the pro’s – such as Rachelle Gardner about Elevator Pitches and edittorrent in regards to log lines. Must have’s in terms of creating your pitch. I strongly suggest you check them out!
So here’s what I did. I spent over a week researching how to create a pitch. I copied all the necessary tidbits I needed and worked through them (edittorrent gave some good advice on this). Then I created 3 separate pitches. My first pitch was quite short. “What is your book about” bare bones. For my second pitch I asked myself the following question “So what does that mean? (my first pitch)”. That pitch turned out a bit longer. For my third pitch I expanded on each sentence.
I then took each pitch and read them outloud. I had a few co-workers read them (yes, I’m bad, I did this at work). To be honest I didn’t like any of the pitches. So I tore them apart.
I knew my pitch needed to be roughly 3 sentences. So I took the bits of the other pitches that I liked, either a whole sentence or part of one and placed them on a word document. I then separated them into categories – beginning, middle and end. I colored each section a different color and began to piece back together a workable query.
Of course you then take that rough copy and smooth the edges, polish it up and create the pitch you want to use.
It would be the same pitch you would give someone who says “So what’s your book about?” Now, if you really want to know … you can go over to Slushbusters and go through the pitches and see if you can spot mine. I’ll give you a hint … the words “disillusioned pastor” are in it.
Infact, could you, would you go over there? I need a fresh set of eyes since I want my pitch to be picture perfect for the conference I’m attending at the end of the month 😉
And if all goes well … I like the idea of hosting a pitching contest … so I might host one on my own 😉