Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.

The Pitch

You should work on this more than any other part of the book. The novel should be boiled down to just a few paragraphs, or even just one sentence, to pitch your books to agents, editors, and readers.

I was lucky enough to participate in a webinar this week hosted by Grant Faulkner of NaNoWriMo. The guest speakers were the Book Doctors, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. They were wonderful and spoke for over an hour, then followed with a half hour answering all of our questions. I’d like to share some of the wisdom they imparted to us. I’m going to break it up into five sections:

  • Knowing Your Audience
  • The Pitch
  • Your Social Media Platform
  • Publishing – Big Six, Independent, or Self-Publishing
  • Editing – Rewrites, Edits, and Beta Readers

Part Two – The Pitch

Whether your goal is to work with the Big Five publishers, an independent publisher, or self-publish, the pitch is the most important piece of writing you will do, and it isn’t even in your book. The pitch is used to sell your book to your agent, who in turn will use it to sell to an editor. The publisher’s marketing team will then use it create the cover flap and the website blurbs. If you are going the self-publishing route, you will be relying solely on the pitch to open doors for you and get your book in the hands of readers. The pitch on the website is the only thing readers are going to see.

The pitch must contain the promise of the book, depending on the genre.  Guarantee the romance, mystery, suspense, action, fantasy… whatever it is.  If you need, go back to your book.  Make sure it delivers on that promise.

It is very difficult to boil down the novel into 200-250 words, or even into the one-sentence blurb. Craft the pitch in a way that complements the book, the genre, and you as the author. Mention why you are the person to write this book. What are your expertises and passions? (I am madly in love with horses, and I have many years expertise in mucking out stalls)

Craft your pitch with good language, demonstrating all the art you have put into your novel. Voice is important. Cut all the flab from the pitch. “Infuse it will all the wonderful juice contained within the book.”

The key to a good pitch is specificity. Imagine that your pitch is like a movie trailer — start up close with a few details, then zoom out for a knockout closing.

Don’t do these things:

  • Never use generic language.
  • Don’t say “with lots of twists and turns.”  What are the twists?  Mention at least one of them.
  • Don’t forget to mention the title of the book.
  • Don’t say the book is funny; just make the reader laugh.

When you think you have it finished, record yourself reading it, which most of us can easily do on our smartphones.  Play it back to yourself.  It is better to be horrified in your living room than in front of the world.

Read a hundred pitches and book flaps.  Take some notes while standing in the bookstore aisle, or you can do this online.  Notice what good pitches have – voice, specificity, promise.  Notice what bad pitches have – generic blah, blah, blah.  Do your research and you can craft a pitch that will bring all the boys to your yard.


This entry was posted on January 28, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Posting Schedule for 2014-15

Monday through Friday I will be posting about writing as business and craft, the science of creativity, all things steampunk, and progress on The Dreamless City.

Weekends are reserved for my Music Playlist.

Writers of the Future Honorable Mention

About the Author

Tracy Cembor attempts to juggle a preschooler and a baby, a full-time job, random geekery, and the writing life. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a steampunk urban fantasy novel. Come join the adventure.
%d bloggers like this: