Is this the burning question on your lips – how do I write a killer pitch? And why is ‘the pitch’ so important, anyway?
The pitch is like the eyes to your soul. It’s the first thing a publisher will see before they open that manuscript you’ve poured your heart (and soul) into. It’s the face they will judge to understand what kind of writer they are dealing with – it’s the tone, the voice, the vision that elicits an emotion to what lies within. Sounds a bit heavy, but you know your story better than anyone else, so all you have to do is pitch it in its best light. You’ve got this! 🙂
Fortunately for us, we have a few ‘experts in the know’ here to offer some valuable guidance so you will write a ‘killer pitch’ every time. Take note of these amazing tips from some of our Pitch It! 2020 contributors:
- Tips on Pitching to Publishers by Robert Vescio, award-winning, picture book author.
Pitching your book is one of the most important things you’ll do as an author. However, writing a pitch for a picture book is very different to pitching for other genres. A picture book pitch is more of a cover/query letter because the entire manuscript is included in the submission. So, my pitches for picture books are usually quite simple.
In my cover/query letter, I start with a one-sentence pitch to hook the editor. This is the essence of the book. But a one-sentence pitch is not easy to write.
I include my protagonist and the conflict they must overcome to reach their goal. That’s it. No more.
After that, I usually follow with two or three paragraphs to expand on the one sentence. This will help to add more detail about the plot and the journey my protagonist will take.
Here is a sample of my pitch for Under the Same Sky:
Two children from opposite sides of the world channel their loneliness with imagination to find hope and friendship.
Under the Same Sky metaphorically explores the beauty of the natural world and the natural phenomenon that exists between them by teaching children that what may start out as something impossible can be possible if we only look harder. All it takes is a simple act of kindness.
Finally, I end my pitch with any previous publications, any media contacts and thank them for their consideration.
When pitching for other genres, a synopsis is required. This is a short overview of your Chapter Book, YA, MG or novel. Publishers will read the synopsis before even looking at the sample chapters you’ve provided. Usually, a synopsis is about one page in length. This will enable the editor to get a feel of the overall tone and the plot as well.
In conclusion, editors are busy people, so keep your pitch/query short and gripping to capture their attention. And, ALWAYS, follow the publisher’s submission guidelines accurately.
- Tips from the Exisle Academy (EK Books).
A good pitch will not only get your manuscript noticed; more often than not it is the ONLY thing that separates books that have a shot from those that end up going nowhere.
The publisher will need to know the full concept. In a few words, what is your book about and what does it do?
Remember that salespeople have only seconds to sell your book to their customers. It’s vital that your concept can be clearly and succinctly expressed.
* The Exisle Academy is offering a comprehensive course for authors in getting your book published and succeeding as an author. Check it out here.
- Tips from Publisher and Head of Larrikin House, James Layton.
- Be original and age appropriate.
- No preaching. Just like in your story, let the message come through naturally. Don’t over-indulge!
- Show your good storytelling ability.
* Larrikin House are now offering a manuscript assessment service and one-on-one Zoom meetings with James Layton. Check it out here.
- Tips from literary agent, Justine Barker of Mayfair Literary Agency.
- Be interesting.
- Show the tone of your manuscript. ie. if you story’s funny, make your pitch funny.
- Show what’s at stake.
- Six Top Tips on How to Write Manuscript Pitches that Editors want to Read, article by Romi Sharp
Thank you to all of our contributors for the fantastic tips! Create a captivating hook, elicit an emotion in the reader, be marketable and share your voice. Good luck! 🙂
Click the link to find the Pitch It! Competition 2020 guidelines.
3 thoughts to “Pitching Tips from the Experts in the Know”
Great advice. Thank you.
As winner of the YA category last year, I found the prize of a manuscript assessment from Big Sky Publishing invaluable. It was so informative, and gave me the courage and inspiration to proceed. Thank you Pitch It!
Thank you for your wonderful feedback, Verity! Fabulous to hear! All the best with your writing xx