Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Perfect Pitch

For Inside the Publishing World Wednesday I am going to take a look at pitches. No, not baseball, writing. I am using notes I took at the 2011 PNWA conference from Janna Cawrse Esarey's class, writing your pitch. Janna is the author of the memoir, The Motion of the Ocean. She used reference materials from Jandy Nelson's "Perfect Pitch" from in Making the Perfect Pitch by Katharine Sands.

What is a pitch? A pitch is a very brief spiel that describes your book in a very clear and interesting way.
There are two types of pitches, the elevator and sit down. The elevator pitch is used in informal situations and is brief, usually less than a minute. It includes 2 or 3 sentences about your book. The sit down pitch is used during an actual meeting with an agent or editor. It runs around 6 sentences and can last up to 2 minutes.

What are the different parts of a pitch? The very first sentence should include your title, genre, audience and word count. Second is the set up. Who are the characters and what is happening to them? Next, include your conflict. What is the problem your hero needs to overcome and what is standing in their way? Finally, give your resolution. This wrap up should evoke emotion or contain a big concept.

Janna gives some great advice:
1. Be precise about the book and where it fits in the market.
2. Do your research before hand.  Know some comp titles.
3. Do not tell the story step by step. Do tell the set up, conflict and resolution.
4. Do not talk about your books at arm's length. Use active verbs and immerse the audience in your book.
5. It doesn't hurt to write using a character's specific voice.
6. You can't include all of the characters and plot lines. Choose one thread and make it sing. Be clear and concise.
 7. Know what big concepts your book addresses. For example, love, loss, hope etc.

For more info visit Janna's website

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