"Pointers from the Pros" gives tips from authors and publishing industry professionals on everything from craft to querying to their experiences on the road to publication.
**I'm bringing over some of my series posts from my old blog, so this is a blast-from-the-past post for those of you who have been with me since Wordpress.**
I spoke at the 35th annual Southeastern Writers Association conference in beautiful St. Simons Island, Ga., in June 2010 and took copious notes at the sessions. Although I couldn't go to all the faboo classes, I'm sharing some tips from some of the ones I was lucky enough to attend.
Here is what the 2010 Agent in Residence, Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency's Katharine Sands,* had to say about what she calls "pitchcraft" (the writing you do about your writing) in her first session of "How Not to Get an Agent."
- Everything is the result of some kind of pitch, from what you wear to the kind of shampoo you use.
- Something must take place in the reading of the pitch---a question must develop in the reader's mind (this is "pop" or "alchemy") or agents won't read on.
- The decisions you make about the way you pitch will travel: Agent uses your pitch to interest an editor, editor uses your pitch to discuss marketing with publishing houses, etc.
- Your pitch needs to answer the question: "Why does the world need this book?"
- You are more AND less interesting than you come to realize in terms of pitching (more: the more one learns of you, the more one gets to know you---less: what beginners usually share first is what the publishing industry doesn’t want to know).
- They don’t want to know about your writing process.
- Don't pitch more than one project at a time in the query (shows you're an amateur/you lack focus).
- Don't discuss movie/sequel ideas in the query.
ELEMENTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR PITCH
- Place---Where are you taking the reader?
- Person---Who's the star of the story?
- Pivot---What's the crisis/event that starts the story in motion?
- If you don’t see these elements in your pitch, agents won’t either.
- Include voice & tone.
- Ask yourself: Where is there a gap in the market? What’s fresh? The minute your intro is fresh, you have your POP.
- Specify that you’ve written a manuscript, not a book---because what you've written is not a book yet.
SPECIFIC TO HER
- Some agents don’t like questions in a query. She doesn’t necessarily agree---says they can be very effective.
- She says you can put a blurb in a query letter, if you have one---anything that sets you apart.
- She recommends you query widely so you don't miss out on an opportunity for the right person to fall in love with your writing.
|Sands's takeaway tip on pitching - from HAMLET: "Readiness is all."|