Since some of you reading this may be pitching projects to agents and editors at Stokercon in a couple weeks, I thought I’d offer some tips on pitching.
Three Sections to the Pitch Technique
First is the one-sentence tag (This is a horror thriller that is very much Freddy Krueger meets Rambo). Then the slightly longer explanation (This is a story about an ex-military black ops captain who stumbles into a nightmare world where dreams can kill you, and it's presided over a devil-like creature who feeds of peoples' fears.)
Then be prepared to give a two-minute summary of the plot, detailing the hero's ups and downs in the story, any major subplots, how he finally wins (or doesn’t), and why this story is going to attract readers – what makes it different from others in the genre.
In a way, your pitch is a lot like a verbal cover letter. (And this technique can be used to create an effective cover letter, too!)
And, because you've done your homework, you know what the agent/editor is a fan of and what works they've previously bought and published, you can use those insights in your pitch.
Here are some resources I use in my Writing to Publish class when we practice pitches:
How to Pitch at a Writers’ Conference: https://www.janefriedman.com/pitch-agents-writers-conference/
Crafting an Irresistible Elevator Pitch: http://graemeshimmin.com/creating-an-irresistible-elevator-pitch/
Video – How to Pitch Your Book to a Literary Agent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hweAQTUiyQ
Video: Let’s Write a Twitter Pitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMJlCjg2sZ8
I really like this last video because a lot of agents and editors take pitches during designated pitch weekends on Twitter – see https://pitchwars.org/pitmad/ – and pitching on that platform requires a different style.
NOTE: This mini-article is reprinted from the last newsletter I sent out. I include a couple original articles like this in ever issue of my newsletter, most of which I don't reprint anywhere else. If you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter, you can do so here: https://timwaggoner.com/contact.htm