Thursday, August 12, 2010

Everybody Pitches

It's true. Outside the novel writing world its called a resume, or a sales presentation or a job interview.  That's what a pitch is, a job interview, not for yourself, but for your manuscript. While we writers would all like to just say "take a look, you'll like it," that's not how this buyer's market works.

I have heard writers complain about their inability to digest their five hundred page epic into one or two paragraphs suitable for a query or a pitch session. I've said it myself - if I could tell a story in less than 80K words don't you think I would and save myself months of aggravation?

But the logline, the query, the pitch - these are all necessary skills. And the pitch you make to an agent or editor at a conference or the query you send out is just the start of a long chain of pitches. You pitch to an agent. He or she pitches to editors. In turn, they pitch to senior editors and their companies marketing department. The chain elongates as marketing pitches to customers. Not the men, women and children who eventually pick your book from the shelves and buy it. They pitch to bookstores and libraries where shelf space is at a premium. To book clubs and schools. Places that are selective about the new books and debut authors they take on.

So your pitch is just the start. Remember that as you develop, hone and practice the words that will make that first agent or editor sit up and grow interested. Think about all those words have to accomplish to get your work published and placed on bookshelves or where ePubs and and other online bookstores would list it in their catalogs.

So sharpen and polish your words and start the chain off in a powerful and enthusiastic manner.

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