For many authors, whether traditional or independently published, pitching is a difficult part of what we do. Pitching isn’t exclusive to publishing, of course, but for our purposes, I will limit this post to how it relates to authors. When you pitch your book, you are essentially selling it- to an agent, a publisher, a reader. It is also something many authors find to be one of the most difficult parts of the job. It is something of an art form. I know it is one of the things I find difficult. It’s hard to distill a whole book into a short presentation.
There are different forms of pitching. One of the most difficult is the elevator pitch. The idea here is that you are in an elevator with an editor, and you have until he gets off on the next floor to sell him your book. That gives you time for two or three sentences. Two or three sentences for thousands of words? Not at all easy.
Another type of pitching is when you have an actual meeting with an agent or editor. Here, you may have more time, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier. You can go too far and overwhelm your audience with too much confusing or conflicting information, and that can hurt your chances.
And then there is the pitching you do to your potential readers. Whether you are talking to someone in person, at a book event, con, or just in normal conversation. This type includes the blurbs you publish with your book- back cover copy, descriptions with the ebook listing, and the shorter blurbs you might use in a social media post.
There was a recent Twitter thread by writer, producer, and director Ed Solomon on pitching. It’s wrapped in the context of his job which usually involves direct meetings to pitch an idea, but there are things in here that can help everyone. You can read the thread here:
I think the thing that stood out for me in that thread was making the focus not on the bullet points of the plot or idea, but on what it is “I” love about it. What made it exciting to work on, what spoke to me and got me excited about it.
The other interesting thing was thinking about the other person, which I think would have more value in face to face situations. For example, take that elevator pitch scenario, where you are talking to an agent or editor at, say, a con- you have a couple minutes at most to get your pitch in. This other person is busy- he’s got other places to go, other people to meet, and he’s given you these moments to talk about your work. Don’t waste his time. Same for the in-person with a friend or potential reader at any event. They don’t want an in-depth discussion. They want to know why they should buy your book.
I don’t know if any of this will make pitching an easy thing for me. I, like many people, am not entirely comfortable talking about me. But, just maybe, taking the focus off that and putting it on the things that excite me about the story will make things a little bit easier.
On presale now and coming in December 2018: Two’s Company, a sci-fi novel in the space opera tradition.
Medusa “Deuce” Grainger is smart, confident, and as good a pilot as she is a poker player. A freelance shuttle jockey working for an independent terraforming company, she’s left her former life, and her father, behind. Mostly.
Now, her AI has downloaded another Personality off a wrecked ship, and he’s acting oddly ever since. Someone wants to sabotage her friend’s company out of business, evidence of tampering is being corrupted, and people have died. With an investigation looming that could shut down the company and cut off her main source of income, it’s up to Deuce to figure out what’s going on, and how all the pieces fit the puzzle. Along the way, she reconnects with an old friend and discovers someone is stalking her. Deuce will need to connect all the dots fast, because more lives are at stake than anyone suspects.
Learn more here, where you will find links to the presale.
Two’s Company is listed on Goodreads. If you like what you see above, I’d appreciate you adding it to your Want To Read list. Thanks!
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