Pitch: The Secrets Nobody Tells You

Today we are going to talk about pitch — that dreadful thing.

Before going to the WLT Conference, I read that I should practice my pitch, and that was good advice. But what agents expect from a pitch?

Google didn’t help me much. The information out there — at least what I found — is evasive, or too abstract. But I will be straightforward, and share what I learned at the conference.

  • The 3 C’s 

Your pitch should contain three elements (the three C’s): character, conflict, and color.

    • Character: Give a bit of your character’s personality, and his/her context.
    • Conflict: Your hook. What changes in your character’s life?
    • Color: Your flavor. What makes your story special?
  • Pitches come in different shapes

First, there is the 30 seconds pitch (or elevator pitch): It should have 3 to 4 sentences. Use this pitch when approaching agents informally. They don’t have much time, and they won’t listen forever, so get to the point.

And there is the formal pitch. If you paid for an appointment with an agent, you have about ten minutes, so you can elaborate more.

In my appointment I rushed through the 4 sentences I had prepared, and when I was done, the agent was nodding, expecting more — and I was not ready for that.

Be prepared for the unexpected. Have different versions of your pitch, so whatever happens, you can roll with it.

  • Filter your feedback

You should test your pitch with fellow writers before pitching to an agent, but do not change your pitch at every suggestion.

For example, I pitched a man, and he told me I should focus more in the criminal aspect of my book. I made the same pitch to a woman, and she told me she wanted to hear more about the romance in the story.

People have different opinions. There is no right and wrong; you have to filter.

Who is your audience? What is your book genre? My book is women’s fiction, so I listened to the girl’s advice.

  • Agents are not created equal, but there are some general rules

Some agents take business cards, some agents don’t. Some agents hate when you compare your novel to movies, some agents don’t care. Just understand that they are people, and that they perceive things differently.

But there are some general rules:

    • Don’t say anything personal that is irrelevant to your book. Example: I have a PhD in physics. Is your book about physics? No? So I don’t care. Don’t brag… See the picture? That is how you look when you are bragging.
    • What genre the agent is taking? Don’t pitch to an agent that doesn’t take your genre.
    • Don’t argue with the agent.
  • Last tips:

Try to relax. What is the worst it can happen really? They might say no… big deal.

One gold tip: when querying agents, don’t forget to mention that you were at the conference. Even if you didn’t have the opportunity to pitch that agent in the conference, mention that you were there. It makes a difference.

Was this helpful? Share your thoughts! If you pitched before, tell us about your experience. If you liked this post, please comment and tweet. 😉

Are publishing houses going to adapt?

How are you doing? Has been a while. I went to the WLT Conference, and that is why I didn’t post anything. I was obsessed with my manuscript; the idea of going to the conference without something at least finished freaked me out.

But! Now I have so much material for new posts! The conference was amazing: I learned, I met wonderful people, and had a great time.

So, enough rambling, let’s get to the point. Today’s post is about something I heard in the session “The Ties That Bind: The Author/Agent/Editor Relationship” with David Patterson of Foundry Literary + Media, Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and author PJ Hoover. What I heard made me rethink my possibilities.

In the conference much was said about the changes in the industry, how things are shifting, bookstores are closing, and the printed book is dying… sounds sad, but it is just evolution. We have seen the change; eBook is taking over, the statistics are there for anyone to Google. (I really recommend this post by Laura Lorek; she made a wonderful job summarizing Jane Friedman keynote luncheon: “Is the book dead? Who cares!”).

I believe and embrace the change, but when I heard that P.J. Hoover’s debut YA novel was independently published by Andrea Brown Literary Agency something clicked.

One thing is you, a normal human being, decide to self publish a novel; another thing is an author with an agent representation to independently publish a novel. This person had a choice.

That doesn’t make you wonder about the relevance of a publishing house in this time of changes? Not that I think publishing houses are going to disappear, but they must adapt. Publishing houses used to be the only door for a writer, but no longer.

It is great news for writers and readers. Writers now have options and prices are more accessible to the reader.

Lara Perkins publishing manager for Laura Rennert said:

“What’s happening in publishing now is very exciting, and authors, agents, and publishers all have some fantastic new opportunities. Authors in particular have been empowered by these new changes, and all authors, published or unpublished, should pay close attention to the changes happening in the industry because these changes have a direct bearing on what will happen to to their work in both the short and the long term.”

You can check the full interview on P.J.Hoover’s blog.

But what do you think of this? What does it means? For me it is exciting, how do you feel? Post a comment and let’s talk about it. 😉

P.s: I read Solstice by P.J. Hoover and it is great 😉

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