‘If you want to be a successful published author, you have to be your own best advocate and that starts at mastering the pitch.’ Hazel Flynn, publisher.
I will be the first to admit that writing queries are not my forte, however I have read a lot of dos and don’ts regarding this hair-pulling writing exercise so I’d like to share what I’ve learned.
Purpose of the pitch
While it’s often a case of easier said than done, the pitch is meant to pique the agent’s interest in your story so they will want to know more. It is a brief explanation of what your book is about.
Profile of a pitch
A pitch shouldn’t be longer than 250 words. In a few short paragraphs the writer has to give a sense of the main characters, show the conflict, the setting, genre and word count. It should be written in third person present tense regardless of the style your book is written in.
Tips for pitches
Publishers are taking fewer risks these days so it’s worth spending quality time to get the query right.
If you can’t get a handle on your central theme, how can anyone else? You need to show you have a clear vision.
If you have a great concept, you need to make sure you can show you’ve put that concept into a solid story with conflict and a character arc. A book won’t sell on the concept alone.
The spoken pitch is very different to the written query. Make sure you have both prepared—especially if you are heading for a conference. And practise that spoken pitch so you can avoid the stutters and show confidence.
The sub-plots aren’t as important in the query. Removing them for the pitch makes it easier to find that central driving theme of your story.
Can you add any more tips for writing the eye-catching query?