Friday, September 25, 2009

Preparing a Book Pitch

Hello and happy Friday all,

Today's post is about how to prepare for pitching your book. For those who haven't pitched before, it means taking a 350-400 page book and compressing it into a few paragraphs--the character, what they want, what will stand in their way, why this matters.

Not an easy task. (And I must confess, I need to finish mine by this weekend. What am I doing? Writing a blog post, while successfully procrastinating on my actual pitch because it's driving me crazy to write it.)

I start with a blank page and start writing. Who is the protagonist? While query letters, book pitches, back cover copy, etc. often use the full character's name, you can also use an adjective and noun to accurately describe a character more than their name. For example, an "obsessive-compulsive dog trainer" gives one a better image than "John Smith."

Next, what does the character want? This one can be a toughy because the character often wants a specific goal (external, such as winning the Olympics) and something within himself (internal, such as getting over his self-esteem issues).

Next, what will get in his way? The best fiction puts your character up a tree without a way down, and the book is how they get themselves out of the tree. There's more to play with when the character must undergo many obstacles in order to wrangle himself free. So what's the conflict, what stands in his way? Many times this can be another character.

Putting all these items in a high-level yet informative few paragraphs in order to pitch your book takes time...and it determines whether anyone will want to read the book.

Sigh. It's not my favorite part of the process, but it must be done. I usually mesh various sentences from my brainstorm listing, and somehow (often without knowing how) a pitch or blurb appears amidst the muck.

Now I must go, for by the end of the weekend, I've vowed to not be blurbless. Wish me luck, and good luck with any pitches you may be prepping for too!



Scott said...

Thanks so much for this very timely post. OMG, I needed this since I'm currently struggling with my book pitch. : )


The Writers Canvas said...

Glad to be of help! I thought I was simply procrastinating, but it's good to know it helped others too!

Good luck to you too. It's a tough part of the process and unfortunately, a huge part in getting interest for the book.

Thanks for commenting!

Willena said...

How'd the pitch session at Moonlight and Magnolias go? Anybody ask for a full?