9 Steps to a Great Pitch – Step 2 : What do I need to say?

So you’ve signed up for a pitch session and you are pumped! This is going to be great! You are going to WOW the Agent / Editor / Fellow Writers and anyone else who is in earshot of your amazing pitch. Awesome!

So, what should I say? I could tell them about how it has been my lifelong dream to be a writer, or how I pound out 2500 words a day on my Paranormal Romance Blog, or how I’m ready to take on a major series of at least seven books.

Oh wait, I am pitching my book. Let’s start there.

Much like a query letter, a pitch is an opportunity to sell a publishing professional on your novel. Think of this as a business meeting to sell your book. The agent or editor is expecting to hear the following:

  • What type of book is it (genre and age)
  • A title (the title may change, but you need something they can remember and makes sense)
  • How long is your book (word count, not page count)
  • Is it complete (YES Please!)
  • What are some comparable titles? (Book titles)
  • What makes your book unique? (A new twist on…)
  • Who are you as an author? (debut or established)
  • Do you have a platform? (Is there a built in audience?)

AND, what is your book about?

All of that in ninety seconds? Yes, PLUS they want to hear about:

  • Who is the Protagonist?
  • What is the Inciting Incident?
  • What journey / conflict / challenge does your Protagonist face?
  • Where does this all take place?
  • What is at stake?
  • Why should I care?

That is a lot to cram into a short pitch. Oh and I almost forgot, they also want to hear your voice as a writer.

Holy moly! I can probably pack that into 5,000 words, right.

Wrong. The whole pitch should be between 200-250 words that you can deliver in 60-90 seconds, but let’s not get hung up on time or word count yet. Let’s focus on content.

It is time to get out a piece of paper and take some notes. Start out by hand writing the following sentence:

Good (Morning / Afternoon / Evening). My name is (insert name). I have completed (written if it isn’t complete) a (insert word count) (genre) novel titled (insert book title).

Example: Good afternoon. My name is George RR Martin. I have completed a 240,000 word Epic Fantasy novel titled Game of Thrones.

See that. In 22-26 words you have delivered the first line of your pitch. This line orients your audience and begins to focus their attention.

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