Walt Gragg had the incredible experience of signing with an Agent two weeks after pitching them at ThrillerFest. You can read his whole testimonial here.
He was kind enough to share his full pitch with Novel Pitch. The pitch is wonderful and the built in tips and structure are worth reading twice.
By Walt Gragg
Here’s the pitch materials I’d memorized for PitchFest (remember that I made sure I had more than 3 minutes prepared so I could adjust every pitch and in none of the pitches did I use all of this).
Walk up, smile, shake hands. Sit down. Start pitch.
“Hi, I’m Walt Gragg and I’ve written a military thriller. Before we start I’d like to first thank you for being here today.” (Add any personalized comments that play off the agents’ bios whenever possible)
Introductory statement: “Given recent events in the Ukraine I believe I have something quite timely.”
FINAL ACE pitch. “So here’s my pitch…What happens when the overwhelmed Americans find themselves in a war of incredible intensity after a massive Russian surprise attack during the next Cold War?”
“My bio is especially appropriate for having written such a work. I’m an attorney and former state prosecutor. Prior to law school I spent a number of years in the military. I am a Vietnam veteran. My time in the Army involved many interesting assignments including a tour with the Green Berets. I served at United States European Headquarters in Germany where the idea for THE FINAL ACE took shape. In this assignment I was privy to the actual plan in place at the time for the conduct of the defense of Germany. While there, I also participated in a number of war games that because the basis for many of the novel’s events.”
“The novel is called THE FINAL ACE. While it has strong political elements, those elements are secondary to the telling of 5 intertwining tales of the American soldiers caught in this sudden nightmare. These include a cavalry platoon sergeant whose men are the first hit by the surprise attack. A Patriot missile team fighting to save their lives and protect the Americans’ critical assets. A twenty-year-old Cuban-American airman who waits behind a powerful machine gun in an isolated position at American Air Force Headquarters in Ramstein as thousands of elite Russian paratroopers attack. A communication specialist at American European Headquarters who is forced to leave his wife and eighteen-month-old son at a Russian first-strike target while he heads for London to set up a secondary American Headquarters. And a M-1 tank commander in the 3rd Infantry who as his friends die around him begins to realize he had no chance of surviving the conflict.”
“Rather than trying to tell you in my own words why you should want to represent THE FINAL ACE, I thought a better approach might be to provide you with some comments made by test readers, published writers, and industry professionals. I’ve been told THE FINAL ACE is truly one of a kind, unlike anything out there in both substance and style. People tell me this is a story that stays with you for a very long time. Readers say it is very powerful, very alive. The action is frenetic and never stops. The pages fly by and there are lots and lots of “wow” moments. It has taken second place in 2 writing contests. In both I received very favorable comments from the judges. One of the judges was Tom Colgan. After reading the entire manuscript, Mr. Colgan described THE FINAL ACE as “incredible” and even went so far as to call me a “remarkable talent.”
“I want to be clear that this is not another work that in anyway glorifies war. It is, in fact, quite the opposite. This is a story about the true realities of such events. My purpose is not only to entertain but to also give the reader the opportunity to pause, reflect, and discuss. And while this type of story is not one women typically read, there are strong elements that just might allow for significant crossover.”
“Thank you so much for speaking with me today. If you think this is something that might be of interest to you, I would like to send you the manuscript.”
Walt Gragg Georgetown, Texas