Monday, July 7, 2014

It's almost pitch time

It's almost pitch time at the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference in Sydney, in August.

Are You Ready to Pitch?

Most agents and editors want to hear pitches from writer's that have completed a novel. They aren't too impressed when a writer gets them excited about a manuscript only to find out that it is not finished.

Do Your Homework
Make sure you do your homework and find out about what each editor or agent is looking for. Find out what author's they currently represent, and if your work is similar.

Once you have found out what the editor or agent is accepting find out as much information as you can about the agency or publishing house. Some personal information would be good as well. Do a Google search for their name. Some agents and editors are on social media sites, and some also run a blog. Most publishing houses  also have a list of their in-house editors with a few paragraphs on what they are seeking. Be sure to check out their company profile and history. 

Are you prepared to explain your story in one sentence? A one liner.
If you know your story and your characters, this shouldn't be too hard. There isn't enough time to explain every plot twist or everything about a character. Time is valuable.

After your introduction, your pitch should go something like this.

My story is about......character.......that wants......goal..........but can't because.........conflict.

Be Professional.
Turn up ten/fifteen minutes before hand. Do be neatly dressed.

The Pitch
Turning up with pages of information is not only distracting, but also time consuming. All you need is perhaps one small note card listing the major plot points and characters to refresh your mind in case it falters. (Which it will not if you know your story)

Your one liner.
Once you are past this point, your intention should be to prompt the editor/agent to ask questions about different aspects of your novel. Don't be nervous. Editors are human beings. I've met some lovely editors and agents over the years. Usually three chapters are requested, but some do request a full manuscript. Meaning, via email and not on the day. So don't worry, have fun and good luck.
How do you know if you don't try? J