Welcome to #NaNoProMo 2019!
Let’s talk about your pitch today.
The publishing world is a struggle. With agents receiving multiple submissions from multiple authors, it is easy for your manuscript to get lost in the author’s proverbial nightmare: the “slush pile.”
As a publishing company and as professional book reviewers who request a pitch, often times we see the author sending us things like reviews or rewards the author’s book has received. This is not what an agent, publisher or book reviewer wants or needs immediately when asking for a pitch.
Recently, FyreSyde Publishing has been working to open up submissions to help authors looking for representation. Though we do not require agents (yet), we do expect an elevator pitch prior to receiving a query letter.
For #NaNoProMo 2019, we are delighted to bring authors a better understanding of what a pitch is, how you can properly write an elevator pitch and provide some steps on how you can write an award-winning pitch that can land you an agent.
What Is an Elevator Pitch? Is it Different Than a Regular Pitch?
The answer to this is a resounding yes. Think of it this way – you are on an elevator with a stranger you notice likes to read a book in the same genre you write in. You have only seconds to tell this potential reader what your book is about. This is what is known as the Elevator Pitch. It should be done in no more than a few words max.
What does it do?
It gives the potential agent or publisher a glimpse into what they can expect from your title before they even ask you to query.
Some good examples of this can be found via this article at Jerichowriters. Below is the elevator pitch for one of our author’s books:
Blessing of Luna: Non-human male MC meets a beautiful wolf shifter, falls in love and gets involved in the darker part of her world.
You can tell who the MC is, mentions he forms a relationship but is in for more than he expected which is the story at its most basic. It’s also something you can tell someone in that short elevator ride. You might not be asked to pitch this way too often but it’s something to keep in your bag of tricks. We have been asked many times to pitch our titles this way at conventions.
If that’s an Elevator Pitch, What’s a Regular Pitch?
A pitch is actually just a bit longer and more in-depth version of the elevator pitch. It is the very heart of your story and in some cases, can be used when writing your book’s description. You want to really sell your book to the agent or publisher and avoid the dreaded “slush pile.”
For your reading convenience, we have broken down the essentials an author needs to include in order to construct a killer pitch. At the very end, we will include some helpful articles you can refer to when writing your very own pitch.
- What is your story about?
- What can the reader expect from your book?
- Tell the potential reader why they should want to read your book? What makes it different?
- Make sure it’s free of grammatical errors, misspelled words and unneeded details.
- At the very end, really sell yourself. What awards have you won? Are you a bestseller? (Don’t worry if you have none of these, you don’t have to add them)
What Is Your Story About?
An agent, book blogger or publisher needs to know what your story is about. Award-winning author Tomi Adeyemi, author of Blood and Bone offers some amazing insight on how to do this by breaking down the synopsis of the popular Lion King. This is not the time to ramble; make it short and sweet.
FyreSyde usually prefers at least 150-200 words of summary. It might be less if you choose to go with another publisher. Be sure to check with them as we all have our own preferences.
What Can We Expect From Your Book?
As authors and book bloggers ourselves, FyreSyde wants to know what we can look forward to when reading your pitch. In a world of fiction, tell us when the story is set, paint a picture of your world for us, let us know the exciting plot we can look forward to. Knowing this often really sells your book because it gives a short tease of the plot.
Why Should We Read It? What Makes it Different?
Publishers, bloggers, and agents see many requests for manuscripts, reviews, and queries. At FyreSyde, we need to know what makes your paranormal romance book different from the ones we’ve reviewed (and we’ve reviewed many). If your book is going to leave us with a certain lingering emotion, we want to know. If it has a delicious plot twist or a cliff hanger, tell us. Something we’ve found that helps sell books is when someone tells us titles we can relate to.
For example, one of our team members is an avid Harry Dresden fan. If your book is like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, you might write: “For fans of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden.” A tip: try to get to know a little bit about who you’re pitching to. Research what titles they publish or their upcoming titles. It could give you a glimpse as to how to formulate your pitch.
Check for Spelling and Grammar (This is Important)!
Nothing and I mean nothing impacts the first impression for an agent or publisher more than poor grammar, spelling, missed words, and typos. I am sure you’ve heard “You never get a second chance at a first impression.” Well, this is one of those times.
If your pitch is full of grammar or spelling errors, there is a big chance it could get tossed out without further consideration. FyreSyde is very selective and if we received an unedited pitch, odds are we won’t even consider working with the author. This is a business for us as well and often it is our reputation on the line too.
Take great care. Read your pitch aloud, have a friend look at it or if you know an editor, have them look at it. You don’t want to be rejected because you didn’t make your pitch as strong as it could be.
Sell Yourself: Awards, Bestseller, Etc.
While we at FyreSyde don’t really consider awards as a basis for choosing who we work with (in some cases), other publishers and agents may want to see who they’re working with. If you have won some awards, received best-seller status or some other magnificent thing, go ahead and add it in.
You wrote your book, are holding it in your hand and won over your peers. Celebrate that! If you don’t have anything like this, it’s more than okay. Like I said, not all agents or publishers look at these things. Our review team doesn’t really consider awards as a factor in what we review. A tip: If a book blogger asks for a pitch, don’t rely on awards to get them to review your books. It’s most likely not what they’re asking for, but rather an actual pitch.
If you found this helpful be sure to look into these other articles when formatting your pitch. They may help you:
- How To Pitch A Literary Agent by Tomi Adeyemi
- 5 Steps to Writing a Killer Elevator Pitch
- How to Write an Elevator Pitch
Also, we would love to see your pitch at FyreSyde as we are accepting a few submissions.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line [ATTN:] Submission Inquiry – Title & Author Name.
A coaching call ($60 value) and chapter revision service ($100 value) for up to four chapters.
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All comments must be left prior to midnight on Monday, May 6th, 2019 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Tuesday, May 7.
Blaise Ramsay is the owner of the small press FyreSyde Publishing. A graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas after years of writing history papers, Blaise is no stranger to writing.
After spending fifteen years in the conceptual art and character design industry, Blaise found a new love in writing short stories. In 2017, she embarked on achieving her first National Novel Writing Month, winning with her debut novel Blessing of Luna, a paranormal romance set in the world of the Wolfshifters. The sequel in the series, Bane of Tenebris is due to release July 20, 2019. FyreSyde Publishing was born due to this title.
In 2018, she won her second National Novel Writing Month with the supernatural thriller, Sealed Darkness.
When she isn’t devoting her time to FyreSyde Publishing, Blaise loves to spend time gardening with her two kids, husband and business partner, John, a crazy cat and a lovable pooch.
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