life, writing

I Feel a Like Pitch

Imagine you are a publisher and I meet you for a business meeting. I’m there to pitch my latest novel to you in hopes you’ll publish my story. You’ve heard every example as to why someone’s novel is best fit for your company to sell millions. What in the world could a short, middle-aged woman tell you that could grab your attention in the first two sentences?

Below are three pitches I’ve constructed. Imagine me looking you in the eye (my eyes are big and brown, in case that helps) and hearing my voice, (I have a Chicago accent, if that helps), and listening to the pitches I’ve posted below. I’ve labeled them A, B and C. Beneath the pitches is a poll for you to vote for which you like best. I’ve also added another option for “none of the above.” Keep in mind, the pitches are similar. My biggest concern are the opening lines, which I’ve changed in each one. Which of the first paragraphs would grab you the most?

I am attending a writer’s conference in a couple of weeks, so I appreciate the help.

~~~~

Pitch A

Two women find themselves in decaying marriages. Both women meet other men. One chooses the other man the other chooses to face her decaying marriage and work on their problems.

In the novel The Road to Whitaker’s Place, Ava and Meg Whitaker are married to brothers. Their marriages are riddled with dysfunction. Their husbands’ manipulative sister, Jocelyn, is the cause of a lot of their troubles.

Ava and Meg find refuge with one another and form a friendship. Except, they each keep some dark secrets. Neither of them mentions the other men that come into their lives.

Do their choices help them to find happiness in the end?

Pitch B

How would you react if someone you admired told you that you were just like the person who annoyed you the most? Since you admire them, would you take them to heart? Or, would you get mad?

In my novel The Road to Whitaker’s Place, Ava Whitaker has this very thing happen to her. The comment hurts and confuses her, but it is only a tidbit of the problems she is facing in her relationships. Her husband, Alex, persistently sides with his manipulative sister, Jocelyn. This causes so much trouble in their marriage, it tempts Ava to find solace in the arms of another man.

Meg Whitaker is married to Alex’s brother, Mason. In the midst of the crazy Whitaker family dysfunction, Ava and Meg find refuge with each other and form a friendship. Except, Meg keeps some dark secrets. She too, finds herself on a road into another man’s life.

Both of these women have to choose. Will an affair help them to escape the heartache of their decaying relationships? One of them chooses the affair, and the other chooses to face the issues head on. Only time will tell if their choices result in their finding happiness.

Pitch C

Ava Whitaker’s husband, Alex, persistently sides with his manipulative sister, Jocelyn. This causes so much trouble in their marriage, it tempts Ava to find solace in the arms of another man.

Meg Whitaker is married to Alex’s brother, Mason. She has multiple troubles in her marriage, one of which includes the intrusive sister-in-law, Jocelyn. Meg also finds herself on a road into another man’s life.

In the midst of all the crazy Whitaker family dysfunction, Ava and Meg find refuge with each other and form a friendship. Yet, they fail to mention the other men in their lives.

In my novel, The Road to Whitaker’s Place, Ava and Meg struggle to make sense of the rampant dysfunction in their marriages. Both of them have to make a choice about these other men who come into their lives. Will an affair help them to escape the heartache of their decaying relationships? One of them chooses the affair, and the other chooses to face the issues head on. Only time will tell if their choices result in finding happiness.

 

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24 thoughts on “I Feel a Like Pitch”

  1. I am voting for Bitch P—ha ha ha! I am laughing so hard I can’t type. I mean Pitch B. Please don’t take my advice to heart, but I like the part about being like the person who annoys you the most. HOWEVER, probably most people don’t want to know that. 😉

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    1. Ha, ha, Bitch P. I’m so glad you picked that one. It was my favorite too, and I had planned on using it. But, after the reaction of others, it dawned on me that not everyone is willing to face their demons. I can’t ask that when I pitch, but it is what my main character learns … that she is just like the person who annoys her the most. Now, what does she do about it? The entire novel is filled with learning and introspection. It’s what a publisher would need to know, but I’m going to have to highlight the conflicts that cause her to to so. I appreciate you understanding why I started that pitch that way. Thanks for letting me know.

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  2. I like C. Just make sure you don’t repeat yourself or the information. Don’t say the same thing but with different words. And, when you pitch and query, you don’t end with the “what will happen” questions. It’s not a back of the book blurb, agents and publishers deserve the ending upfront and will reject queries that don’t have the ending. I know it’s thought that it’s a hook, but you hook them with the whole story, ending included. It’s not the same as with a reader. I’ve been told this by several agents and publishers speaking at conferences.

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    1. I know you have experience with this, Angela, and I appreciate you sharing this info. I wondered if I needed to share how the story ends with a pitch. Of course, I wouldn’t put the ending here, but wasn’t sure about a pitch, so I’m glad you mentioned it. I think I found an even better opening line. I might share it next week. Thank you for your input.

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      1. Yes, my first query was a face to face pitch at a conference to an agent I was responsible for. She rejected it and I had to spend the rest of the weekend making sure she had everything she needed, including driving her around town. It sucked. LOL. What genre is the book? Does it have a HEA? Are you just looking for an agent? Or have you emailed queries to publishers too? Don’t forget to punch it up with sharp words. Use strong words to convey their misery and main problem. And, how important is Jocelyn? Is she really, truly the crux of the story? If not, I wouldn’t mention her. When I wrote my first query I included all the characters, which tends to drain the punch of the main plot.

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        1. Boy, that agent sure lost out on a good writer in you. Sheesh, and you even had to drive her around. My novel is contemporary women’s fiction. It’s not really romance, although there is some of that. I’d say it also falls under the category of a family saga. Ava, Meg & Jocelyn are the main characters, with importance in that order. Jocelyn is the antagonist who sticks the wedge in their marriages, especially Ava’s. Your questions may have been rhetorical, but I thought I’d answer in case you had any other input.

          Unfortunately, the list of publishers and agents at this conference don’t seem to have an interest in women’s fiction. But, I hope to attend a workshop where we pitch to a panel who will give us critiques and advice on our pitches. If I have to do it in front of a bunch of people, I don’t want to sound like a moron. Heh.

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          1. In the end, I’m glad she rejected me. We wouldn’t have gotten along very well and I would have ended up having to fire her. Towards the end of the weekend, I knew our personalities didn’t match.

            I’m sure you’re not going to sound like a moron. lol. And, I’m certain you aren’t going to be the only one in that room that’s going to be nervous or think they did it wrong. Pitching is hard, so is querying, but the silver lining is that once you’ve done it a few times, it gets easier. Good luck!

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            1. For sure, it worked out for the best with your publisher. You are right where you are supposed to be. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Angela.

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  3. I’m also going with Pitch C and think that the third paragraph may be the one you want to start with. With so few words to describe so much, I think most agents and editors advise hitting the crux of the story at the beginning.

    You might also want to check for places where you can cut a few words or use stronger verbs. For example, you might start that third paragraph with “In The Road to Whitaker’s Place” and drop “my novel.” It’s probably a given that you’re pitching a novel, so you can save two words there. And maybe “She has multiple troubles in her marriage” could be changed to something like “Troubles abound in her marriage.”

    I wish I had your courage in doing something like this! I’d be such a nervous wreck, I doubt I could go through with it! 🙂

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    1. Well, the truth is, I haven’t seen any publishers or agents in my genre that are going to be at the conference. So, a pitch may not happen, but I’d like to be ready just in case. Thanks so much for your input, JM. It’s much appreciated.

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    1. Hey Aussa. I wondered if someone might not like me asking that rhetorical question. I’m glad you mentioned it, so I know it might be a problem. Thank you for coming over and helping me out with it.

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  4. My preference is for Pitch C; I would like it more if it started with paragraph 3, because that tells me that the novel is really about the bond of friendship between the women, and the craziness in their lives is how they get there. That’s a book I’d read! Hope this helps, Lori! xoxoM

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    1. Thank you for letting me know this, Miss M. I need to fix it then, because the crux of the story is not about the Women’s friendship, but about the growth that occurs within them from all they go through. The choices they make causes them to face their own flaws and grow. Their friendship may or may not remain in tact through the growth process. I thank you for your input. These comments will help me hone my pitch.

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  5. These are all good, but I’ll pick C as my favorite. The first two paragraphs are more specific about what’s at stake. Specificity is good.

    I do agree with the first commenter that you might want to have a super-short pitch prepared too. Some agents want less than 25 words. They prepped us for that at ThrillerFest before we pitched to agents, so the night before, I was scrambling for a 25-word pitch. Most agents just let me talk, but I noticed eyes can glaze over after the first handful of words, so we have to get the bang in first. If they like it, they’ll ask us to elaborate. Of course, every agent is different. Luckily, at least the ones I encountered, were all very nice, and it was not a painful experience at all. Good luck!

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    1. Hey Carrie. I really appreciate you sharing your experience. None of the agents or publishers that will be at the conference work with my genre (women’s fiction), so I probably won’t be pitching to them. But, they do have a workshop where we’ll have to pitch to the class. This is something that I hope to attend in order to help me with two things, how to pitch, and how to speak in front of a group. 😛 I know you understand that one. Thank you so much for your input.

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  6. You give away the essence of your novel in all of the examples.

    In my humble opinion, I would probably keep it to two sentences.
    “I am writing a novel about two middle age women, married to brothers. The story covers the choices they make and the dynamics of a dysfunctional family.”
    I doubt this is good enough and it has been a while since I pitched anything, however, I doubt the world has changed. Less is more.

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    1. Hey Linda. None of the agents or publishers that will be at the conference work with my genre (women’s fiction), so I probably won’t be pitching to them. But, they do have a workshop where we’ll have to pitch to the class. I appreciate your input on this. Thank you.

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