An excellent opportunity is coming up for writers out there with finished novels ready to practice their pitches. Brenda Drake is hosting a fantastic event along with the folks at Entangled Publishing on July 16th called the Entangled Mega Pitch. See her blog for the details here.
I know, I know. Blech! Pitches are worse than queries, you’re probably thinking. I used to think so, too. But recently I’ve forced myself to work on my query – and apparently after getting some mixed feedback from the Surprise Agent Invasion Contest, I really needed the practice. I tell you, after I kicked and screamed and held my breath and then actually sat down at my computer and then banged my head on my keyboard in frustration trying to write a query that anyone even liked, I finally started getting some positive results.
Mind over matter.
I really had to stop thinking that I couldn’t write a query and look at what a query is supposed to convey. It’s not supposed to tell us the entire plot of the novel, it’s supposed to give us the feel of the novel and entice us to want to read MORE.
Nathan Bransford boiled it down to “When X happens, your main character must do Y in order to Z”. Here’s a more detailed blog post he did called Query Letter Mad Lib for those who need help unraveling the beast that is the query letter. Actually Bransford’s site is a veritable cornucopia of useful information that all serious writers should plunder on a regular basis.
Once I finally felt I had conquered, or at least had a fair grasp on the query situation, another challenge beckoned – the The Writer’s Voice Twitter Pitch. Now I had to get my novel across in even less words? Are you crazy? Still, I thought I needed to be able to talk to people about my novel without rambling on like a blithering idiot, a rather awkward memory of just such a situation happening recently popped into my head. I shuddered, then realized I had to try it.
This one hurt my brain even worse than the query, but I did manage to eek out an entry just under 140 characters in time to participate. The one thing that shocked me during the manic activity of the twitter pitch was seeing some writers that had so many variations of their pitch. Seriously? They managed to come up with more than one workable pitch THAT SHORT? What was I doing wrong?
I needed more practice. And to stop being so rigid at how I was looking at my pitch. Trying out several different ideas and angles can sometimes be inspiring and help you find the one that really works best. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at both. I think these contest are great places to practice out your pitches and get some good feedback to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Recently someone asked me what my book was about and I sent them my elevator pitch. They were not only impressed that I had an elevator pitch ready off the cuff like that, but they also thought my pitch sounded like something they would want to read. Not that this was any guarantee that at the next social gathering I won’t blather on like an idiot about something, but at least it won’t be about my book.
So what are you waiting for? Brush up your pitch and give it a try! Hope to see you at the mega pitch!