Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Pitch your pitch - it's back!

Would you like the readers of this blog (and me) to help shape your pitch, that tricky paragraph that goes in the covering letter and hooks you a fabulous agent and/or publisher? Well, we've done that on this blog before and we're going to do it again. Hooray!

Here's what to do:
A. First read some of the previous posts about pitches and hooks. For example, this one and this one.
B. Second, read the post about 25-word pitches here, and at least some of the 117 comments!
C. Then, if you'd like us to help with your pitch, do this:
  1. Email your pitch paragraph to me at, in the body of the email, not as an attachment.
  2. In the email, tell me whether you want your real name used, and tell me what genre the book is and, if for children, the age range.
  3. Make sure that your pitch is as good as you can make it, following these guidelines:
  • every word must count
  • it needs must-read factor, in keeping with the genre
  • it should focus on the main character (if fiction)
  • it must be specific and not general - eg not "it's about redemption" but "it's about an angry young man who...because...and then"
  • it must indicate how the story ends or at least where the journey is heading
  • it should not contain rhetorical questions
  • the tone must reflect the tone of the book
  • it must be objective and therefore contain no praisey bits. You cannot say "beautifully written", for example. Though you can say "fast-moving".
  • your target word count is as close to 160 words as possible
  • in essence, your aim is to make someone who would normally read and love this genre be desperate to read this book :)) 
Hook 'em with a pointy hook!

I usually get a lot of people sending pitches in for this so I can't promise to include yours. What I do promise is that I will not set you up for failure, in the sense that I won't put it on the blog if I think you are going to get mostly negative feedback. My blog readers are an incredibly supportive and sensible bunch and feedback has been of high quality but sometimes I feel that a pitch isn't really ready for public scrutiny and then I won't put it up. But if I don't put yours up it might be just that I didn't have space! I also try to vary the genres.

Meanwhile, today I am wearing my red pointy boots at an award ceremony that Wasted is shortlisted for. It's called the RED award and personally I think I should win simply because the cover is red. And so are my boots. What more does anyone want??


JO said...

Red wine?

Good luck with the award - hopefully we'll all be raising a red glass with you later.

Sally Zigmond said...

Oooh, exciting. Best of luck, Nicola, but even if it doesn't win, it flipping well should. Not that I'm biased or anything.

Laura Mary said...

Oh Nicola... I should be busy packing, but I can't resist the challenge!!!
Will be in touch...

Elizabeth Dunn said...

Nicola, I have red cowboy boots and they are the best darn thing I ever laid eyes on. Worthy of many, many awards. Go red! (Will pitch)

womagwriter said...

Good luck re that award!

Nicola Morgan said...

I won! Seriously! *dances and waves red boots around*

Thanks to those who have sent pitches already - it will be a while before I can get to them as I'm struggling after moving from PC to mac, but I will always let you know before I use your pitch, so you will have a warning.

Laura Mary said...

Woo! Congratulations! Never underestimate the power of red shoes...

Elizabeth Dunn said...

Serious congrats.

Joy said...

YAAAY!!! 'Red' rules! Well done, Nicola, well deserved :D

Was going to submit a pitch, then remembered I already did *heh* ... shame ebay don't sell replacement, working brains!

Nicola Morgan said...

Thank you, everyone!

Joy - I see you've got a WOLF in your picture! Hooray for wolves!

Margaret Morton Kirk said...

Does this mean we can soon look forward to 'Perfect Your Pitch' becoming an e-book? :) I'd be first in the queue to purchase, that's for sure!

Kirsty said...

Hi Nicola - sorry if I've missed it - when is the last date for this?


Nicola Morgan said...

Kirsty - there's no last date. It's ongoing. It's just that every now and then we have a rush of them. In fact, next week I'm putting one pitch up every day! But just send yours whenever you're ready. But remember: no promises. Sometimes there are just too many.

Nicola Morgan said...

Margaret - nice idea but I think it would be a short book!

Kirsty said...

Ok - thanks. Will see what I can do but expect nothing. Just getting it done will be a great start anyway ;o)