You’ll attend a writing conference, at some point in your career, with opportunities to “pitch” or describe your book to an editor, publisher or agent. This encounter may seem intimidating, but following a few key tips will give you confidence for a relaxed, successful presentation.
Pitching your book is not one-sided. Both sides of the table stand to gain: the publisher wants to buy a good book, and you have one to sell.
Prior to your actual presentation, research the bios in the conference program of persons you’ll be pitching to. Go further. Learn more about them on the internet or in professional guides such as Writer’s Market or Guide to Literary Agents. Plan your pitch to correspond to those interests.
You already talk about your book to friends, family members, and even to the person sitting beside you on an airplane. Although interested, these folks don’t have time to listen to the entire plot of your book, nor does the publisher.
In the trade, this abbreviated conversation is called an “elevator pitch.” This means that your story should be brief and concise enough to finish by the time you’ve reached an upper level floor of the conference hotel.
A successful pitch should only hit the high points. But which ones? What you say and how you present yourself are both important.
Be conversational; appear easy to work with. State the title, setting (time/place), intended reader, major character/protagonist and what they want, ways the antagonist blocks their way, and how they finally persevere. Show how your background, experiences, education, travel, or passions make you the perfect person to write and market this book.
Save two or three of the usually allotted ten minutes for any questions. Accept advice (priceless) and don’t argue. Be prepared to follow up if you’re requested to send a chapter outline, first ten pages, or synopsis. Restate the requested materials to avoid any misunderstanding. End with a thank you.
Marilyn H. Collins is known for her practical, hands-on workshops. She is author of local/regional history books, a series of Step-by-Step Writing Guides, and a wide-variety of magazine articles. She owns CHS Publishing and works with writers from answering their concept questions through editing their finished copy. Author, Speaker, Writing/Marketing Coach, Editor. Contact: https://marilynhcollins.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.