Book Pitches fall into three categories:
Elevator Pitch: is a thirty second to one minute spiel you do while walking the hall or riding from one floor to the next in an elevator. They typically consist of three sentences. You will get a quick yes, no, or, if you’re lucky, the agent will have questions and a little time to ask you them.
Longer Pitch: is a three to five minute pitch. You use these at a scheduled face-to-face appointment with an agent/editor/publisher. They typically consist of six sentences and are an expansion of your Elevator Pitch. Always try to leave yourself room at the end of the meeting for questions from the agent.
Query Letter: yes, this is a pitch, and the longest of the three at 250-words (or one single spaced, letter format, typed page). These can be an expansion of the previous two types of pitches, and include an author bio. They mailed/emailed to the agent and have the longest wait time for replies at about 4-8 weeks depending on the agent.
Walking into the PNWA 2011 Summer Conference, I thought I had a solid pitch and query. Then I started talking to other writers and listening to them practice their pitches. And for the first dozen or two of people who pitched to me, I passed on the chance to pitch mine to them, because everyone else’s pitch sounded so much better than mine.
I had pitch envy! Book envy! And more than anything, confidence envy!!!
And then something happened.
I decided I was a novice among other novices and I wouldn’t get any better if I didn’t pitch to my ‘co-workers’. And hell, at this point I didn’t even know if my pitch was rubbish or not, because I was the only judge of my work. Most writers are their own harshest critic, and that is so true of me.
So, I sought out people who wrote in the Fantasy genre, both young adult and adult, and I pitched, and I pitched, and I pitched.
I quickly became one of the pitch-addicted authors of the conference that I had snickered at upon arriving that first morning.
My pitch went through several rounds of editing before it echoed in an agent or editor’s ears.
But yes, I did finally pitch to 4 agents, one of which heard my query letter beforehand, and one editor/publisher.
And I can honestly say, I was disappointed to not receive one rejection J
Happy Reading. Happier Writing.