THE WIND-UP…AND THE PITCH

A baseball player pitching a ballI’m more of a first base or right field kind of guy but tomorrow I’m pitching. Not the kind with nine innings (although our local pro team could use a lot of  help). Instead, I’ll be pitching two of my stories to separate literary agents in a 10-minute live pitch format.

I did this once before and got a request, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I’m more prepared this time around, treating it like an infomercial, selling a stranger on a product they must have.

I’ve collected some great advice from the experts. I hope you find it helpful.

“No matter what genre you’re writing in, you have to be able to show why your story is different and why that difference needs to be read.” (FROM HOW TO PITCH A LITERARY AGENT)

My stories aren’t about a boy wizard, but if they were I’d better have something unique or it most likely would be turned away. Having read a ton of middle grade books helped me develop a plot and characters never seen before. Now I just have to convey this information in a clear and concise way.

Using the blurbs on the back of novels as a guide write up a pitch of your own. Make sure to state who your hero is, what his goal is, why he needs it and what’s stopping him from getting it. Focus on the conflict at the heart of your book. You absolutely cannot go wrong with this formula. (FROM HOW TO PITCH YOUR NOVEL AT A WRITING CONFERENCE)

In the first two sentences of my pitch, I reveal who the MC is and their conflict. If you aren’t aren’t clear on this part, your story is not ready for the world.

“Allow your unique voice to shine through so that readers will get a sense of your style, and let your elevator speech “breathe” so that readers get a real sense for what you are offering. Read your description out loud to hear how it sounds, and revise until it’s perfect.” (FROM FIVE STEPS TO WRITING A KILLER ELEVATOR PITCH FOR YOUR BOOK)

I’ve practiced in the car, shower, walking the dog, to anyone who would listen. The poor guy at the door selling his bug extermination services didn’t know what was wrong with me. My critique group has heard and reacted. After several weeks of this routine, I’m more than ready.

Keep it short. Brevity is your friend! Just because you have three minutes (or 5 or 10) doesn’t mean you should take up all the time. Never talk for as long as possible—it can take a mere 15 seconds to deliver a convincing storyline. The longer you talk, the less time the agent or editor is talking. You want to hear their feedback and reaction (FROM HOW TO PITCH AGENTS AT A WRITER’S CONFERENCE).

I get ten minutes with each agent, but my pitches last just 60 seconds. I want their questions to drive the direction and outcome for my session.

So… here I go. Unlike pitching in baseball, I’m not looking for a strike out. I’m hoping for a grand slam!

****UPDATE FROM THE DAY AFTER: TWO PITCHES/TWO REQUESTS!!!

*******************************

I’ll be back Monday with another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot on the walkway, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com

(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)

You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
This entry was posted in Literary Agents, Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to THE WIND-UP…AND THE PITCH

  1. Sending you all my good wishes for your pitches, Greg! Sounds as if you’re well-prepared. Best of luck on this new challenge.

  2. Good luck with your pitches this weekend, Greg. Glad you have a critique group. Will look forward to how hearing your comments on Monday.

  3. Fingers crossed for a home run!

  4. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    Good luck with your pitches! You definitely seem prepared to do well.

  5. Antoinette Truglio Martin says:

    Positive energies sent your way. Very exciting! Looking forward to seeing g how you felt and the outcomes. Go get ’em, Slugger.

  6. Thanks for all this wonderful information and great links. I will be sharing this post on my blog. Good luck with your pitch.

  7. Pitching! My least favorite part of the writing experience. But practice does help.

  8. Hope your pitching was successful!

  9. Pingback: WRITING DAY WORKSHOPS | Always in the Middle…

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