Howdy, guys! Pitch Madness is on the horizon and I'm teaming up as a reader with the fabulous Naomi Hughes for The Red Team.
First off, I suggest you go check out Naomi's website. She is a kick ass freelance editor, agented author, and an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing, so she knows her stuff like the cat's pajamas!
We've got the honor of reading for the inimitable Brenda Drake and the kick-you-in-the-pants amazing Kimberly Chase. Go check them out on the Team Listings!
Before we get started on my pitching tips for the event, I urge you to go and check out the books by these wonderful ladies. If you want to know how to make your writing sing, your blurb tap-dance, and your characters spark, their writing will certainly show you how!
Oh and you'll want to check out the Agent List too! Now there's some ripe picking there!
Now onto the pitching tips... En garde...
1) Make your stakes super clear and specific. The most important part is how specific you make your stakes. Things like "the world will end" "she will die" "everything will be lost forever", etc are not specific stakes. You want your reader to know how heart-wrenching it will be for THIS character if they lose the ONE thing that matters to THEM. Lack of specific stakes it the main thing that makes me pass on a pitch.
2) Highlight your conflict. What is the ONE thing standing in your character's way that will stop them from getting their heart's desire? Again, be specific. And make the conflict almost insurmountable. Big conflict means big drama means big investment from your reader.
3) Remember to show the agonizing choice of your character. They must make a decision to tackle the core of the plot conflict. Show what this is and how terribly difficult it is going to be.
1) Have no character name. DON"T do this. Give your pitch a warm touch by letting us know who it is about. If we don't know, we can't care.
2) Use so much tricky, pun-laded, clever writing that we can't see the pitch. Yes, a dash of clever or a sprinkling of smart writing is awesome but if it gets in the way of understanding what's happening, then it's going to be a pass.
3) Vagueness. I'll say it once and I'll say it again - do not be vague. Remember, the person reading your pitch will know nothing about your book, so don't assuming anything. Don't assume we'll know that "hexitaks" are an alien race, or "Jamie" is a girl not a boy, or that magic is common place in your world. Tell us.
And that's the main three dos and don'ts on my list. There is a lot more to look for in a pitch, but these will make the difference between whether I pass or whether I put it in my yes pile.
Stay tuned for my tips on the first 250 words!!
And best of luck!