Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Perfect Pitch & Other Great Resources

What is the perfect pitch?

That's the question both my son and I ask ourselves. His perfect pitch would probably be one that strikes out the batter. My perfect pitch would strike up a deal with an agent or publisher.
My son pitching for the Stanford Junior Cardinals

Writing the perfect pitch is much like baseball. Good pitching takes practice. The perfect pitch, whether it be baseball or writing, can be broken down to five component skills:

A pitcher must grip the ball properly before throwing to get good velocity and control. As a writer, our pitch must be gripping! You want to lead with a compelling first line to entice the agent or editor to want to read more.

The pitching motion begins with the windup. It's the preparation for a good pitch. Writing a pitch requires you to know your main character, his/her wants, the enticing incident, its hook, and the stakes. Kathleen Temean goes into detail on how to write a pitch for your book.

A baseball pitcher knows that a long stride makes the ball go high; too short a stride makes the ball go low. When writing a pitch you don't want to tell the whole story, just enough to peak the interest. Too long of a pitch and you lose the reader or listener; too short and you can just forget it. A pitch should be about 50 words or a about a 30-second read. If you are participating in a Twitter pitch, you are limited to 140 characters. Know your stride.

Whether its baseball or writing, a perfect pitch is in the delivery. You want to deliver an efficient and effective pitch that will hold the attention of the agent or editor. Show your enthusiasm and confidence without being boastful. Be yourself and let your voice shine verbally and on paper.

Following Through
It is important to keep the momentum. When an agent responds with "tell me more," you owe it to yourself to be competent in your own story. You should be able to identify comparable books and explain why yours is different. Show the agent or editor that you are qualified to write your story.

Below is a list of my favorite resources to help you write the perfect pitch:
My son  pitching for the Little League, Yankees

How to Write a Pitch by Kathleen Temean
Kathleen shows you how to write a pitch for you book and shares a few types of techniques you could use to spice up your pitch. 

Writing the Perfect Pitch Author Kristen Lamb invited Marcy Kennedy, writer and WANA instructor, to guest post on her blog on writing the perfect pitch. Here she breaks it down into four meaty parts and gives explanations and examples.

How to Write a One Sentence Pitch
Author Nathan Bransford shows you how to share the heart of your book in just one sentence using three basic elements. This is great practice and comes in handy for giving verbal pitches. 

Difference Between a Pitch and a Hook by Susanna Leonard Hill
Susanna Leonard Hill, childrens author, explains the difference between a pitch and a hook and gives examples. Her blog is worth exploring. Susanna has a weekly feature, Would You Read It, posted on Wednesdays. It is a chance for writers to try out pitches for their books. 


[Thank you to Rena Traxel Boudreau for sharing the wonderful world of Carissa Taylor on FB Sub-It-Club]

Twitter Pitch Loglines: Recipe Ideas by Carissa Taylor
Carissa gives us the recipe for a good logline. Here she lays out some samples or logline formats that you could customize to your story by filling in the blanks. 

March #PitMad Requested Pitches 
#PitMad on Twitter
Carissa Taylor gives us a list of Twitter pitches from the #PitMad held earlier this month that received requests from agents. These are successful pitches, categorized by genre, that you can study as you prepare for you own pitch. Because I write things related to picture books, I thought you'd like to know that of the 236 manuscripts that got requests, 5 of them were picture books.

Pitch Generator by Carissa Taylor
For fun, you can try this pitch generator. It asks basic information about your story and characters and with a click of the mouse, it will generate several pitches for you. I tried it out and I wasn't able to find one that was worthy to use. Nevertheless, it was interesting and fun. I could still tweak the pitches a bit to make it work for me. Try it out. 

And in case you are in a position to pitch your book verbally, read this:

Pitching at Conferences Dos and Don'ts
Literary agent, Jean V. Naggar, attended many writers conferences. In doing so, she had compiled a list of dos and don'ts for conference attendees looking to pitch their book. It is a guideline for writers so they don't mess up on an opportunity.


Hope this helps. If you have other resources regarding writing a pitch that you find fabulous, please share in the comment section.
My son's hang-out


  1. Thanks for a nice, concise post on this topic along with some resource links, Romelle! I also read some good instructions on how to write a pitch in Deborah Halvorson's book, "Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies."

    1. Thanks for stopping by Teresa. I will have to take a look at Deborah's book. I'm always looking for great resources!

  2. Love this pitching analogy and the pictures, too!

    1. Thanks Jennifer! I know, it may have been a stretch (a 7-inning stretch, pun intended) but I had fun with the analogy. It was a good excuse to share my son's pictures.

  3. Great analogy! :) Great resources, too! :)

    1. Thanks, Erik. I wish you lived by us. That way you and my son can hang-out in the hopes that your interest in writing can rub off on him. I believe you are the same age.

  4. Great post romelle! My problem is the "show your enthusiasm without being boastful." I'm too humble to pitch. Must work on that!

    1. Humbleness is a great quality to have, Lauri. Your enthusiasm will show naturally when you believe in your writing. I believe in YOU. :)

    2. I believe in you too, Lauri. Both you and Romelle have such infectious writing voices, it would be a shame to deny children the joys of reading your books. Pitch it strong, the both of you.

      Brilliant as per usual, Romelle. A spot on analogy very cleverly delivered!

    3. Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot, coming from you. I think of you highly. I consider you and Amy my mentors. :)

    4. Oh my! I think Amy would agree, we are just faithful cheerleaders. Thank you for your kindness. It means much to us both.

    5. Thank you, Romelle. Lori is correct. We are faithful cheerleaders, minus the short skirts and high kicks.
      We're all in this process together. We're all learning and sharing -- that's the magic.

  5. What a good article, packed with lots of good information, thank you. I was sick of pitches about 2 months ago, but now gearing up for another go at it. The idea of a pitch generator sounds like just the thing to 'restart' my engine.
    I love your SCBWI badge, I have to get one since I belong too.

    1. I thought the badge is a nice touch. Yes, you should add one to your blog. #Pitmad is tomorrow so rev-up your engine, Mona!



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