How do I ‘pitch’ my book?
Prepare and put yourself out there for possible publication
Photo by freestocks.org
Last month I asked you to let me know what topics you’d like covered in the newsletter this year. Thanks to everyone who offered great suggestions! This topic is one of those.
What is pitching?
There are increasing opportunities for you to pitch your manuscript to agents and publishers, both in Australia and overseas. Pitching means you have to distil the essence of your book into a set time frame (usually just a few minutes) or word limit and make it sound so compelling that your audience requests a longer synopsis and/or a partial or full manuscript.
How do you do that? You may wish to revisit my post on the ‘hook’ of your story. The hook is what makes your book compelling or unique and will be central to your pitch. Also think about why you are the author of this manuscript. Do you have a personal connection to the subject matter? Did you grow up reading the genre? And please make sure we know what the story is, not just the characters, the setting or the mood. I’ve had so many people pitch to me who convey a subject, an emotion, a passion, but I wouldn’t have a clue what the manuscript is actually about, what the story is.
Also pay attention to whom you’re pitching. The agents and editors will often be announced beforehand so do a bit of googling to find out what books they may have worked on and what they’re looking for. Sometimes you’ll find them on social media, sometimes they’ve been interviewed, and sometimes you’ll find other writers talking about working with them. Show respect by briefly acknowledging their work and how your manuscript might fit in their list.
Importantly, think about the tone of your pitch. You can be both genuine and professional. And you can be confident without being arrogant.
Photo by Anna Shvets.
How do you find out about pitching sessions?
Mainly through writing societies, writers’ centres and other organisations that you can join and get on their mailing list.
The main one in Australia is the ASA’s Literary Speed Dating, now run online. Priority registrations have just opened for the May session.
If you’re a crime writer, Sisters in Crime has often run them, so join and/or get on their mailing list.
Genrecon is closed for this year but get on their mailing list.
For romance and other genre writers, the RWA Conference often has pitching sessions.
Join your local state writers’ centre and check their emails.
Writers’ Festivals (such as the Emerging Writers’ Festival) also often run pitching sessions.
An event is often run via Twitter called PitMad. (Edit: a reader has informed me that PitMad has ended. I found this post listing other online pitch events in 2022.)
Keep an eye on overseas writers’ conferences; you might get lucky and find that some pitching sessions are held online.
Here’s a nonfiction one that runs online.
The Australian Writers’ Centre runs a course on pitching, if you want to know more.
I’m giving away one free pitch practice session! You’ll get three minutes to pitch and another ten minutes to receive feedback and chat. To enter, comment or reply to this post with the title of your manuscript by midnight Saturday 16 April AEST. If you’re the winner I’ll get in touch with you the following week.
Opportunity of the month
Island’s nonfiction prize is open for 2022, for a piece under 4000 words. The winning writer will receive $3000 and their work will be published in Island issue 165, due for publication in July 2022. Closes 22 April.
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Take care, and all good wishes to you and yours,
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