Recently Nathan Bransford talked about the importance of having a minimum of three different pitches on his blog and my friend Stephanie has been practicing it with her books on her site.
It’s good advice and I’ll be more than happy to steal the idea and run with it using my latest book “The Pizza Diaries” as an example.
The one sentence pitch:
I found out the hard way this is the most important pitch after a book is published. When “Invasive Thoughts” was released the publisher sent my back cover summary to all the newspapers in town. For the next two weeks I searched in vain to find my press release. After some back and forth emails with an incredibly nice and patient editor over at Lexgo I found out that most newspapers want a two sentence Press Release about a book, one sentence about the author and one sentence about the book. He wrote up a pretty good one that I have been using for my press releases. On “The Pizza Diaries” I want to get a head of the game by writing my own one sentence release first. Here it is:
“A delivery driver’s life is thrown into disarray when Aliens, bent on taking over the world, open a rival pizza place and he discovers exactly what their secret ingredient is.”
Hopefully that contains enough information to get someone interested in learning more.
The one paragraph pitch:
The one paragraph pitch is something a writer needs about halfway through writing their book. Because every writer has faced this conversation:
Writer: I’m writing a book.
Other Person: What’s it about?
This is an excellent chance to get someone interested in your book, but when you’re juggling all the characters, plot lines, and themes its easy to lose sight of what the book is about and start babbling incoherently. So it’s great to summarize it into one paragragh:
“A delivery driver’s life is thrown into disarray when Aliens, bent on taking over the world, open a rival pizza place and he discovers exactly what their secret ingredient is. Now, he and his time-traveling girlfriend must get his regular customers made up of Devil Worshipers, Shape-Shifting Demons, Vampires, and Zombies to help him defeat this menace if he wants to keep his job.”
This gives the listener a chance to decide if it’s something they might be interested in and ask follow up questions that you can answer by babbling incoherently.
The 2-paragraph pitch:
There is a rumor in the publishing world that agents ask for queries not because they like to have their inbox’s filled with 100 to 300 emails a day and have a psychotic need to spend every morning filtering the spam from the queries, but because they actually read the queries in hopes of finding an author they would like to represent and earn money that way.
Now who knows if this rumor is true, but I have gotten quite a few personalized replies from my queries so even if this rumor is false at least I can look forward to some nice emails by using this system so I wrote a 2-paragraph query:
“Brian was just looking for contentment in his life, and thought he found it. He was perfectly happy delivering pizzas to Devil Worshipers, Shape-Shifting Demons, Vampires, and Zombies. His life got even better when that time traveling babe he rescued told him they would be lovers in the future.
But his happy carefree life is destroyed when Aliens bent on taking over the Earth open a rival pizza place in town and he discovers exactly what their secret ingredient is. Now he must use everything he knows about his hometown to stop them from taking over the Earth and more importantly, keep his job.
THE PIZZA DIARIES is my 70,000-word horror/comedy novel with extra toppings of love and destiny.”
That’s actually three paragraphs but the last one just has technical information.
Hopefully getting this head start will help.
Darrell B. Nelson author of “Invasive Thoughts”.