Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Pitch is Back

Romance Magicians Carla Swafford (Circle Series), Lexi George (Demon Hunting in Dixie Series) and Heather Leonard discuss how to (and how not to) pitch your book to literary agents and editors.

Share your advice with us on pitching to agents and editors.


Cari Hislop said...

That was brilliant! What a good idea to practice with other people/in the shower. I hadn't thought of that.

Lisa Dunick said...

Now that I'm reading slush and looking at subs, I can give this one piece of advice:
Don't tell me that you aren't any good.
So, don't say that this is your first book, that you "eek out time to write," that you've never done this before, etc.
None of these things inspire confidence.
Fake it 'till you make it.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Amen, Lisa! Some people don't understand how to market themselves. Not only don't you blow yourself up out of proportion, but you don't run yourself down either. You can write yourself right out of any chance that way.

Carla Swafford said...

You're so right, Lisa. People think they're being modest, but instead just plants the idea in the editor/agent's mind.

Meda White said...

I have a question. I mostly write Category Series. Is it okay to pitch the entire series or should the pitch be about one book only?

Carla Swafford said...

Every editor I've heard answer that question says, pitch the first book. If they like it a whole lot, they will ask for more.

Chris Bailey said...

This is such a lovely production. I treasure all the bits of advice, and I think I'm going to go watch again just for the comic parts. At times, I couldn't believe what I thought I heard.

Question: I've been told, for the bio, to focus on what's pertinent to the novel you're pitching. My interpretation of that is to assume that my degree in journalism and my xx years of corporate writing is not even relevant. What's important is the life experience that led to the development of these particular characters in this particular conflict. Do y'all think I'm interpreting correctly? Or am I, once again, behaving with all the judgment of a golden retriever?

Carla Swafford said...

Chris, if I understood your question right, here's my answer.

There are times where it is important to mention your experience in regards to the novel, if it applies. If you're a doctor or nurse and the book is a medical drama. If you're a lawyer or police officer and the book is a crime story.

But if your job/hobby/life experience has nothing to do with the research part of the book (I'm not an assassin, and despite what anyone alive says, I do not have the experience), no need to mention it.

BUT again, if you have experience in writing (any type, technical or journalism degree--especially if you were a reporter or worked in that field) it doesn't hurt to mention it in the bio section. You never know. A past experience for that editor may be her best author has the same degree, and she may believe you're worth looking at little deeper because of it.

I hope that helps a little.

Lisa Dunick said...

The big thing w. the bio is just to not look ...unhinged in any way. Honestly, I barely pay attention to the bio unless it's a Then I might have second thoughts about working with someone. I'm a member of RWA and if your professional life matches the book-- that's really about it.

Ali Hubbard said...

Love this and the comments were really helpful too. I'm actually more concerned about coming across as cold. (um, I may have had that feedback a time or two. haha). I'm awkward around new people and so the advice to practice makes sense. One more thing to build confidence and come across as warmer.
Domo arigato,
Mr. Roboto