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Adjusting the pitch

In less than one month, I have to pitch Slow Burn to an agent at the National Conference in Orlando. Have to? Yes. Why? Because the whole idea scares the bejeezus out of me. That’s a sure sign I should do it. (NOTE: This only applies to those things that won’t actually kill me.)

Besides, it’s a good motivator to get the pitch written in case I meet an agent/editor in the elevator or at dinner and she/he says “Tell me about your book.” As much as I’d like to be spontaneous and unrehearsed, my usual response to this type of question is something between babble and nonsense.

I thought writing a synopsis was bad. You know, boiling the story down to 3-5 pages and keeping it interesting. Hah! A pitch is more akin to the query letter blurb that requires about 3-5 paragraphs, except it can be as short as 3-5 sentences.

The pitch based on Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (aka GMC) has been the easiest for me. Since I try not to start a book without identifying these three crucial pieces for each character, I had a pretty good handle on them. Still, putting them into a form that sells is the hard part.

I should have majored in Marketing instead of MIS.

I have several more types of pitches to attempt, and copious amounts of practice before I’m ready to head to Nationals. That seems like a lot of work for a ten-minute appointment, but really, it’s prep for the whole conference. After all, no matter who asks about my book, I don’t want to sound like an idiot.

I spend enough time fighting the dumb blonde stereotype. How dumb would I look if I couldn’t even coherently describe my own book?

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0 Comments

  1. Reply

    Just tell them your book involves 2 things… Just say these 2 simple words and you are in:

    Agent: “Hi Mrs. Hernandez, tell me about the book you are writing?”

    You: 2 words agent, Sexy Vampires!

    Agent: “I’ll be in touch” also do you know how I can reach Rich Ramirez aka atomic gator, he is the bee’s knee’s?”

    • Reply

      Ha! No kidding, Rich. Although, in the romance world, vampires are so last year. Now it’s angels, demons, and shape shifters. Who knew? Me and my sexy DEA agents don’t stand a chance… 😉

      And I’ll be happy to pass along your info, Mr. Knees.

  2. Reply

    Try these two words:

    Rich Ramirez

    or

    Atomic Gator, wait is that one word?

    Seriously, if none of the above work go with the ultra fail safe:

    Hi Mr. Agent my book is about: Gender Bender.
    Then say, I’m out and walk out fast yelling… Call my people.

  3. Christine

    Reply

    You will rock! I am working on my pitch when I get back home. Woohoo 🙂 I’m thinking about saying, it’s like a SUPER ROMANCE with tons of X appeal Mwah haha 😀

  4. Reply

    Gwen, I’d so much rather read your sexy DEA agent. I’m getting really tired of all the vampiredemonangelshapeshifter books. It’s the one main criticism I have of our industry – if ten books of a kind are good, them 200 of them must be even better. Remember what happened with Chick-lit?

    I just read a blog a few days ago that quoted editors as saying that while paranormals are still hot, they’re looking for a fresh twist.

    Now if you want to write steam punk…

    Good luck with your pitch.

    • Reply

      I know what you mean, Mary. With a few exceptions, I’m not a huge fan of paranormal. Not that I’d rule out writing one, but it’d have to be some fantastic idea that captured my interest, not what’s *hot*.

      I hope someday you’ll be able to read my sexy DEA books. 😉 Thanks for the encouragement!

      • Christine

        Reply

        I am sick of paranormals–they’re great, but I love sexy DEA agents, too 🙂

  5. Reply

    I can get what you mean by it being difficult. I haven’t made it up to the lofty levels of publication as of yet, but from my own experience, it is pretty tough to explain your book to someone who’s asking about it. There’s that whole feel and worry of putting yourself on the line and what people will respond with; or maybe that’s just me.
    I’ve never heard of the Goal, Motivation and Conflict way of setting up each character, I usually just do it for the main plot of the novel and I use the “X happens, but after Y can the character still accomplish X?”
    Sounds complicated but it’s easier when writing it like that. Of course, my experience is limited because I’ve only done a plot outline and the like for one book writing; ironically, this is the only one I have completed and am actually satisfied with!

    • Reply

      Yeah, JokiLoki22. I think it’s hard because as the author, it’s difficult to boil our own book down to its essence. We think every part is important because we wrote it, right?

      It’s great that you can write with a plot outline. I’m trying to be better at it. If you want to know more about GMC, it was the subject of my first post: http://gwenhernandez.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/goal-motivation-conflict/.

      It’s very similar to your “X happens…” approach. Good luck with your writing and thanks for stopping by!

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