Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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July 13, 2010

Pitching Your Book

By Charlotte Carter 

If you’re a writer, sooner or later you’re going to have to pitch your book to an agent or editor. If nothing else, you want to be able to tell your spouse/sibling/co-worker what you’re writing. 

And you need to keep it short. All of the above have a very short attention span.

Naturally, I have some suggestions that should help you. 

First, buy Lori Wilde’s “Conquering the High Concept,” which is available at her Web site: www.LoriWilde.com  ($25 U.S.) Her book is designed to help writers when creating a new story, but it works fine after your story is written. Using her techniques, you’ll come up with a 25-word ‘log line’ describing your story. (Even my brother can pay attention that long.)

 Or you can use Dwight Swain’s technique found in Techniques of a Seller Author.

Every story has 5 basic elements:

  1. Focal character
  2. Situation - what moves the character to change
  3. Objective or goal
  4. Opponent - person, force or any antagonist
  5. Disaster - what threatens your character or his goal.

Putting these 5 elements together you can come up with a paragraph that tells your story. Here’s the result I got when developing my pitch for Montana Hearts, my December 2010 inspirational romance from Love Inspired.

 A heart transplant recipient travels to Montana to thank her donor family and falls in love with the organ donor’s widower. But does he love her for herself or because he believes his late wife’s heart beats in her chest?

That’s it. No extra details. A quick pitch I can do in an elevator (while traveling only a floor or two).

The key is brevity. Don’t ramble. Don’t go on so long the editor (or your brother) glazes over.

 Hope this helps. Good luck!

Charlotte Carter
Books from Love Inspired
     Montana Hearts, December 2010
     Big Sky Reunion, May 2011

 Visit my blog:  www.CharlotteCarter.com

0 comments on “Pitching Your Book”

  1. Charlotte, this is great! Pitching is my least favorite thing to do (besides writing a synopsis)...thank you for breaking it down into smaller steps for those of us who have Pitching Phobia.

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