Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pitch Perfect


Writing a killer pitch is one of the most important things a writer can do besides writing the best book possible. Those few lines may be with your book for its entire life, luring an agent to represent you, snagging a publisher to print your book and enticing readers to choose it.

Today I sat in on a sort of pitch session with an agent. I didn't have to leave my home office to do it.
WriteOnCon, the fabulous free online summer conference, offers chats and events with agents and editors all year. This time Natalie Fischer read through a ton of queries that had been sent in previously.

Her instant reactions are priceless as far as I'm concerned. Any writer, even an agented and published one, can learn by watching an agent tear through submissions. This is reality. There's not a lot of time, there are tons of people jostling to sell a book, and the agent has pretty much seen it all and has personal preferences.

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I applaud writers for putting their queries up for scrutiny in public. I did it last summer during the conference and learned quite a bit from the process. Many queries are quite good, and the stories sound interesting, but they get shot down because they sound too much like all the other books. This is something we all need to consider in a very competitive market. What makes your story truly unusual?

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If you missed today's live event, you can read the transcript. The any-time availability is one of the things I love about WriteOnCon. So what are you waiting for? Go read what Natalie had to say, and, while you're over there, check out this chat with Michael Bourret and Jim McCarthy. It rocked.

22 comments:

Donna said...

Well, I haven't found the transcript yet, but I'll keep trying. Thanks for letting us know about all these great opportunities.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Donna: When you clicked the link did you get a box that says Replay? You click on that.

LynNerd said...

Thanks, Tricia. I'm going to check it out right now.

Niki said...

Thanks, Tricia. I will add it to my favourites.

Wen Baragrey said...

Thank you for the links, Tricia! I'm always missing the Write On Con events because of timezone clashes, but they're so valuable! This one was great!

storyqueen said...

I reread the transcript. Very cool. I loved reading her "in the moment" reactions. And I could see why an agent would want pages submitted with a query...sometimes you just can't tell frpm the query...

And short is good.

Thanks for the link!


Shelley

Robyn Campbell said...

CRUD! I forgot. Dang it, anyhow. I'll have to pop over and check it out. I thought my pitch was done. But now I wonder. I sent it to queryshark. Who knows if mine will get posted. But I'm hopeful.

Heading over, Pat. (((hugs))) I need to email you. I will. Still in the bed, being lazy.

Bish Denham said...

Thanks Tricia! I'll have to check it out.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

LynNerd and Niki: Hope you enjoy it.

Wen: !!!! Did you see the one about reincarnation. I about fell off the chair.

Shelley: Yup, short is very good. And reading these does show so well how an agent would start to skip over stuff. Pages can show voice in a way queries never can.

Robyn: You sent to Query Shark? Oh, you brave girl, you. But I know you are brave as can be.
For anyone reading this who doesn't know Query Shark that's agent Janet Reid. Reading the queries she bites into is always amazing.

Bish: You'll be edified, for sure.

Donna said...

Okay, got it. The pre-session chatter confused me. Scary to see how fast a "pass" happens.

MG Higgins said...

Thanks for the info, Tricia. I'm going to check it out. I'd seen the writeoncon logo on your blog but hadn't clicked on it. Now I think I should have! Looks like it's worthwhile.

VR Barkowski said...

WriteOnCon is an amazing information source for writers. And since the word 'pitch' makes me break out in hives, I'm heading over there right now. Thank you!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Donna: Yup.

Mel: Really, it's so worth your time.

Viva: Live pitch would give me hives, too. But even getting it down in writing is tough.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Oh! This is wonderful! Thank you so much for posting this. I'm always missing these great events. Love that you post such important and helpful information.

nutschell said...

what an incredibly useful post. thanks for sharing the transcript with us.:) it'll definitely help me improve my own query.
nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Terry: Oh, you've got to check out these WriteOnCon chats. Sooooo good. :)

Nutschell: Yay, I'm glad you found it useful. The WriteOnCon gals do a fantastic free online conference in summer where you can post queries on the site forums, or attend agent chats or some query crits.

Kelly said...

I attended that as well. I liked seeing what her first reactions were to different premises and the query in general.

Jo Schaffer said...

I pitched an agent in person once and it resulted in a request. But I felt a bit like a deer in the headlights. Not looking forward to a repeat of that. (= Haha!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Kelly: Me, too. I'm awed how fast those reactions take place.

Jo: I'd trip all over my tongue, I'm sure. But at least if I get it down strong in writing first I might stand a chance. ;)

LynNerd said...

It was well worth the read and very enlightening. Thanks so much for posting it on your blog.

Talli Roland said...

Sounds invaluable -- thank you!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Lynn and Talli: Thank you both!