Tales in Publishing: Draca Pitch
One thing I notice authors struggling over is creating an (elevator) pitch--the short 1-2 sentence phrase to hook an agent or publisher to entice them to ask for a query letter or manuscript submission. On Twitter, there are pitch parties where you post your pitch with hashtags that show the genre and age category. If a agent/publisher likes your pitch, you are to follow their submission guidelines and go for it. Basically, it is an easy way to get noticed. And I'll tell you something: it's so much easier to have them come to you than for you to go searching and querying them. Downside? Not all agents or publishers participate and there seems to be a lot of competition.
Despite the downsides, I found two publishers through pitch days. After a couple years of querying--somewhat successfully with a handful of full requests, three R&Rs, and one almost deal--I broke into the book industry because I wrote decent pitches. Obviously, I had to have a good query and novel too, but the pitch got my foot in the door. To help others, I'm continuing to make example pitches for my novels even though they are contracted; they also make great social media advertising blurbs so this is not a wholly selfless act. Here's my pitch in red with notes to follow.
Toury and Alex saved the world, but can they repair a torn kingdom while their personal lives are in shambles? Rebels, dragons, and betrayals galore--just another day of court life.
First off, this is a sequel in a series, so it recaps the first book. However, in all pitches try your best to get in the main characters in, as well as the main conflict(s), what is at stake or what there is to lose. Well, I put a lot in with few words; since my books are always complex, this can be difficult. The stakes are whether their personal lives can be mended, including their relationship, and how the entire fate of the kingdom is going through the same exact thing. Basically, we're starting at the bottom for my characters despite wining the day last book. I give you the conflicts next, "Rebels, dragons, and betrayals," so the reader can see the problems that need to be addressed. Last, a touch of personality and originality usually turns heads. I made it that way with "just another day court life" to give it a sassy sarcastic tone to echo my characters and the mood of the book--although these are serious subjects, expect some fun and comedy along the way to lighten it up. Throughout, you want word hints to the genre. Yes, on pitch days you get to hashtag them, but shouldn't your pitch be all encompassing? This is not adding more or hard to do but comes down to word choices. This is an upper YA/NA fantasy romance so "personal lives" usually alludes to relationships--whether it be family, friends, or romance and "dragons" gives us fantasy. You can tell it does have a dystopian and historical feel with "Rebels" and "court life," but these are merely parts and not fully the genre.
Obviously, there are missing components, but a pitch is meant only to give a little teaser to leave them wanting more. Your query will cover all vital info, then when they request your manuscript, they get it all. Hopes this helps. Give pitching a try. You never know.