Perfect Your Pitch

by Carol Lynn Stewart

Tips for Pitching your Manuscript

  • Fall in love with your characters. If you aren’t excited about your work, why would an editor or agent be excited by it?
  • Practice! Do this with a friend who does not know what your book is about, not a critique partner.
  • Have a two or three sentence “high concept” (i.e. Hollywood) summary of your book.
  • Have a “back-cover blurb” of your book memorized. Look at the back of several books to see how others do this.
  • Breathe! Take a deep breath before you sit down to pitch. Breathe and use your breath to relax your body while you are waiting for your appointment. This way, you will be relaxed and ready and your demeanor will show that. This will be pleasant for the agent or editor. It will put them at ease, too.
  • Start with your name, the title of your book, and the two-sentence high concept summary. This will capture the interest of the editor so they are in listening mode.
  • Continue your pitch with your back cover blurb. Remember that you don’t have much time to sell your book. You can expand slightly, but remember that you are giving them a short synopsis. It covers not only the plot and characters, but the ending of the book.
  • Show your excitement about your book! This will engage their interest.
  • Leave a little time for questions from them.
  • Have a business card that reflects the kind of books you write. Give this to them with a smile, saying you appreciate their time and look forward to sending your partial to them (they usually ask for a partial. If they ask for the whole book, go out and celebrate!!).
  • Do not be attached to the outcome. Editors and agents can take a long time to get back to you. Start the next book, if you haven’t already done this. Keep a file of your meeting with them so you remember who they are if they happen to call you a year later (this happened to me!).
  • Keep writing!!!

© Carol Lynn Stewart, 2005