When I hear someone talking about giving a pitch, I think they mean they’re going to pitch a story to an agent or editor. However, last Saturday I attended a meeting for a start-up Sisters-in-Crime chapter where the program was to be “Pitches,” and discovered what we’d be doing is “Pitching” our books to the other members.
Thank goodness, since this was my first time in attendance, I brought my four mysteries with me. (Just in case someone wanted to see them.) I also lucked out by being one of the last ones to give a “pitch.” That allowed me to hear how others did it. In truth, pitching to other writers isn’t that different from pitching to an agent or editor.
Actually, we are always giving pitches. Every time someone asks, “What is your book about?” we give a pitch. Every time we contact a book store to see if they’ll handle our books, we’re giving a pitch. Every time we post a book announcement on Facebook, put the cover and a quick summary on Pinterest, or write a tweet asking others to check the book out, we’re giving a pitch.
One thing I learned last Saturday is I need to work on my pitches. I need to write down the really important features of each story, the aspects that would appeal to my audience. I say “appeal to my audience” because a one-size-fits-all really doesn’t work.
Each audience needs to be thought of as an individual.
You need to consider what would appeal to this person/this group? For example: A Killer Past has a 74-year-old protagonist. If I’m talking to a group of teenagers, I might say something like, “My bet is Mary Harrington isn’t like any of your grandmothers. But then again, her 18-year-old granddaughter had no idea her sweet grandmother could put two gang members in the hospital. In fact, there’s a lot about grandma that no one knows, and…”
When I pitch that book to older readers, I might say something like, “In the small town of Rivershore, Michigan, no one knows about Mary Harrington’s past, not even her family. Everyone sees the 74-year-old woman as a sweet widow whose only oddity is she likes to work out at the gym. But when Mary puts two gang members in the hospital…”
Even tweets should be mini pitches: @marisSouthHaven Muggers beware. Not all 74-yr-old grandmothers are easy targets. Some have A Killer Past http://goo.gl/lPJIfA
2 gang members attack a 74-yr-old widow and end up in the hospital Will her secret get out? #A Killer Past http://goo.gl/lPJIfA
In Pinterest, along with the cover, there’s room for a short description. Take your time and write it well because again, you’re pitching the book.
And the pitch goes on and on.