In this episode I . . .
Talk about how to pitch a story.
This has never gone very well for me. Most writers are introverts, and talking about our stories to a stranger is a terrifying ordeal. I usually babble incoherently and embarrass myself. In fact, I did this once when pitching my book Replication. The editor finally stopped me and asked if I’ve been published. I said, “Oh, yes.” And I pulled out a postcard with my first book cover on it and said, “This just won a Christy Award.”
And she said, “You really should have started with that.”
I told this to my agent and she told me I was never allowed to pitch again. (Though I did make a video after she sold Replication, which is titled “What I should have done.” I’ll link to it in the bottom of this post.
In my opinion, there are three ways to pitch a story.
1. Start with your assets (if you have any). If you don’t, that’s okay. Most beginning writers don’t have anything.
2. Start with your logline, a tagline, or a high concept. Something to hook the listener enough that they want to hear more.
3. Start by telling the story of how you came up with this idea. This is a nice, casual way to start a conversation that doesn’t include you trying to recite something you’ve memorized. Reciting anything you’ve memorized often comes off very stiff–and many authors minds go blank and they forget what they’d memorized when facing an agent or editor.
So, practice. See what works for you. Do what you can to turn the pitch into a conversation. You’ll be a lot more memorable that way, it will come off more naturally, and you’ll be far less stressed.
PS. Oh, and here is a link to my “What I should have done” video for pitching Replication. It’s a bit grainy, but you’ll get the idea.