11 Questions for Crafting a Pitch

This weekend I taught at a writers’ conference and my topic was “Selling Your Stuff,” creating those all important sales materials for your book: The one-sentence summary.The query.The pitch paragraph.The elevator pitch.The proposal. I was talking to a room full of novelists, so I focused on fiction. I told them that the main elements of…
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Want to Compose a Killer Pitch?

I’m teaching a webinar for Writers Digest this Thursday at 1:00 pm EDT (90 minutes). “Critique Series: Pitches and Queries” I will teach about crafting an effective pitch and query letter. Then I’ll do real-time critiques of query letters and pitches. Everyone who registers will be able to send a pitch ahead of time for…
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Queries: Really Not That Complicated

In the comments to Friday’s post, February Grace said: “I wish that there was a standard query procedure to follow. That’s all. A uniform cover letter plus a sample from the work or synopsis or both.”First, I want to apologize on behalf of all agents, because apparently we’ve made it seem way too hard. It’s…
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One-Sentence Summary Critiques & Tips

Today I’m offering some thoughts on a few of the one-sentence summaries that were entered in the contest. Sometimes it’s helpful to see what’s not quite working, in order to learn how to do it better. Maybe these examples will help you spot something you can improve with your own pitch. We’ll group them according…
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WINNERS: The One-Sentence Summary Contest

Wow! We had nearly 500 entries in last Wednesday’s contest. I’m thrilled, because this means 500 of you worked on creating a concise summary for your book, something most writers find difficult. But it can be done, right? I hope this served as a helpful exercise for you. Of course it was very difficult narrowing…
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The One-Sentence Summary

*Contest is closed.*Today we’re going to talk about the one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, a hook, or a one-sentence pitch. (It is not a tagline, however.) What: About 25 words that capture your novel, memoir, or non-fiction book. Why: To get someone interested in reading your book. When to use it: The start…
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The Value of the Verbal Pitch

Last week in Secrets of a Great Pitch I gave you some tips about talking to agents and editors at writers’ conferences. A few people raised a good question: Why pitch verbally at all, when it’s the writing that matters? Yes, the writing matters most. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be gained from…
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Query Critique: Franklin’s Ladder

The QueryFRANKLIN’S LADDER is supernatural fiction, complete at 82,000 words. It is the women’s fiction version of a Mike Dellosso or a Brian Keene novel. I am querying you because of your desire for well-written women’s fiction that incorporates a Christian world view. Husbands are troublesome creatures, especially when they’re dead. Anna’s husband, a journalist…
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Query Critique: Carey On

The Query:Katie Carey’s husband has a mistress and her name is heroin. From the moment she met British guitar god Jay Carey, Katie lived a fantasy life. They were one of the superstar rock and roll couples of London in the 1970s with the big houses, the cars, phenomenal success and a love that seemed…
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Query Critique: Halfway to Anywhere

The query: After three days of lying in bed with her life crumbling around her, college freshman Stephanie Miller needs to get out of her room before she goes insane. She decides to go to the One Force House; a guy she’d met recently had told her she could come there if she ever needed…
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Writing a Series

(Today’s peek into my mailbox.) Dear Rachelle, I’ve been writing a series of novels, and have completed six books. My question is: How do I go about submitting a series? I have a query that describes the series an includes an excerpt from each book. Would this be the correct way to present the series?…
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Query Critique: Dealers of Light

The Query Dear Ms. Gardner: Moira is a nurse practitioner with a hidden talent, one she knows little about- the ability to send healing energy she calls “Light” into others to augment healing. When one of her patients dies in her arms passing along not only a powerful gift, but a dire warning of doom,…
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Query Critique: Circle of Reasoning

The Query: Hello, Ms. Gardner, I am seeking representation for A Circle of Reasoning, a 77,000 word women’s mainstream novel. Catrine Teddi and Austin Sanchez have been separated for over four years because of a misunderstanding. They are reunited by the disappearance of their child because of someone’s mistake. Between the anger and blame, romance…
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Query Critique: Iron Makeover

(This is the first of the query critiques I’ll be doing over the next few weeks, probably one or two a week. Look for them on Wednesdays and sometimes Thursdays. Please bear in mind that these will be longer than my typical posts. ) The Query: Hi there! I’m seeking representation for my 60,000-word non-fiction…
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I love words.

I love books and publishing and talking incessantly about them.

I love authors and all the intricacies of managing a writing life.

I sell. I negotiate. I coach. I brainstorm.

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