Secrets of a Great Pitch

Rockies pitcher

Next week I’m headed out to the ACFW conference (American Christian Fiction Writers) and I’m sure I’ll see some of you there! Rachel’s post yesterday on the Books & Such blog gave some great advice about talking to agents and editors at conferences: It’s Not All About the Pitch. But I know many of you will be pitching, so I wanted to go over some tips.

I think the secret to making a great pitch is to start with a bit of context or background, then tell me about your book. It doesn’t have to be in-depth, considering your time restraints. But take a moment to introduce yourself and your project before pitching.

Too often, people sit down and nervously launch into some kind of story and I find myself dizzy with confusion. I feel like a deer in the headlights and then I say something like, “Let’s back up. What’s your name? And what genre are you writing?”

To me, the best pitches include the following information without me having to ask for it:

(Click over to the Books & Such blog to read the whole post.)



Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Tycie on September 15, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I’ve been stewing over a pitch for my book for months but didn’t even know what it was called I was trying to form. I’m so new to everything right now and the more I learn the more I don’t know. Now I have something to guide me.

  2. Angie Dicken on September 13, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Great advice! I learned a bunch about pitching at the conference a couple of years ago when you and Sandra Bishop held a workshop. Sometimes what I put on paper, reads pretty, but then when I say it, it sounds so forced and not the way I talk at all! It’s probably because I write historical romance with a ton of drama. 🙂 I like the idea of being more conversational. I had a terrible experience trying to explain my book to an editor last year…luckily she gave me grace for being nervous and requested anyway. Hoping to be more prepared and comfortable this year!

  3. Kristin Laughtin on September 13, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    I think the key is keeping it simple and direct. Name/genre/any relevant background, and then a straightforward explanation of the story. That’s probably the hardest part! I haven’t had a chance to pitch to any agents yet, but I definitely think about the key elements I should mention for each book–and if I can’t formulate the plot or main ideas without trouble, I realize something needs work.