GETTING PUBLISHED FOR FICTION WRITERS

Friday, September 27, 2013

HOW TO PITCH YOUR BOOK

Pitching can be done to a lot of people, not just to agents. Do you know the best way to pitch your book? Do you even know what a pitch is?

What is a Pitch

A pitch is either verbally or in written form and is used as a means of selling your book. It’s a short recap of your book that captures the meat of the story and grabs the attention of the person you’re pitching to.

First, Creating the Elevator Speech

You need to create a killer “elevator speech”, meaning a 1 to 2 sentence speech designed to sell you/your book in 30 seconds or less. This is as essential as a business card. You have a very short window in which to say who you are, what you do, and what your book is about to catch the interest of the listener.

Some idea of what it should do:

- It should paint a compelling mental image
- It should give an idea of the genre and audience

Example:

"A cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and her office building is taken over by terrorists." - Die Hard

"A businessman falls in love with a hooker he hires to be his date for the weekend" - Pretty Woman

Next, Creating the Pitch

Write out several (10-15) versions of the pitch and then pick the best one. Share it with family and friends and get their honest opinions. Firm it up; make it the absolute best it can be. This is so important. If you can nail your pitch, you virtually guarantee further action from your audience. This may be a request for your MS by an agent or a visit to your website for more information by a potential reader, or even immediate sales of your book. I’ve done and do this. It feels great.

Preparing to Pitch

Now, read it until you memorize it. Practice pitching in front of a mirror, a friend, family member, even your dog. You don’t want to come off sounding like a robot; you want the listener to feel the energy of the book. Whether it be romance, action/adventure, thriller, suspense, mystery…you want to convey its energy through your words.

Finally, the Pitch

At this point you should have burned your pitch to memory. If you are meeting with an agent, or are getting ready to do the querying process, practice on live people. The next time you’re in the grocery store, Wal-Mart, the pharmacy, or any place else where there’s a chance to speak face to face with someone, drop your pitch on them.

I’ve sold three hard copies in the supermarket just by smiling and asking the man or woman in line behind me if they like to read and then taking it from there. I sold five copies at an airport while picking up a friend. The man and woman ordered them right in front of me. Awesome feeling, by the way.  And I’ve had my MS requested many times.

Rachel Gardner has a great website chock full of information for writers who wish to make writing a career. Even if you are a self-pubber like me, you can learn a tremendous amount from her site.

Here are a few other resources to help you out:

Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
Publishers Weekly
Agent Query

I hope this information was helpful. Leave me a comment and let me know how your pitch is coming along. Need help? Just ask!

My best wishes for your writing success,

Dee Ann

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Secret to Keeping Focused on Your Novel


Many of us struggle with keeping focused on our novel. How do we fight the many hundreds of ideas that pop in our brain and direct our concentration on the task at hand? But they’re great ideas, we say. If I don’t stop and give them attention, I’m going to forget them and they’ll be lost forever, we say. There’s a difference between jotting down an idea, and actually getting side-tracked by it.

Your main focus should be on the novel at hand. If you spread yourself thin by working several projects at a time, chances are you won’t be able to get the book published, or at least not within a reasonable time period. Remember, you have competition out there in the big, bad world of writing, and I bet your competition is completing their novels and getting them published.

So, what’s the secret? Discipline. Yep, good ‘ole fashioned discipline. You have to discipline yourself to become accountable to your project. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

ORGANIZATION:

o Organize your schedule: Set specific writing time. I mean genuine writing time, not research, social marketing, or anything else that takes you away from writing your novel.

Here’s where some real discipline comes in: If you absolutely must go on the internet to research a bit of information, do so quickly, get what you need, then close it out immediately. DO NOT check email, DO NOT check Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, or any other form of social media. Nothing, nada. Get back to work!

o Organize your social media time: This is the time you use for your novel, not personal time. Use it to do marketing, advertising, announcements, connections, etc., but DO NOT use it for personal use such as simply chit-chatting with friends. You can do that when your work time is through.

o Organize research time: Make a list of things that need to be researched for the book and then set the time aside to do it. Again, stay focused on the research. Don’t let anything else pull you away from it. Get an email while you’re in the middle of research? Well, why the hell are you checking email! You’re supposed to be researching. Close that program, NOW! (Didn’t think you’d get caught, did ya?) Research time is for research. Nothing else. Remember… DISCIPLINE.

Next, to reinforce the discipline, you need to do the following:

Milestones: Set milestones to reach. Achieving these milestones will help you feel a sense of achievement along the way and will keep you motivated. Example: “I’ll complete 2000 words every day” or “I’ll commit to two hours of writing each day”, etc.

Goals: Set achievable, yet challenging goals to reach. If you can accomplish reaching the milestones above, you will meet your goals, again reinforcing your commitment to writing and building your self esteem and motivation to continue on.

PENALTIES: Make them strict! Something that will hurt; i.e., for me I set penalties such as having to pay someone $50.00 for a goal not met, or not going out to dinner on Friday night, or buying something I’ve wanted . Choose a strict penalty and write it beside each goal. If you think you will be disciplined enough to pay the penalty yourself without the interference of another, fine. However, if you don’t think you will pay the penalty on your own, make sure you bring in someone – a friend, spouse, partner – anyone who will help reinforce the penalty.

These are just a few ideas that have helped me complete two books and work on a third while maintaining a full time job, a house and family, and all the other obligations that go along with life. Without discipline and accountability, I don’t think I could do it. It isn’t easy, but it is necessary.

Until next time, I wish all the best success in your writing. 

Dee Ann
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