Creating The Perfect Pitch Part 2

Part of my pre-conference homework assignment for the NYC Pitch and Sell conference was to research five book jackets of novels in my genre. The reasoning behind this was to help in the development of my person to person pitch. At first I didn't really see how that would help. The written word can be very different from the spoken word. But they're the experts so I did my homework.

After I wrote the first draft of my person to person pitch I picked five young adult novels off my bookshelf at home and read the jackets. It amazed me how straight to the point they were. Of course they all had a great hook sentence that makes the reader sit up and pay attention. Then they teased on a few of the most interesting points of the book and really made you want to start flipping pages. And, they made me want to throw the first draft of my pitch into the fireplace.

My wonderful critique group, the Scribe Sisters, were lifesavers. They metaphorically rescued my pitch from the flames and walked me through the revisions. Yep, plural. There were many revisions. Then I read a few blog posts by Nathan Bransford, How To Write One Sentence Pitch and One Sentence One Paragraph And Two Paragraph Pitch that helped me hone that pitch down to almost perfect. I say almost because there is always room for improvement! If you are looking to make your query letter better or do a person to person pitch you have to read those two posts! Nathan is brilliant!

Now I have a hook sentence I feel good about and two solid paragraphs that I think convey the heart of my story fairly well. And, I can say it all in one minute!


  1. Looking at book jackets is an awesome idea. I'm going to try it.

    Sending you good vibes as you prepare for the pitch conference!

  2. I was surprised by how much the book jackets helped. Thanks for the good vibes Portia! They are soooo appreciated! Less than a month away now... Eeeekk!

  3. Heather thanks for sharing the links directly to Nathan's tips. Printing now and will use. Writing is a work in process for sure!

  4. While I'm not quite (read, nowhere close) to being ready for a pitch, I think I'll go check those links out! Thanks, Heather, and good luck with your pitch!!

  5. I hate my pitch. Hate it. This is great stuff for me, Heather. You rock! :-)

  6. Great idea Karlene! I should print those out too.

    Kari, I think it's a great idea to read them before you start working on your pitch. I would have saved myself a lot of time that way!

    I know how you feel Shannon, mine started out that way too. These links should help you improve your pitch!

  7. I need to work on this...I've flirted with it a couple times, but it needs work before it is ever uttered aloud in the presence of humans with respectable hearing.

  8. Great post, Heather! Yep. When you see what those back jackets offer, you wonder to yourself, "would I like this book?"

    Good luck, girl. I hope you rock them at the confrence! Can't wait to hear how you do! This is so exciting, it's like rooting for my team!

  9. I know how you feel Vicki, that's why I always practice reading aloud to my cat or horse first! LOL!

  10. Thanks Lorelei, that is so sweet! Fingers crossed that they are rocked in a very good way!

  11. I did the same thing for my query letter (which YOU helped me with! LoL). I had a stack of my favorite books whose story resembled mine. I love how compact and yet tantalizing they were and I wanted mine to work just as well in hooking the agent who read my query.

    Good luck in NYC!!

  12. It's pretty amazing how much that helps isn't it Lindsey? And thank you so much for the good luck!


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