|Sioux reads her winning pitch while Jill Marr listens|
|For the next few posts I'll share some notes and observations from the All Write Now! Conference last weekend at SEMO in Cape Girardeau, which was an amazing experience by the way.|
The first event of the morning was "Perfecting Your Pitch" with literary agent Jill Marr.
During the session, Jill described what she considers to be the makings of a successful elevator pitch.
Jill stated the best elevator pitches can be done in about 60 seconds, so her first word of advice was for writers to keep it short and focused.
For fiction, the focus should be on your project, rather than yourself.
Here are some specific tips on pitches. Pitches should be:
* Concise (be brief)
* Clear (no acronyms or jargon)
* Correct (appropriate audience)
* Compelling (hook to ask for more)
* Conceptual (stick to high level, don’t give too much detail)
* Customize (be ready to improvise)
* Conversational (keep it flowing, not stiff)
Also, be sure to include: character, situation (inciting incident), objective (goal), opponent (antagonist), disaster (climax - blackest moment in time).
* For nonfiction, the focus is more on yourself. Why you are proposing this project? What is your personal story?
When pitching, know your title and genre. Have two options in your head. Be prepared.
Jill has an issue with pitches starting off with a question; it usually doesn’t always work for her.
After her talk, about a dozen brave souls volunteered to give their pitches to the entire audience.
I was not one of those brave souls. Call me chicken, but I'm not one to volunteer to get up in public and read. But I did use what I learned during this session to polish my pitch for later that afternoon.
To encourage the audience to participate, Jill offered as a prize for the winner a ten-page critique.
My observation of those who gave pitches was that the best were concise, focused, and memorable.
The one selected as the winner was Sioux Roslawski’s. (Yay, Sioux!)
Sioux (pictured above) visited our critique group and shared her pitch last Tuesday, so I had a hint at what she was going to say.
When Sioux practiced her pitch to our group we blown away. Still, her pitch was fresh. To sum it up, I’d say Sioux’s manuscript is wickedly funny.
After this session I revised my own pitch so I'd be prepared to pitch my project later in the day.
And I'm happy to report that when I pitched my project to Jill she had positive comments. She loves my title and subject matter. She gave me her card and asked me to send the entire manuscript after I've polished it. She told me she'd rather have it polished than quick.
Hope this post is helpful to anyone who plans to pitch to an agent or an editor.
For my next post I'll share some notes from John Rudolph's session on publishing contracts.