Moving right along. . . . Here’s the original post: Perfecting Your Pitch.
The highlight of C. J. Ellington’s day was his walk to the post office. Excitement coursed through his body as he awakened each morning, eagerly anticipating his two-mile trek into town to check his mail. He never knew what to expect: Information from Publisher’s Clearinghouse? Entry forms for a free trip to Disneyworld or Hollywood? A letter from his cousin in Tiptonville?
But that was before his whole life was turned upside down.
From an agent’s perspective this is a very typical pitch, one that’s meant to entice us, but since we see it all the time it doesn’t. Obviously, to me anyway, C. J. lives a fairly boring life. I go to the post office on a regular basis and I can’t imagine it ever being the highlight of my day. So why would I want to read about this guy? I mean, turning his life upside down could mean they’re out of stamps. Show us how his life was turned upside down. I assume that’s not going to give the book away, so that’s what we want to see.
Fifteen-year-old Anna has six weeks to come up with a plan. It takes her six days. Traveling across the country to find answers to her past, Anna is prepared for anything. But she isn’t expecting this.
Strange coincidence, this post has the exact same problems as the previous post, and hopefully that gives you a sense of exactly what I mean. Neither really tells me anything exciting or different about this story. And that’s what I want to know. What makes your book both exciting and different?
85. L.C. McCabe
From the dawn of the Middle Ages comes a tale of impossible love between two sworn enemies: Bradamante, the niece of Charlemagne, and Ruggiero, a Saracen warrior descended from Hector of Troy. Both are legendary warriors who meet and fall in love on the field of battle and become separated. They fight to overcome the many obstacles threatening to keep them apart: being sworn to two different sovereigns who are at war with one another, being of different faiths, and magical forces intent on denying them from fulfilling their destiny.
Very, very general, this pitch. I like your opening. I found that interesting. Who doesn’t love a Romeo and Juliet story? But the end feels typical and like it could fit almost any book. Most love stories mean overcoming obstacles, and I’m not convinced that the rest of it really is different enough. What I need to see is action and plot. Not generalizations. What happens when they meet, what is their actual conflict specifically, and what do they have to do to win the fight?
Does Virtue Pay? A brothel that offers no sex shall find out.
I like this. This definitely grabs my attention and makes me wonder. Now what I need to know to turn this from a tagline to a pitch is what’s next. I also need a sense of what kind of book this is. I guess I need to know why anyone would open a brothel with no sex and how your characters play into it.
87. lainey baincroft
Mouthy meets moral–in the middle of the mattress.
‘In The Air Tonight’. 100K romantic suspense.
I have no idea how your pitch could possibly be a romantic suspense. It sounds more like a romantic comedy. Your pitch should always give the tone and feeling of your book, and, most important, we should have a sense of exactly what genre you’re writing without needing you to tell us. I think the real issue of your book better be what makes this suspenseful and not who the heroine and hero are (which is what I assume you’re telling us).
88. anon 8:16
With her older brother Jimmy gone missing in Iraq, a hurricane in the forecast, and her long-absent father appearing suddenly at the front door, twelve-year-old Nadine has her hands full, trying to do it all: She needs to find her brother, save her bottle tree from hurricane-force winds, and make her parents fall in love again.
I like this. I think you have some good elements here, but I think you’ve gone too far and tried to give us too much. Instead of telling us how all three things relate (especially since it makes no sense to me why she would need to save a tree over a house or how saving a tree could even compare to a brother missing at war), why don’t you focus on the most important conflict. What is it that Nadine really has to do? I doubt she can find her brother since he’s in another country, and there’s only so much you can do about a hurricane, so what is Nadine’s true conflict? What is the crux of the story?
89. anchored away
Mari has a reputation for dealing with demons, but stickler Ben needs her help to find a dangerous manuscript before it can be published. Mari jumps at the chance to quash rumors and redeem herself, but working so closely with Ben proves dangerous as her carefully erected walls disintegrate in the face of his HEX APPEAL.
This feels disjointed to me. She “has a reputation for dealing with demons, but….”; that doesn’t work for me grammatically. And does her demon hunting really matter when it comes to finding the manuscript? It doesn’t seem to according to your pitch. If it does, we should know that. And why does she need to redeem herself? I don’t think we necessarily need to know this unless it’s her conflict. I think you need to figure out what the heart of the story is (and it’s probably not working closely with Ben) and focus on that. What sort of conflict are they really up against when it comes to finding the manuscript?
Okay, readers, it’s up to you now. . . .