Moving right along. . . . Here’s the original post: Perfecting Your Pitch.
In the summer of 2001, branch manager for a national chain of travel agencies, Prudence Peters’ week begins with a demotion and hears that her office faces closure. By the end of the week one of Pru’s agents is fired and the supervisor who fired her is murdered. Suggestions of a postal employee puts all the offices in Pru’s state at risk of closure to protect the company’s reputation, so Pru sets out to find the missing agent. What she finds is devious company agendas, peers with too many motives and more murder.
This isn’t actually such a bad pitch, but it also doesn’t inspire me. In other words, I would not request this. I suspect you’re going for the amateur sleuth market. The problem is that you don’t have a hook. There’s nothing here to inspire anyone besides a voracious mystery reader to pick up your book. A branch manager for a chain of travel agencies? Not that exciting. What would be more exciting is someone who led a tour group similar to our own Livia Washburn’s Booked for Travel mystery series—a literary tour travel series—that’s something with a hook. I also think you could still tighten things a little more. Get to the heart of the story faster and try not to get bogged down in backstory.
91. Rick Graydon
Can Tricky Dick and Swivel Hips save the world? They’ll have to, after Elvis shows up at the White House to accept an F.B.I. crime fighting award from President Richard Nixon and a famous anti-war activist shows up dead in the Lincoln bedroom. The body is just the first domino to fall. The last may be civilization itself. President and rock star are forced to team up and trade places. Will Elvis sing the right tune over the Moscow hot line? Can Dick do “Hound Dog?” If not the world faces Armageddon, J. Edgar Hoover in a mini-skirt, or worse.
Ohmygoodness! Hilarious. I would absolutely request this. I’m not sure exactly what it is or what I would do with it, but I would need to see it. The opening line is intriguing, the hook is there—you can’t go wrong with Elvis and Nixon, and of course we see the conflict—the President and the rock star must team up to save the world. In the end you’ve given me exactly what I need to know, you have a story, and I know you can write, so I’m willing to give this a shot because you’ve grabbed my interest enough to make me want to see more, and that’s the point of a pitch. My one thought on this is that I’m not sure you have a marketable book, but I would want to see more.
92. D. Robert Pease
Fantasy Novel: Crimson Swarm
Aberthuil Nauile doesn’t know that he once led legions in a war that raged since the dawn of time, against an enemy that cannot be killed. He doesn’t know that he rode on a dragon with his father, and saw his mother die while giving birth to him. He doesn’t know that he once saved his great, great, great grandfather by defeating the black enemy on the slopes of a volcano. Aberthuil doesn’t know that he beheld the creation of the world, as his grandfather eight generations before took the planet ravaged by a war of the gods and began anew. All he knows is that he awoke in a coffin in a tomb, and now the whole world thinks he is their savior. All he really wants to know is his name, and why he keeps hearing voices in his head.
Wow! Am I getting soft or is this really two good pitches in a row? Of course now I’m concerned that my judgment is skewed. Maybe I am getting soft. But no, this is good. This grabs my interest. While normally I might say a pitch like this is backstory, it’s not when it’s world building. I clearly see who Aberthuil is and what his conflict is. While he’s sure it might be the voices in his head, his true conflict is the story of the life he doesn’t remember. Very, very cool.
– Classic Romance with a Twist –
You never have a chance to alter your destiny. Morgan Ashton is given this chance to go back in time to fall in love with the right man. Two handsome and rakish men fight for her attention, each one having their own way to seduce the outspoken Ashton. As soon as she thinks she has made her choice, her love and her heart demand the truth. But will she be able to discover this truth before her time is up?
You conflict yourself right off the bat, which is a problem. If you never have a chance to alter your destiny, how come Morgan Ashton does? I think you’ll need to reword that. In the end, though, I find this confusing. I think it’s a case of you being too vague. Does she really travel in time, and what do you mean that “her love and her heart demand the truth”? Get more specifically to the point. Is the entire book about choosing between the two men? If not, what else is going on to make the story stand out and be different?
94. poor mouse
A god chooses Norida’s ruler, but the young commoner he made Queen doesn’t have leadership experience and knows very little about the conditions of the land she now rules. Worse, her high ministers work subtly to keep her isolated and ignorant so that they can manipulate her into doing their will. Did their god pick a ruler destined to fail? Or will those “failings” be the key to exposing the traitors within her government and surviving long enough to bring them to justice?
Hmmm. Is the story about the god or the Queen? If it’s about the Queen, let’s make it more about the Queen and her conflicts. I would suggest you eliminate the questions. I think that softens your message. Making them statements makes them more a conflict: “Queen Matilda wonders why the god should have chosen her as ruler of Norida. She knows very little of the conditions of the land she now rules and every decision she makes seems to mark her a failure….” And then we’ll need a little more from you about what’s happening in the land that she is leading.
The year is 1959, racism is impacted in society, and Sara Jane Lawrence is missing. When Detective Sergeant John McCourt takes over the investigation of the missing biracial girl, he finds his suspect’s journal. Spellbound, as he reads, he finds himself reliving the past few months through the eyes of his suspect, and ultimately finds the bittersweet truth of what happened to Sara Jane.
Warning: The misuse of “is impacted” instead of “has impacted” could warrant a rejection from me. I understand typos happen and can forgive some in the book. But when it’s a clear grammatical error in a one-page query I will worry. It gives me the impression that your book is not going to be well written. A couple of thoughts here. I love the idea of a detective tracking a missing biracial girl in a racist society. For some reason it sounds very Mystic River (although it’s not even close) to me. I immediately think it’s going to be dark, gritty, full of tension and with very, very compelling characters. In other words, the idea grabs me. The writing and overall execution though would force a rejection. Based on your pitch it sounds to me like the entire investigation is done by reading a journal. No one wants to read an entire book (especially a thriller) that’s simply journal entries. The writing also feels sparse to me and I know that’s going to confuse some, but you can write a very short and compelling pitch without making it sound sparse. This sounded sparse, like not enough was really going to be happening.
Okay, readers, it’s up to you now (and no slacking off on me!). . . .