I spend so much time blogging and vlogging about how authors need to perfect their pitch and hone their query. And yet, with all of that, the people who seem to struggle the most with pitching themselves and their products are agents and editors.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached out to a new editor to ask what they’re looking for only to get a vague description of tone and spirit or a recitation of what the publishing house publishes. Honey, if I don’t know what your house is publishing, I need to find a new job.
Honing the Pitch
Whether you’re pitching a book or yourself it’s a skill you need to hone and nearly perfect. You’re never going to move ahead if you can’t clearly define your brand. And yes, we all have a brand.
So when I ask an editor what they’re looking to add to their list I don’t want something along the lines of, “a heart-wrenching novel full of light and love and sadness.” I mean, what is that? When I’m writing a pitch or buying a book, I want more about the book. The same goes here. Okay, you like heart-wrenching I can do that, but do you like romance or mystery or historical set only in the 1940s? Just like in a query, details matter.
I also don’t want, “here at A-to-Z publishing we publish all books about Aardvarks and Zebras.” Okay, so how do I differentiate you from every other editor at A-to-Z? What makes you special enough to send along the book of my heart and the client I adore?
As we enter a new year I’m going to get in touch with new editors and hopefully have new editors get in touch with me. When I ask what are you looking for, I want some real insight into your passions, your dream books, and the hook you’ll drop everything for.
Are serial killers your secret late-night read or do you have a passion for all things food? Should I reach out to you about my Indian-American family drama or are you better for my courtroom thriller?
While we close out the year, ask yourself what your brand is or what you want it to be so come January, you’re ready when agents, or authors, ask.