How I Pitched Thin Ice by Paige Shelton

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Dec 03 2019

Finding a book that satisfies your #MSWL (manuscript wishlist) is every agent’s dream. When it’s an already established client, the #MSWL has special meaning.

That happened for me when Paige Shelton sent along her proposal for Thin Ice. Paige had a long-established career in cozy mysteries when she decided to try something darker. I love this book.

Unlike with a new author, the pitch for a current client often needs to come entirely from me. I have no query to work from. That being said, it is common for me to ask the author to send a blurb for me to work from. Whenever possible, I like to use their voice in my pitch. I’m not sure I accomplished that here, but you can bet it took a lot of rewriting while I tried.

The Pitch

I hope you’re getting ready for a long weekend. Before you go I’m hoping to give you a chance to read Paige Shelton’s newest mystery proposal, Thin Ice: An Alaskan Wilderness Mystery.

Bestselling writer and criminologist Beth Rivers lives a secluded life — quietly writing page-turning thrillers she thought could only be fiction—until one reader wanted more than just her next book. Joshua Crabtree spent two years stalking Beth; remaining in the shadows until the day he made an unsuccessful attempt to kidnap her.

Now Beth is scarred and scared. She got away, but so did Joshua, and she won’t feel safe until he’s caught.  Drawing on her careers in criminology and thriller writing, Beth escapes to Benedict, a remote Alaskan town. But when a murder rocks Beth’s new town, is it a coincidence, or has Joshua already found her?

Setting out to learn the truth, Beth is forced to face not only her own fears, but also the challenges of the cold Alaskan wilderness. With a brutal winter, no one can get in to Benedict. But no one can get out.

Paige Shelton has been a New York Times bestselling cozy author for her Farmer’s Market series. She is also the author of two other mass market cozy series with Berkley and the Scottish Bookstore series currently being published in hardcover with Minotaur. This is a bit of a departure from her other books, elevating the traditional cozy, but still a book her readers will love.

I look forward to sending the proposal your way.

The Pitch Today

Over the years I’ve preached the importance of learning the art of the query, not just to pitch agents, but because this skill will serve you throughout your career as a writer. No more was this true when we worked on the cover copy for Thin Ice.

Writing the copy for this book was at least a 5-person job. It involved the copy writer at the publisher, Paige’s editor, the editor’s assistant, Paige, and of course me. Some of what we used came directly from the query. See for yourself, and order a copy while you’re there.

2 responses to “How I Pitched Thin Ice by Paige Shelton”

  1. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    Thanks for sharing, Jessica. Not only odes it sound like a great read, but I always learn something when I read them. The first sentence of the pitch blurb tells the reader so much – you don’t have to have the rest of it to know what the story will be about. This is something I need to work on!

  2. Avatar Sandy in St Louis says:

    No one I know likes to write a pitch or query. It should be easy since we love our characters but somehow, it’s not. I’m linking to this post for the January issue of the SPAWNews (small publishers, artists, writers network with a blurb about Paige’s other series too. I’ve reviewed and enjoyed them a lot. Thanks for showing it’s not easy for anyone!