Pitch Critiques Update

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Nov 15 2007

Okay. You’ve worn me down. Kim has been saying it for days and I think I have to listen to her. I’m no longer accepting new pitches. I will get through what I can get through while still thinking that I can fairly give a good critique. At this point though I’ve done more than 20 different posts on the subject (obviously you’ll be reading my pitch critiques for quite some time) and I will finish up a few more, but I just don’t think I’m going to be able to get to all of them. I apologize, but I don’t think I have the energy to give a good, fair pitch to everyone and besides that I suspect you want to read more than just critiques.

Thank you so much to everyone who was brave enough to post those pitches and please, please continue to comment on them and help each other out. I think the discussions about my critiques as well as your own feedback are just as important as what I have to say. Besides, if I can hang in there and do 100+ critiques the least you can do is stick with me.

And because I could use something fun on this rainy day, here are some pitches I used when selling my own client’s projects. Critique away…

#1: As a professional Human Resources and Career Strategy Consultant, Cynthia Shapiro knows the ins-and-outs of why and how companies hire, fire, promote and train their employees. In her revolutionary book Corporate Confidential, she’s uncovering key inside secrets of how major companies make decisions and what employees can do to achieve success, save their jobs and thrive in the corporate world. This is the only book that tells you exactly what your company doesn’t want you to know.

#2: After losing their friend, Celina, Elayne and Jasmine think the best way to grieve is by celebrating life and what better way to do that then a trip on the S.S. Fantasy–a cruise designed to make all of your fantasies come true.

#3: Fueled by intense grief over losing her firefighting brother to an apartment fire, arson investigator Maya Jackson impulsively sleeps with a stranger in a bar. Five years later, while investigating a Lake Tahoe wildfire, she comes face to face with her biggest mistake. Not only is Logan Cain the most explosive lover she’s ever had, he’s also the head of the Tahoe Pines Hotshot crew – and her lead suspect. Dangerously attracted to a woman who doesn’t trust him, Logan must find the real killer before the wildfire turns deadly.

#4: Anton Cheval is a powerful wizard and the first to recognize his connection to the ancient Chanku race. In a search to discover others like him–individuals with the genetic ability to shift from human to wolf—Anton meets Stefan Aragat, a man cursed to live as half man and half wolf and Alexandria Olanet, the one woman who has been able to give Stefan the love he seeks. Together Alexandria, Stefan and Anton, pack members, lovers, Chanku, set out on a quest to rescue more of their kind before it is too late, before those intent on their ultimate destruction discover the true heritage of the Chanku.

#5: Hooked on Murder is the first book in Betty Hechtman’s terrific new crochet mystery series.

Well have at them and enjoy!


15 responses to “Pitch Critiques Update”

  1. Jessica, an invitation to offer queries, pitches and first paragraphs really is the gift that keeps on giving. Sorry, but this so reminds me of the scene from Harry Potter where the letters are flooding the house.

    I’m sure everyone understands.

    Studying what you will be able to critique helps a lot and I appreciate the chance.

  2. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Perhaps we should all chip in and buy you a case of good champagne to fortify you and help you finish this gruelling task.

    Whatever, I hope you survive the experience.

  3. Avatar Chumplet says:

    I suppose a cut-off point would have been a good idea… at the time! I learned so much from the first critiques you completed already. I hope you get to mine before you end up in the loony bin.

    Thank you so much for your generous sharing.

  4. Amazed, impressed and grateful for the ones you have already done. I think I’ve learned alot just by watching you do these. BIG THANK YOU!
    You da best.

  5. Avatar Karen Duvall says:

    Love the concept for #2; reminds me of the old tv show Fantasy Island, maybe with a touch of The Love Boat for added spice?

    #3 is very intriguing as it sums everything up perfectly in a cohesive story line. Impressive.

    #4 is unique and kinky. A 3-some involving beastiality? I really like the spin on the werewolf/shapeshifting thing, making the Chanku an actual race of people. Very fresh and the type of story I usually like, but the erotica angle turns me off.

    #5 is a great title for a crochet mystery. Cute! And catchy.

  6. Avatar cate says:

    Ms. Faust: I got sucked in by pitch #3 – please tell me if this is a published book and what the title is so I can buy it!

  7. Ms. Faust,

    First, thank you for doing this much! You’re a shiny saintly woman.

    Second, might we convince you to just skim the the remaining pitches and pick out the ones that really work for you? Positive examples are so useful, because we can begin to piece together what works, rather than seeing example after example of what doesn’t.

    And thank you again! This was very much appreciated.


    (Erm. Not to come across as a self-promoting ho-bag or anything, but I’ve been talking about writing query pitches on my blog recently. Anyone who wants to jump into the discussion, please feel free to click through on my name-link above. I’d be delighted to hear from you.)

  8. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    Jessica, I always wondered how you pitched Wolf Tales to editors without sending them running, screaming, into the dark! Thank goodness you did the pitch and not me…I’m much better at just writing the stories. What’s interesting is that same pitch that worked for the first book would work just as well for the one I’m writing now: Wolf Tales VII!

  9. Avatar jfaust says:

    All five books have sold to publishers. The first is obvious.

    The second was just recently sold to Avon Red and is written by Lynn LaFleur. Look for it in 2009.

    The third was just sold to Bantam at auction and is written by Bella Andre. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until about 2009 for that.

    The fourth is the first book in Kate Douglas’s Wolf Tales series published two years ago.

    And the fifth is obvious, but will be in stores next spring.

    Glad to know they worked for you. Even happier to know they worked for editors.


  10. Jessica,

    You are a saint for sharing.

    I know I’ve learned a thing a or two…or three.


  11. Avatar Mark Terry says:

    Where can I book a trip on the S.S. Fantasy?

  12. Perhaps Jacky can pitch in with pitch crits? Perhaps Jessica can do a crit batch once a week until she finishes? That way everyone who participated gets the chance to improve their pitch, and the rest get to learn from example?

  13. Avatar Diana says:

    Good thing I keep a little notebook of books I want to read at some point. I’ve added Bella Andre’s book to my list with a big 2009 next to it. Something to look forward to!

    Several of these pitches sound like really concisely written back cover summaries. Which makes me ask the question: Does the author usually write the jacket copy and the paperback cover text? I’ve always wondered that.

  14. Avatar nancyn says:

    Can’t blame you for running out of steam, but this is so helpful.

    Maybe you could do a scan and just list the rest of them in two posts without the specific feedback …

    List one (Santa nice) that lists those “on the right path”,

    List two (Santa naughty) that lists the ones that left you “clueless”

    Then for any that were’t included as “right path” or “clueless” a nice little note to say “study up using the “right path” and original detailed posts and Good Luck 🙂

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving — we’re thankful we’ve got you to help us get one step closer to our dreams!

  15. Are you kidding? You have no reason to apologize. I learned a lot from the critiques you’ve already posted. If I were you I’d probably not critique any more of them and just stop here.

    Sorry if my question about sending in a longer pitch prompted your decision. On the other hand, maybe I did a good thing. 🙂

    The samples of your clients’ project pitches are very helpful too.