How To Write A Pitch For Your Novel

NB: this was originally posted on There And Draft Again in February 2013, but I have tweaked it slightly to share with you again today.

Hello gentle reader,

Whether you’re looking for an agent or self-publishing your book, there comes a time in your life as a writer when you have to write a pitch for your novel. Here is a bit of advice on what to do and what to avoid when drafting your pitch…

1 – Bear in mind the purpose of your pitch is to sell the idea of your story to an agent or a reader. “Hooking” them with a 10-line paragraph summarising your 90k+ novel isn’t an easy task, but it is doable, and necessary if you want  your book to make it to readers’ shelves. So let’s start, shall we?

2 – A pitch for a novel should be about 200 words long. Which is to say, it’s brief.

3 – A pitch should include:

  • Who your Main Character is and what he wants (his GOAL)
  • What the inciting incident is and why your Main Character chooses to do something about it (his CHOICE)
  • What is at stake should your Main Character fail in his endeavour (WHY THE READER SHOULD CARE)

4 – A pitch should NOT be too generic and vague. Chuck Sambuchino gives a great example of what a pitch should not be like on the Writer’s Digest website. Do go and read it.

5 – A pitch should not include everything about your story. It should not attempt to describe in detail the wonderfully complex world you’ve created. Thus it should only include your Main Character, the Antagonist and whoever is relevant to the Main Character’s goal, choice and problem. And it should not mention too many proper names and places. And it should make sense.

6 – Last but not least, you should have beta readers for your pitch. Try to find at least one who hasn’t read your novel and has no idea what it’s about. And try to have at least one who has read your novel and can tell you if your pitch does it justice.

I hope this helps! Feel free to leave me your questions and comments below!

(All GIFs are from Pushing Daisies and none of them belong to me)

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