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This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Guest Post: Pitch Perfect: Pitching to Agents or Editors

Pitch Perfect: Pitching Your Story to an Agent or Editor. 
Do's and Don'ts 
by Jodi Kilpack, author of Baked Alaska

The important thing to remember when you are pitching your book is that having the editor listen to you is only half of the goal. The other half is listening to them. They eat, sleep, and breathe books. They understand craft, and genre, and audience, and trends far better than any writer every could because they have a far more objective point of view than we do. The chance to sit down with them and learn from their experience is priceless, and one that many writers miss out on because they are so intent on blowing them away with THEIR idea.

Do: Prepare a short explanation of your book, including your main character and their main problem. This should be a few sentences and NOT be a question such as "Have you ever wondered what would happen if a volcano exploded one mile from your home?" Instead you might say something like this, "My book is about a girl named Kaylynn. She lives in a small town where nothing exciting every happens, until a Volcano explodes while she's babysitting and she has to get all the kids to saftey before the molten lava burns them alive!" You want the editor to understand the main point of your story.

Do: Have a one or two page synopsis ready to hand them if they ask for it, but don't offer it to them. If they want it, they'll ask, and they might want you to send it to them rather than take it right then.

Do: Listen to anything they tell you, even if it's painful. If they say they think your plot is redundant, ask them in what ways. If they find your character dull ask if they have any ideas to make them more interesting. Respect the position they hold and show that you are teachable.

Do: Be kind and courtious. Remember, they are people too and it is not their job to hurt or offend you. They truly are here to help you.

Don't: Argue with them. Even if you think they are 100% wrong, do not argue. It's disrespectful and closes you off to any learning opportunity.

Don't: Try to force your manuscript on them. They have likely traveled and don't want to haul a bunch of manuscripts back with them. And if they don't ask for it, they don't want it. Don't try to assuage your ego by making them feel obligated to read your book.

Don't: Tell them God inspired you to write the book. Even if it's true, it's manipulative and it raises the assumption that they are somehow doubting Diety if they reject you. Be professional.

Don't: Feel like it was a waste of your time if they don't request to see more of your book. Evaluate the experience and draw as much good as you can from it, knowing that you are on a journey that is long and full of learning experiences. Take it in stride, learn all you can, and know that regardless of how uncomfortable the meeting is, you are better for having done it.


About the Author:
Josi S. Kilpack grew up hating to read until she was thirteen and her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began her first novel in 1998 and hasn’t stopped since. Her seventh novel, Sheep’s Clothing, won the 2007 Whitney Award for Mystery/Suspense, and Lemon Tart, her ninth novel, was a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist. Josi was the Best in State winner in literature for 2012 and currently has two books (Banana Split and Tres Leches Cupcakes) as finalists in the 2012 Whitney awards.

About the Book:
Sadie plans to spend time relaxing with her two grown children, Breanna and Shawn, and her boyfriend, Pete, while enjoying the luxury and cuisine of an elegant cruise ship and helping to plan her daughter’s upcoming wedding. But even as the crew prepares to leave port, Sadie has suspicions about the voyage ahead and the relationship between her normally easygoing son and a mysterious female passenger he obviously knows but refuses to discuss. When the woman is discovered unconscious during the second night at sea, Sadie’s apprehension escalates. Over the last few years, Sadie has developed an extreme dislike for secrets—and it would seem her son is keeping one from her. *Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadies Virtual Test Kitchen.


Nicole said...

Excellent set of tips! Thanks to Jodi for sharing them.

Fida Islaih said...

Thanks for the tips!

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