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Writing the Perfect Pitch

I’ve been practicing my pitches for years in a variety of ways. From the twitter contests where pitches need to be condensed into 280 characters. To crafting elevator pitches or Loglines (the one line introduction that sums up the whole story). And of course the dazzling pitch that introduces the main character, conflict and stakes. All in a bid to hook that illusive agent or publisher’s attention, making them want to read more of your novel.

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I can tell you, it doesn’t get any easier. I still dread the question ‘what’s your book about?’ As writers we flounder and babble. We practice loglines in the mirror, and recite them while driving the car or doing laundry. Yet we always forget when the time comes to explain our work. Thankfully, written pitches can be drafted, edited and polished until they shine.

I think in times of crisis it’s the artists responsibility to dig a little deeper.

~ Bruce Pavitt.

One of the blessings that come from years of experience, is that I’m always learning new tips and tricks. And the latest come from working with the talented, enthusiastic and genuinely lovely editor Jeni Chappelle. I’d reached the point in my writing where I needed professional feedback to help me grow. And I can honestly say, Jeni has helped raise my game.

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And because I love my fellow creatives, I’m more than happy to share all I’ve gleaned with you. So, here is the format for creating the perfect pitch.

Paragraph 1: Introduce your Main Character. Set the story by revealing what they want (goal) before they embark on their journey, connecting to their deepest emotional wound. Remember to show what is standing in their way, both internally and externally?

Paragraph 2: Introduce the main conflict. Reveal how it affects them, and what drives them to get involved.

Paragraph 3: Show how the stakes are raised as the story progresses. Reveal 2-3 specific obstacles they will have to overcome to resolve the main conflict. End with an impossible dilemma, often phrased something like… They must choose to: (internal or external conflict) before: (raise the stakes and/or show consequences).

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Each paragraphs should be 100ish words each. If you’re showing both POVs in a query, (for example, in romance genre) then usually a dual POV query would include a full paragraph about each character (about 100 words each, give or take) and then a third paragraph showing how their individual stories tie together. Note: writing the pitch from the POV of the character first introduced in your MS, otherwise agents and editors will be confused and put off.

And there you have it, the perfect combination of character, conflict and stakes. Easy… right? Don’t worry if your struggling to perfect your pitch, you’re not alone. Besides, practice makes perfect. Do you have any tips to share? Or are you currently struggling with your pitch?

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts. You know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.


Query Hopes and Fears of a Writer

Are you embarking on the submission/ query phase of your writing journey? Or perhaps like me, you’ve forged head-long into the process, only to feel lost, disorientated and at times disheartened. Fear not, I’m here to guide you through it.

The querying phase may trigger the ‘Magic Eight Ball’ zone. The inside of your mind gets shaken to its core. Until your only able to answer – Yes, No or Maybe, to your pointless, endless, rhetorical questions. Will you find an agent? Have you revised enough? Is your story unique and sell-able? Blah, Blah, Blah.

When I first started querying, I understood the process. I’d read all about it. So I knew waiting and rejection would be inevitable. But, oh boy, was I unprepared.

Yes, I’d done my research on finding an agent, polished my query, edited my synopsis and gathered my submission package. And so, back in 2017, I started submitting my YA fantasy novels, Secrets and Shadow Knights. I tugged on my big-girl pants and repeated my mantra: show no fear, you’ve got this.

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Those initial months were fought with anxiety, anticipation. I desperately want to be published, to be chosen, to be good enough. The biggest hurdle I faced during the next few years, was my self esteem. Realizing, I already was good enoughdespite not being published. 

I’m sure you’ve face some of the following situations. And guess what, it’s all completely normal. You’re not alone, thousands of writers are walking a similar path to you.

  • When well-meaning friends and family ask, “so, when are you going to be published?” – Urm?! It’s about as helpful as asking a heavily pregnant woman, “when is the baby going to arrive?”
  • Having amazing dreams about being signed with a talented agent… Only to wake up, disappointed. Well, at least you know you’re passionate about your writing career.  Right?
  • Stalking agents via Twitter. Only to humiliate yourself with a miss-understood tweet. Mortified, you hid from all forms of social media. Yikes!
  • Doubting your skills and creativity. Questioning every plot decision that has led you to this point.

Over the years, I’ve learnt from this process. Things like: strengthening my pitch, learning how to craft a query letter, and finding fantastic beta-readers. There are some amazing bloggers out there who have helped me develop these skills. Check these out:

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An important part of the process is self acknowledgement, self belief. Otherwise, the rejection can easily corrode your self-esteem. You’re not alone, every writer faces these challenges. Every writer battles with doubt. The whole experience is tinged with What if’s. Embrace those fears. Use that motivation to evaluate where you’re going, set small goals, and continue to grow.

I’ve come to realize that this process, as painful as it can be, is also liberating. Even if I don’t find the agent of my dreams, I’m not quitting. I can’t. Writing is in my soul, a passion that will stay with me for the rest of my life. There’s a sense of satisfaction, in knowing my craft, in the continuous growth of mastering a skill. To date, I written four novels. After sound advice from an editor, I’ve rewritten my second novel – Mischief and Mayhem, and I’m almost ready to start querying again.

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Perhaps it will take a 100 submissions. Maybe, like Stephanie Garber – author of the Caraval trilogy, lucky book number 5 will be published. Either way, I have faith that one day my work will be published. Until then, I’ll keep writing, reading and improving my craft.

To my fellow writers embarking on, or wading through, the query trenches – I hope this post brings a little bit of hope. I wish you the best of luck with your submissions.

Do you have any advice about querying? How long have you been in the query trenches? And do you have a success story to share? Come on, share your journey with me, you know I love hearing from you.

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Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.