How to Hook an Agent

Hello fellow creatives!!

Creating a pitch and delivering it to an agent face-to-face is a unique experience. Daunting? Yes, but with a little preparation you can execute a seamless pitch that will hook the agents interest and have them begging for more material. You’ve got this!!

A few years ago I attended a conference in Bloomsbury, London. At this event I developed my pitching skills and pitched my second fantasy novel to an agent. It was insightful, nerve wracking, but also confidence building. Events are happening virtually at the moment, which is great for anyone like me who is querying agents in the US.

Your pitch should address these five elements:

  • What is the title, genre, and word count?
  • What is the setting?
  • Who is the protagonist?
  • What is their conflict?
  • What do they have to do to overcome this conflict?

For a more in-depth look at how to craft a pitch, check out this post: Writing the perfect pitch.

Back then, I made the mistake of believing my novel fitted into the Young Adult genre, but thanks to the invaluable feedback, I realized that my novel was actually written for the Adult audience. This meant a rewrite to make the word count fit. One of the most common mistakes agent see is writers not understanding their genre and/or getting the word count wrong. To prevent this happening to you, do your research and get feedback from professionals, critique partners, or betas.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

An important question to consider is what makes your book different from similar books within your genre. In business terms what is its USP – Unique Selling Point. Identify that and you’re on to a winner. Comparing titles of similar books, or authors in your genre, help agents place your work, and it lets them know that you understand the industry.

Remember that a one-to-one pitch is a two-way conversation, therefore it’s likely that you’ll be asked questions. They could be:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What else are you working on?
  • Why do you write?
  • Where did this story come from?
  • How does your book fit into the market
  • What authors do you compare to?
  • Why have you written this book?
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At conferences and events, there’ll be the chance to ask the agent questions too. They might be:

  • About the industry
  • The process of the transition from writer to published writer
  • Their style as an agent
  • About the craft

Remember practice makes perfect. Pitch aloud, in the mirror, and to anyone willing to listen. Until the pitch sounds natural, not stunted. Until the words flow without thought or hesitation.

Remember, agents are normal people. Relax, smile and enjoy the event. Good luck!!

Have you pitched to an agent one-to-one? What advice can you give to help other writers?

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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, 2021.

Crafting a Snappy Synopsis

Hello fellow creatives,

I don’t know about you, but the thought of writing a synopsis is daunting. After months of plotting, writing and revising our novel, we’re finally faced with crafting the Perfect Pitch and whittling the bare-bones of our story down to a one page overview – the synopsis!

But fear not, I have the experience of no less than three synopsis under my belt and I shall share my tips and tricks with you. I’ll be breaking down the elements needed for synopsis writing. Hopefully, I’ll arm you enough knowledge to craft your own. It’s not hard… honest. It’s simply a different process.

Tip one: literary agents and publishers want the complete story. The synopsis isn’t focused solely on conflict and stakes, it must set out the plot, the character’s journey arc, and most importantly… reveal the climax and ending. Yes, they want to know the ending, they need to know that the story is complete and that its structure works.

Love writing, notebook, pencil, tea

Tip two: Tell the story, but keep it simple. I like to skim through my novel jotting down notes of plot points: Action & Emotion. If you’ve done a Reverse Outline during your edits, then use them. From the notes, I begin to shape my synopsis. The notes highlight the important story elements. Always write your synopsis in 3rd person, even if the novel is 1st person and write in present tense.

Tip three: Think of this as more of a technical paper, it’s a factual explanation of the events that drive your story. Don’t evoke your writing style and voice.

Tip 4: Set the stage by providing the setting and introduce your main characters (Protagonist and antagonist). Always introduce each characters NAME in full capitals, the first time they’re mentioned. Then include where the story starts and identify the inciting moment. But keep it simple. Use a few well-chosen words to evoke meaning.

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From there we begin to flesh out the details by revealing what the protagonist and antagonist are planning to do. Showing the plot points through how, why and what the characters are doing – their goals! Don’t include side quests, additional characters or plot twists – unless they’re vital in explaining the story arc. There should be practically no backstory or description, it will clutter the synopsis.

Tip five: Finally, it’s time to reveal how the story ends and how it was achieved and remember to link it back to the inciting moment.

So there you have it, a guide to writing your own synopsis. And remember the hardest part is conquering your doubt and beginning anyway. After all, you can and probably will edit your synopsis many times.

Good luck and happy writing!

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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, 2021.
Writing Tips - blog banner

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.

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

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, 2021.