Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

Logline and the Perfect Pitch

Previously we’ve covered how to write a Synopsis and How to Hook an Agent. Why not take a look? In future post’s we’ll uncover Crafting a Novel Title and Writing Book Blurbs. This week we’re taking a closer look at Loglines.

As a writer I’m good with written words, but not so much when it comes to talking about my project. And I’m not alone, many writers flounder when asked the dreaded question; ‘What are you working on?’ or ‘What’s your book about?’

How to craft a Novel Logline and the Perfect Pitch

I cringe when thinking about my many long-winded blunders. They had little to do with my work and more about me clutching at something to say. I remember the life-light drifting from their eyes as I waffled on, knowing that we were both thinking – that sounds bloody awful.

This is where a Logline comes in. Or elevator Pitch, the name comes from the notion that the pitch should be succinct enough to be delivered to another party while riding an escalator. In essence, it is the quick presentation, outlining the idea for your novel. Usually one sentence, and spoken in around 30 seconds.

That’s quite a feat, to deconstruct a whole novel and narrow it down to its barebones. And there’s more. The Logline has a duty to perform. To engage our interest, evoke emotion by introducing the stakes. To introduce our written world, and pluck at the potential reader’s emotions.

Within the pitch, the following elements must be incorporated.

  • Protagonist – this is where you need to get creative. Instead of character names, give descriptions like: vengeful fairy, disabled cop or workaholic mum.
  • The protagonist goal – what does your main character want to achieve?
  • Conflict – the antagonistic force. What is your character fighting against?

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

A great idea is to read Logline for movies on IMDB. Here are two of my most recent favourite movies.

Black Panther: T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.

Thor Ragnarok: Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.

Practice your amazingly crafted logline in front of a mirror, then on your pets, kids, partner, best friend and anyone who will listen. Gauge their responses, if you get the glazed look perhaps it’s time for a tweak. Otherwise, congratulations you’ve conquered the dreaded Logline!

Here’s mine; do you think I’ve added the three elements? Is it intriguing or should I head back to the drawing board? I’d love your feedback.

Knights of Shadow and Lies: A telepathic Fae princess and clandestine guard race against the fall of the blood-moon, to save a goddess from a manipulative Magician before he attains control over the Enchanted Realms.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer
© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk Beta Readers

Working with Beta Readers

Getting our writing critiqued is a vital learning process for writers. Through feedback, authors can mould their novel into a piece of work that’s coherent and has marketable appeal. Beta Reader’s response can help to judge which part of your book will work for your audience and those that may not.

I’ve wanted a Beta Reader for quite some time, but had no idea of how to go about it. Can we rely on our family and friends to be honest? Probably not, I tend to sugar coat things for those I care about.

How do we find Beta Readers?

Blogger Ari Meghlem recently asked this question on Facebook. Reaching out on social media is a great way of finding Beta Readers. It’s daunting. It requires bravery and a little common sense.

Finding the right reader is a vital first step. There’s no point in asking someone to read your genre if they don’t like it. Their feedback will be less than helpful. Ask questions and build a relationship. Your ideal reader should be similar to your target audience.

Debut Novel NA fantasy Author Lorraine Ambers Beta Reader

Here are my 3 tips for working with your Beta Reader.

 

Give Guidance

Develop a list of questions that you’d like answered. These might be about plot, pacing, strength of character, or the organisation of the stories concept. Your checklist should meet the specific needs of each book you write. As a great starting point for question inspiration, go check out some of my ideas on these Pinterest boards.

Learnt to love negative feedback

Not everyone will like your work. So you shouldn’t revise your book based entirely on one person’s perspective. Gaining different points of views can help pinpoint the areas that need working on. And as hard as it can be, ask yourself: Will addressing the issues make your book better? Sometimes accepting the truth hurts, but that’s how we grow and learn. So remember to thank your beta readers, and embrace their feedback.

Return the Favour

Offer to work in tandem with your BETA reader. Or consider returning the favour at a later date. By reading someone else’s work you can gain experience at reading with a critical eye. This will be invaluable when editing your own WIP.

I want to say a huge warm thanks to Ari for agreeing to beta read my first novel, her feedback so far has been fantastic. You can read Ari’s previous guest blog post Here.

Thanks for reading my post. Do you have any tips on working with beta readers? If so, please share.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

 © Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.

 

universe, night sky, stars

Guest post – From Whispers to Roars by Kristy Nicolle

Please welcome indie author Kristy Nicolle. She has published a fantasy romance series, The Tidal Kiss Trilogy and is due to release her new dystopian novel Something Blue next week. 

Author Kristy Nicolle
Today, Kristy is sharing her experience on self branding and platform building on social media. 

Author Lorraine Ambers
When I was asked to write this guest blog post I didn’t really know what to say. Lorraine informed me that I’m quite the social media guru, which I guess until recently I never really noticed. So I’m here to talk to all you authors, those of you who are new, old, considering publishing your first book or looking to learn something new.The thing is, marketing via social media, or any other platform for that matter, isn’t awfully difficult. I’ll tell you one thing though, you must have one key quality to succeed. That quality is BELIEF. It sounds sappy and dramatic, but the biggest way to fail at the first hurdle in publishing is to believe that nobody cares. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say, that it’s all been said before.

 

Here’s the thing.

It has all been said before.

 

But not by you.

 Book Tea writing

If you’re a new author you go out there with a freaking megaphone and you tell anyone who will listen about your book. I know it’s scary, I know it’s hard to know if people will want to hear it, but the truth is if you don’t start shouting about your book, nobody else will. Being an author isn’t the kind of profession for those who are shy anymore. Writers used to be thought of as raving introverts, incapable of communicating in any other way than by the pages of their novels, but times have changed, and with indie publishing, you are your own marketing campaign, you are a part of the product. You have to be the one to sell it, to tell people how amazing your book is. To SHOW them what you’re capable of. But to do that, and do it well, you have to believe you have something worth selling. It’s true, vampires and werewolves aren’t a new concept, but how is YOUR vampire novel different? Why should a reader pick it up? If Picasso and Van Gogh both sat down to the same scene, they would paint entirely different pictures. The same goes for writing. Every author is different, and though we walk in the same genres, and among the same types of stories, our experiences and the way in which we write them are nothing less than one of a kind. That’s what you have to realise to market well. Nobody else can be you. Only you can do that. Only you can tell your stories. So, the most important thing is to put your embarrassment and fear aside and start selling yourself. Take a long hard look at who you are as an author and what makes your stories special. Why should a reader pick them up? Pay for them? If you can’t answer these questions- neither can your readers.

Never give up 

The second thing to know about marketing online is simple- image is everything. Often authors say to me – well my graphics don’t matter, they’re paying for my words, not my artistic skills. WRONG. Putting up crappy graphics puts doubt in people’s minds that you know what a quality product looks like before they’ve even checked out the blurb/excerpt. Looks do matter, now more than ever because the market is particularly competitive. You can write the world’s next great novel, but if it looks like crap nobody will buy it. People are shallow, and they say that seven seconds in the length of time it takes someone to decide whether to one click or not. This isn’t just for covers, it’s for everything. Website, teasers, banners. If your author persona doesn’t look professional, people will automatically assume your writing is of a similar quality, even if that’s not the case. If you’re not good with graphics, hire someone!

Writer desk author
My final piece of advice is persistence. Doing one round of spamming facebook groups with your ads isn’t going to see overnight results. Facebook platforms, like anything truly effective take a while to grow and evolve into what you want them to be. Being an indie author these days truly is a marathon, not a sprint. Never be afraid to change it up, to try what’s new and HONESTLY, don’t take every single person’s advice. What works for some authors won’t work for everyone, and marketing trends are just that, trends. They change quickly and often burn out as so many people jump on them they quickly lose their effectiveness.

 If you can dream it you can do it

At the end of the day, there is no one way to market yourself, there is only what you think is right for you. The most important thing is that you’re happy with your approach and open minded enough to make changes when you need to. Trust your gut, believe your product is worth buying and persist. Good things will happen! 

Kristy Nicolle xx

Pixel image computer desk research business

Exploring Google+ for Writers

Hi everyone, thanks for joining me on my expedition of Google+. As an author and blogger I need to get my content out there. To be seen by the masses. Social media provides us this opportunity. But where do we start?

Entering the realm of Platform Building is daunting and a subject we’ve already covered. With our brand discovered and in place, it’s time to adventure into wide web.

photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
Take a look at some of the previous journeys:

Reaching a wide audience and connecting with our readers is the aim, so let’s get started!

Step on: Set up an account using the same crafted brand bios and photos. How to achieve this can be found on my blog about building your platform. It’s an important first step and should not be missed. Tip: Google+ maximises your Google search results from essential key words in your Bio. Understand your target audience; use the same language so they can discover you. Example: fantasy, non-fiction, young adult and romance are a few of mine.

You can create a personnel or business profile. I opted for a personnel page. As a new author I wanted to be proactive in reaching out to other people and have them get to know me. You have to use your personal profile to do so.

Business writer artist author Pixabay

Link your account to your website, and any other media sites you have created. Having multiple platforms generates more visibility for your work. More sites! –  I hear you cry, I know, It’s hard work. Take it one step at a time and breathe. It’s taken me a couple of years to get to this point. I’m still learning and growing. So can you.

Google+ is an excellent site for meeting up with likeminded individuals. Choose relevant interests and community groups. I’ve joined communities like; Writers blogs, Creative writing and Book reviews. Tip: Select a few and concentrate on them, don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s easy to get carried away and hard to maintain.

photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)
photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)
Unlike other social media, Google+ has the advantage of creating circles. Your circles could contain containing authors, editors or publishers.  Reach out and connect with your circles, formatting posts that connect specifically with them in mind. They in turn, will link you to their circles, helping you to grow.

Like all media keep posts relevant, with good content and on a regular basis. Get to know your connections and have fun. The advantage of Google+ is there is no maximum content. You can submit a chapter of your novel to be reviewed or post book reviews. It’s an intelligent platform with a host of feature just begging to be put to good use.

Google+ Hangouts is a free online video chat that can include up to 10 people. Just think of the possibilities this opens up, book readings and meeting your readers.

Why not follow me on Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/2/+LorraineAmbers

Tell me about your Google+ experience, share some great tips, I love to here from you.

©Lorraine Ambers 2017

Writing desk Author Lorraine Ambers

Author’s introduction to LinkedIn

 

photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)

Us authors need to be on social media. We need to be seen and we need our unique voices heard.Truth is we alone are responsible for showing the public who we are and what we are about.

In other blogs we’ve taken a bite sized Pinterest lesson and Building an social media platform.  I’ll be honest each blog I’m learning too.

Be brave and take the plunge!

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

As with all social media Keywords are essential, this is prevalent with your title on LinkedIn. Its the first port of call for like minded people to make a snap decision as to weather or not you’re a potential candidate to connect with.

Numbers are not important! Your target audience is vital, so choose editors, authors, writers, bloggers and publicists within your genre to drive your target audience towards you. Your search will begin with similar Keywords that you painstakingly placed in your title.

Pixel image computer desk research business

Use advanced search to your benefit. You could type in, YA Fantasy Author or Fantasy reader and see who pops up. It will enable you to search for people, jobs, groups and much more. Now connect until your hearts content, or in my case, until I’m bored stiff.

Fill in your profile, get creative but be truthful. If this is the first social medial you’re approaching, a little work now can be transferred to other sites when your ready. Helping to maintain your brand. Add your experiences and keep them relevant to your platform. I also run a welding fabrication business but that’s not going to help me as an author.

Remember your Keywords!

Business writer artist author Pixabay

Join groups and get chatting. As with anything social, sitting on the sidelines will not get you noticed (note to self, that’s why parties are no fun). Be brave, introduce yourself, ask questions or just answer others posts. In business it takes time to build recognition and then trust, so be patient.

I have found that LinkedIn is the most responsive platform towards my blog. So remember bloggers to share your work on social media’s, add links or use widgets that connect to this resourceful site.

An image tells a thousand words!

 

Pink Flowers Author Lorraine Ambers

With all media sites no one likes to be hassled about your book. The fastest way to put off connections is to appear selfish and egotistical. A good goal is to aim for 10% self promotion and 90% give back. Share, comment, interact and offer tips)

I’m still learning, so why don’t some of you lovely share your LinkedIn tips with me!

universe, night sky, stars

My first guest post

This week I’m sharing my experiences on the eternal scribbler of why I believe, you’re never too old to learn new things.

Also I get to cheat a little… saves me working on another post this week ;).

Follow the link and take a look!

https://theeternalscribbler.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/guest-post-youre-never-too-old-to-learn/

Author Lorraine Ambers Beagle Dexter Dog

Persevere and conquer, it’s worth it!

I’ve not always been a cat or dog person. It wasn’t that I hated animals, I just didn’t understand them. I certainly didn’t understand why owners got so attached to their furry friends. So when my family begged for a dog I gave them all the reasons why I would never own one.

  • They smell!
  • Malt fur everywhere!
  • Lick your face, Yuck!
  • Chew things to death!
  • And you’ll have to clean up poop!

With the argument successfully won, we resumed back to normal family life.

As a child I loved my pets. I loved my many, many short term pets. All ironically named Lucky. Perhaps that’s what put me off the little critters?

In the end, my family won. We were given Bailey a stunning rag-doll kitten that needed a homed. At first, I wasn’t sure what I thought of him. He was cute, loved to attack my ankles and took my husbands undivided attention. Everyone one else, fell head-over heals for the fluff ball.

Cat & Dog asleep friends
Fluff & Stuff
It wasn’t until he went AWOL, that when I realised I too loved him. I was devastated, sent out lost cat flyers and searched the streets at night. We found him in the neighbours garden with a lady friend, little tramp!

With my new found love of all things on 4 paws I declared to the family it was time for a dog. Not any dog, the right dog. One we could train to love Bailey bear. I did my research, picked the correct breed of dog for our lifestyle and thought, this will be great, wonderful, easy peasy.

Assumptions is the mother of all F**k ups!

For me having a puppy was worse than a newborn baby. I’ve never faced anything so stressful. I know! I sound melodramatic and ridiculous.

Your probably thinking; Try renovations, relationship break down, moving house or worse the death of a loved one… I have! This for me was far worse. I was driven to the brink by the worlds cutest creature. It was undoubtedly the last thing I expected.

In hind site (Oh bloody hind site) I should have used  a dog crate or only allowed him access to one room for the first month. I should have given him dog boundaries, I should have realised he was a puppy not a toddler.

But he was defenceless; like a baby. My mothering instinct took over and I couldn’t be cruel to my tiny Dexter. Instead I watched him with hawk eyes, for the tell-tale ground sniffing showing he needed a pee. Two problems with this method, the first he literally peed every 5 minutes for the first 6 weeks. Second; he’s a hound, they constantly sniff!!! My house stank of white vinegar from all the wee patches I had to scrub.

dexy1
Nickname ~ Dexy Adair
Thankfully he slept a lot… little bugger would root me out, snuggle up  on my lap and sleep on me. crafty on his part, as it made me bond with him. Increasing my internal struggle.

 

I’d stand outside for ages with him, in the middle of winter but as soon as he crossed the threshold into the house, he’d cock his leg and piddle. Little bugger! That wasn’t all, He wouldn’t go on walks! He would shiver by the front door, like monsters lurked outside. When I finally lured him past the front drive he would stand there and refuses to move.

At this point I broke down, crying hysterically to my husband (I’m not usually the weepy type). ‘I can’t keep him, he’s ruining my life… but I love him and someone else might treat him badly.’ My poor hubby replied. ‘He’s just a dog, not a baby.’ Half of me agreed with him while the other part thought. Stupid man, doesn’t he understand?

By the time he was four months old I had come to my senses (Only slightly at that point) and got him a large crate, more like a giant playpen. I would pop him in so I could cook dinner, have a shower, live a normal life… knowing he couldn’t pee on anything, which was usually everywhere; except outside!

Flame-cream rag-doll cat
Nickname ~ Bailey Bear
Ultimately I persevered and gave us both some serious training. I taught him how to listen to commands and me how to give them. Now he’s my perfect companion. He keeps me company when I’m writing, I no longer feel lonely. It can get that way when your an author. He’s my muse, we walk together and each time he makes me smile and reboots my creativity. The initial stress has now become my stress reliever. He also helped me grieve for my much loved, Beautiful Bailey.

 

I wonder if I could use this experience as an example to an interview question? ‘Tell us about a time you encountered difficulties and how you overcome them.’

My answer would be: ‘I had a puppy, it was insanely stressful but I learnt with perseverance anything is achievable.’

I apply this method to any task I want to accomplish. As humans we are always evolving, always learning and always have the capabilities to achieve the impossible.

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

Share with me the times you’ve struggled but battled through, conquered and come out stronger. No incident is too big or small, they all develop who we are.

Beagle dog Black cat laying together
Brotherly love ~ Dexter is happy again with his new companion, Jaspurr.