Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One-Sentence Pitching

Okay, so the contest with Chris Richman is coming up. I know putting together one sentence that pitches your book is hard. Terrifying. Chocolate-worthy. Here're some posts that will hopefully help.

Sisters in Scribe did a great post here.

Mary Lindsey gave us some wisdom on the QT blog about the "elevator pitch."

Literary agent, Joanna Volpe, weighed in on pitches here.

Author Michelle McLean gave some insight on writing a logline (repubbed on the QT blog).

I blogged about the high-concept hook here.

Randy Ingermanson analyzes pitches here and here. (Thanks to Nicole for the linkage!)

And what would my pitch be for my YA dystopian novel, CONTROL ISSUES?

In a world where Thinkers brainwash the population and Rules are not meant to be broken, fifteen-year-old Violet does a hell of a job shattering them to pieces in her search for answers about her “dead” sister and not-so-missing father.

Hope something helps! What do you think? Can you craft a single sentence that describes your book? What do you say when people ask you what your book is about? That's your pitch. Make it into one sentence and get ready for the contest!

And so much for only blogging 3 days this week! Sheesh. At least I have nothing planned for Thursday...yet. *grins*

59 comments:

Jen said...

Wow I loved your pitch!!! I am inspired from it! I can't wait to get my hands on the links above and then tonight I think while I'm revising I'm also going to be thinking about my pitch, I know mine needs work rather than stumbling over the question when they ask!! I always give them too little of an idea of what it's about!! Yikes I'm rambling now, lol!

Matthew Rush said...

I wasn't going to enter this because it didn't feel fair after Cole gave her guest post on my blog and I thought she was hosting the contest.

If not I may have to take another look. Thanks for all the great linkage Elana!

Tina Lynn said...

And I was just contemplating a query letter for an as of yet unfinished book, then you go and ask for the moon. One sentence. Urgh.

JustineDell said...

Wow, that's a really good one-liner! For the life of me I would never be able to do that my ms.

~JD

Sheri Larsenッ said...

One sentence is tough. Thanks for the links.

Your logline is awesome!! Love it.

MissV said...

This is so timely. Not so much because of the contest...until I finish my book I can't enter most of them. That's one of the Seven Deadly Sins, isn't it?

It's timely for me because word is leaking out amongst my friends that I'm working on a book and they all want to know what it's about.

Rambling through the plot does not help my case.

I have lunch with two friends this week and need a concise way to sum it all up!

Cheree said...

Thanks for all the links. One sentence to describe my novel is hard. Yours definitely sounds great. Looks like I've got my work cut out to fit it all inside the neat little box that is one sentence.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

And we thought writing a query was tough. I've practically memorized the QT posts. Off to check out the Sisters in Scribe one. Thanks, Elana.

Jaydee Morgan said...

Great links - thank you!

Love yours, by the way.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the links and the tips. This is something that I need to work on, but with your expert advice, I think I can pull it off. Happy Tuesday:)
Karen

foldingfields said...

Thanks for those links and the extra help. I really appreciate your dedication to other writers. I'm still working on the pitch. :) Sarah

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Loved your pitch sentence!

Randy Ingermanson, creator of the Snowflake Method, has two recent blog entries about one-line pitches. Both give an example of a pitch, and a discussion of what with it works and doesn't. Here's the blog URL, and anyone interested just has to scroll down to the second and third posts (March 20th and March 17th):

http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/blog/index.php

GREAT post!!

Lisa said...

Oye! One line is hard! I'm gonna have to work on that.

Elana Johnson said...

Thanks for the link Nicole! I'll add it to the post.

Matthew, Cole has nothing to do with this contest. It's her agent, but I don't see why that would make it unfair for you to enter...

Kristi Helvig said...

Thanks for the shout out, Elana! The pitch is relatively easy for me - it's the rest of the ms that's hard. :)

Tracy said...

Creating the one-sentence pitch was relatively easy for me -- it was coming up with the rest of the darn query that gave me heartburn!

Georgiana said...

Great one-liner, Elana! Most of the time I have no trouble doing my pitch, but for the book I'm working on now it's just not coming to me in that precise way I like.

Tara said...

I really should work on this *sigh*

Your pitch is terrific :)

Lisa R said...

I totally loved the one line blurb. It definitely would be enough to get me to pick up the book for more than a second look. It grabbed me and got my attention.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

Thanks for the links! The one line pitch intimidates me quite a bit ;o)

I will have to bookmark these entries!


Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Thanks for the links, been checking them out. Oh well, procrastination over. I better go work on my one line pitch now.

Theresa Milstein said...

Your pitch hooked me!

I had to do my first logline for the Writer's Digest contest, which really helped me with queries because it forced me to explain my manuscript in one measly sentence.

Thanks for the links.

Jonathon Arntson said...

You already saw my attempts a couple months ago and that was ugly. Like with your other contestual announcements, I am both relieved and sorry that I cannot participate.

lynnrush said...

Nice job, Elana. Coming up with one sentence to describe an entire novel is very hard! You give a great example with yours.

It's catchy and engaging and I love the voice!

Good luck to everyone who enters the contest!

Jennie Englund said...

That pitch ROCKS! Especially the "not-so-missing"ness!

Janet Johnson said...

That is a great pitch. Man . . . I kindof miss the days when I thought I could write a great story and be done with it! ;)

Lisa and Laura said...

You are the jedi master of all things pitch related. Seriously. Can't wait to read the entries to this contest. It's always so fun to see what people are writing about!

Stephanie McGee said...

I shall bookmark this for the eventual day I reach the point of crafting a pitch.

Slamdunk said...

Great resources. Equally important to developing a great idea is being able to "sell" others on the concept.

Christina Lee said...

I still need some help so thx for the links!

Christine Fonseca said...

You pitch is great! I am struggling with mine....but it'll get there.

Christine Fonseca said...

You pitch is great! I am struggling with mine....but it'll get there.

Carolyn V. said...

Sweet advice. Thanks for the links. I can't wait to see ya this weekend! Whoop! =)

Steena Holmes said...

Chocolate worthy huh? Ya - I agree!

Tabitha said...

Thanks for all the links! The one-sentence pitch is useful in so many ways. Even when crafting your novel. :)

L.J. Boldyrev said...

You gave us a shout-out! Wow, I feel like a celebrity now. Ha!

Thanks for the links! I don't think I am entering Chris' contest, only because he doesn't rep the sort of stories I write and I don't want to take up his time, BUT I have been trying to come up with a good pitch to have before BEA. Just in case.

Thanks again!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You are my hero! Thanks for the links - I NEED them!

And I LOVE your pitch - love it! :-)

JEM said...

I love the pitch for your book! Sounds like a great contest, I'm looking forward to it.

KM said...

Great links! I had to do a 10-word or less pitch when I submitted once, and it was horribly painful. Having these tips probably would have helped. :)

paulgreci said...

Nice one-sentence pitch Elana!

Dominique said...

Great pitch.

I'm definitely going to have to put some time into crafting my one-sentence pitch.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your one sentence pitch is intriguing. I think sometimes an interesting title can make or break a novel. After all, that is all a browser in the bookstore will see that will prompt him/her to pick up to read your one sentence jacket flap description.

The right title can make a potential buyer stop. I like the title for my urban fantasy, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. Like it?

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for your example and the links. I'm meeting with an agent at a SCBWI conference May 1st and I'm hoping it'll help me have a good pitch.

Palindrome said...

My pitch is usually the first thing I come up with. Yes, I'm strange. I think it comes from all those hours I spend watching movies. Huh.

OfficeGirl said...

Your pitch was awesome!!!!! Thanks for the links!!

PJ Hoover said...

I love the whole concept of a one sentence pitch. It's such a fun challenge. I think I feel this way because I used to think it was impossible!

Talli Roland said...

Great pitch, Elana! Sums it up in a few short words.

Thanks for the links and Happy Tuesday!

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

Yay for linkage. I always appreciate a good pitch session.

Jill Kemerer said...

Okay--love your pitch! And thanks for the great links. Can't wait to check them out!

Elana Johnson said...

Wait. LJ, you're not a celebrity?? Dangitall! I so thought you were.

Good luck with the agent, Natalie.

Thanks for all the pitch-love, guys. Hope these links help a little.

Carolyn, will Friday never come??? Sheesh.

Sara B. Larson said...

I am pretty good at coming up with a "tagline" or one sentence pitch or whatever you want to call it for my queries. Not so much if someone asks me, 'what is your book about?' and I have to verbally answer. You'd think I wasn't the one who even wrote it at that point. Anyway...

I hope you have a great time at the conference this weekend! (and you too Carolyn!) I will be doing my first "speaking" engagement at the AF conference. (5-10 minutes on my road to getting an agent. Nothing too major, but I'm actually kind of excited!) GOod luck with your presentation!

Shelley Sly said...

Thanks for this post! I've been feeling too intimidated to even think about a one-sentence pitch, but I might give it a try now.

Oh, and I love the premise for Control Issues -- sounds amazing! I love dystopian fiction.

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks for the links - hopefully my laptop returns soon. I've got a few ideas, but nothing too scintillating yet :)

Jenn Johansson said...

Great pitch! I can't wait for the contest and to see all you writerly people this weekend! :)

ali said...

Hello! I'm back! Just *waving*

Julia Smith said...

What a great list of extremely helpful links. Thanks!

Sandy Shin said...

Thank you for all the great links! One-sentence pitch is definitely difficult, and I think yours is very, very intriguing. It definitely makes me want to read on!

Jennifer Walkup said...

Your pitch sounds great! I have a tough time pulling that elevator/one line pitch together, myself.

TirzahLaughs said...

It's so hard to boil your plot down to one line especially if you are doing a non-linear comedy. I have yet to figure out how to do that. Since I have about 25 chapters more to write, I figure I have time. I hope.

Perhaps something like....

'Plum Brody lives life jumping from one adrenelin fueled adventure to the next until her mother trys to commit her but can Plum prove she's sane, hide from her ex and bedazzle her brother's basement before the cops come rushing through the door?

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