Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pitches and Peeps

Got your pitch ready? You know—that pithy snappy sentence conveying the gist of your 80K story. The “hook” that reels everyone in. The premise that Save the Cat’s Blake Snyder describes as a “dramatic situation that is like an itch you have to scratch.”

The pitch is the one- or two-liner that answers the question:

What’s your book about?

Wait. You’re telling me I have to boil down my 80,000 word novel to a sentence? What?

Daunting task? Yes.

Do-able? Yes, again.

What exactly goes into a pitch?

According to Blake Snyder, your pitch should include irony, a compelling picture, your target audience, and a killer title. Here's an example.

A business man falls in love with a hooker he hires to be his date for the weekend. (Pretty Woman)

Essentially your log line should convey these three things…

1) the main character (who the story’s about)
2) his goal (what he wants)
3) the antagonistic force (what stands in his way)

An archeologist (main character) is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant (goal) before the Nazis (antagonistic force). (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

And a totally amazing pitch will leave your audience dying to know more.

When do you pitch?

Oh—you know—at that conference, standing in line for the bathroom next to (insert dream agent’s name).


Honestly though. I’ve taken duo elevator rides with agents, stood next to them in the bathroom at the sinks, found myself next to them in line at lunch. Did I make a pitch? No. Not because I’m the biggest wimp and sorriest networker on the planet. I’ve just heard how so many of them hate the elevator pitch. I mean, think about it, would you want to potty dance next to someone who’s going on and on about their super fabulous book that they wrote because of a dream they had and it’s going to be the next big thing—bigger than Twilight—when all you really want to do is pee.

Pitches should be delivered at pitch sessions and slams. After a workshop with super dream agent. (Or during the workshop—depending on the nature of the workshop).

Or in a query letter.

So pitches? Do YOU have a totally amazing one? I'd love to hear!

Oh - and since Peter Cottontail’s hopping down the bunny trail, a shout out to PEEPS.

Yummers. I particularly like the pink ones. And the purple. And the green. Oh, heck—it’s SUGAR. I like them all!

But also a shout out to all my other peeps. My writer peeps, my teacher peeps, my blogger peeps, my former student peeps, my current student peeps, my dance peeps, my family peeps—ALL OF YOU.

I heart you dearly. Without you, I wouldn’t know what total unconditional love and support is. Without you I wouldn’t keep following my dream. Without you I wouldn’t have followers. Or people to read these sappy, nutty blogs. I’m truly thankful for all of you and SO glad to know you.

I LOVE peeps.

Soooo—what’s (who’s) YOUR favorite kind of peep?!


  1. Aw, I want to love peeps. They're cute and colorful, but I don't like marshmallows. I may be the only person in the world, but...so be it.

    Writing a pitch is hard, but it is so worth it! Good luck to anyone in the pitching and querying trenches!

  2. I gave a pitch in October. The agent accepted my manuscript to read. Still waiting to hear back.

  3. I like the yellow peeps best. Though I would very much like to try the chocolate covered ones I keep hearing about.

    And I do need to work on my pitch. I haven't gotten very good at that.

  4. Yeah, sorry--I think peeps are gnarly. But a great pitch is priceless! I wish I'd written my pitch before I wrote my whole story...

  5. I love Peeps. I love fresh Peeps- I know some people are in favor of letting them get a little stale and that is not me. If a Peep has been out of its plastic for more than a couple hours then it is past its time. I really like the chocolate flavored Peeps.

  6. I'm there with Vicki T on the peeps. They're cute, they're colorful (man, are those colorful - those would lead to colorful poops, I am afraid) but eating peeps is like eating chewey styrofoam.

    Alison - likin' the post on pitches.

  7. My logline for current WIP is not so good, which might mean bad things for the WIP. I have some nice loglines floating around for two ideas-- one of them is so Snyder-worthy (irony, kick-ass title, promise of the premise), if I do say so myself, it makes me want to do a happy dance. But a pitch isn't a manuscript so I shouldn't get carried away patting myself on the back.
    - Sophia.

  8. I'm into the chocolate covered bunny peeps right now, though I've been really good about not eating them every chance I get. :)

    Great info about pitching. Here's one I used recently (on the web, not in person).

    Kat Wake escapes death by agreeing to steal her teacher’s memories of the afterlife. But he’s on his own mission. He wants her soul.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Marie at the Cheetah


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