Recently, we had the best editor pitch in our careers—the one that sold our book The Turning Stone Chronicles—The Promised One to Soul Mate Publishing. It wasn’t the first time we had pitched this book, or others, and it probably won’t be the last time we have to pitch. Pitching is a constant for any writer and that face-to-face contact goes a long way. Along our journey we’ve picked up a lot of tips. Here are twelve pointers we hope you’ll find helpful.
- Dress for success. Whether you realize it or not, this is a job interview. Even though you might type in your PJs, you want to make a good first impression on the editor.
- Make a cheat sheet note card (small enough to fit discreetly in your hand) with your title, subgenre, book length, hook, your blurb and any contests the book finaled in. These are notes for you, not for the editor. We all get nervous and forget the simplest things. A cheat sheet comes in handy when this happens.
- Smile. It makes you look confident.
- Keep eye contact with the editor. This also helps you look confident.
- Give her your business card. Make sure all your contact information is on your card: website, email, telephone, and any other contact information you’d like to add. We put our book blurb on the back of our business card so it’s available for her to read (should she choose) after we’ve left. It’s also a great way to keep your story in front of her since most editors don’t accept one-sheets or other papers at a conference, but they will accept your business cards. Remember, they have to carry anything they accept back with them on the plane.
- Take a deep breath and talk distinctly and slowly. It’s natural to speak quickly when you’re nervous, but in a room with several other editors and writers giving their pitches it’s easy to miss words that are said too fast.
- Start your pitch with your book title and book cover blurb. Don’t read it—memorize it. Do your best to make it sound like you’re telling a friend about your book, not reeling off a commercial. Practice makes perfect on this hint. After you hooked her, hopefully, with your great blurb, let her know the subgenre, length, contest wins, or other pertinent information about the book.
- Be enthusiastic about your book. She’ll notice your passion and it could spark her interest.
- Keep your initial presentation to about half the time allotted for the pitch. This leaves time for her to ask questions.
- If you see she’s not interested, or she says she just bought something like it, or you have extra time, have another book ready to pitch. Just make sure it’s in a genre she’s accepting. Catherine actually pitched three books in one session because her initial pitch went so fast. The editor asked to see all three!
- Ask her how to submit. Make sure you get her business card with contact information. There’s nothing worse than leaving the interview and realizing you didn’t find out where to send your manuscript. And, yes, Catherine has been so nervous and excited that an editor asked for her book that she walked out without her contact information.
- Don’t forget to say, “Thanks” as you leave. This may seem like a given, but in tense situations it’s easy for things slip your mind, as noted by Catherine’s mistake in the hint above. If she doesn’t ask for your book, be sure to thank her for her time. You don’t want to burn any bridges. You might have another book later you’ll want to pitch to the same editor or house.
Do you have any tips to add to this?