Thursday, August 10, 2017

What a pitch!

Yippee, hooray, darn, and drat. It's pitching season. As much as it inspires excitement and hope, it can also be a frenzy of panic. Whether you're aiming to pitch for a contest, a query letter, to an editor, or at a conference, the end result's the same: You need a good pitch, or you're going to lose out. Sorry, them's the breaks, folks.

I know that might sound harsh, but it's super important that writers understand that this is a business, and that the industry expects certain standards and a degree of recognizable professionalism. And what is that exactly? It's knowing your business, your preferred career. There are a million and one websites and blogs out there about pitching. You can find all you need and more on how to craft the pitch you need.

But let's face it. You want to know what's going to make you stand out more than anyone else, don't you? Well, if you want to make it in this business, this is something you should be thinking about before you even pitch. Why are you and your story unique? This is a hard question. A really hard one. So rather than trying to dash off a pitch in a day, or circle it around frantically between friends for weeks on end, I suggest you do something first to prepare: go and sit in a quiet place. Think. Work out in the very core of who you are as a writer why this story should be out there in the world. Just because it's a good yarn? Because it popped into your head? Or does it have something to say? What will it give the world that wasn't there before? What can you give the world that it needs to hear?

Now, will you write this all down in your pitch? No. But will it influence how you write your pitches? Yes. Remember, you're selling yourself as an author, too, not just one book (well, unless you only intend to sell one book, and that's fine!).

So, in short, before you run around trying to form a pitch, get into the mindset of a professional. Not a neurotic, under-confident person terrified of your industry. You chose to be here. So you're worthy. You're reading this post. Which means you're serious. So take yourself seriously, too. You're learning your craft, doing your "internship", learning the ropes of your business. Like in any other business, decide what you want as your career. Then, once you know what you want, and how you want to say it, then the pitching of your books will come a lot, lot easier!

Good luck!

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