The latest trend in writers marketing is to tell everyone they need an "elevator" pitch. A short (15 words or less) pitch that you could use if you ran into an editor in an elevator. Something to get their attention. I worked hard on this-thought I had a great one for a Women's Fiction novel I wrote.
Here's the pitch:"A convention services manager discovers a family secret that complicates her happy ever after."
And the title: "If the Shoe Fits--sometimes the last thing you need is a fairy godfather."
I was prepared. So I went in for a pitch session with an agent. I gave my well polished pitch. She paused, blinked and said. "Okay, so tell me more."
I drew a complete blank. "Um, well, um." Wait...aren't they supposed to ask more specific questions about the book? "Um, well, okay... it's a Cinderella story--"
She cut me off. "Sorry Cinderella stories are over done. No one will buy it."
I swallowed. "Well, it's really and anti-Cinderella story. You see, the twist is that the Fairy Godfather gums up the works and the girl has to take her own life into her hands if she wants a happy ever after."
Agent frowned. "I don't get it."
"Okay..." My mind scrambled. "You see the heroine hasn't moved on since her mother's death. One day at the worst possible time, she discovers she has a fairy godfather who wants to change her life and give her a happy ever after."
"Cinderella stories are over done," Agent dismissed my pitch.
"No, see, the godfather tries to get the heroine to live the life he wants for her and she must learn to finally stand up for herself and live the life she wants for her."
"But," the agent says, "Why would you not want a fairy godfather?"
I stared at her, knowing I had lost all hope at this point. "This is really tough," I mutter.
"Why don't you tell me about something else you have," the kind agent says.
I didn't have any other elevator pitches ready. I swallowed. "But, this is the best book I've ever written."
"Writers, your time is up. Please finish up and allow the next set of people in." The moderator announced.
I stood, shook the agent's hand and thanked her for seeing me. She handed me her card and said it was nice to meet me.
The point to this little story? You can write a good story. You can follow all the latest "rules" and write a good pitch. But that doesn't mean you'll always be fully prepared for what happens next, especially when the editor/agent doesn't get what you're trying to say. So, my advice, learn about pitches, do your best to write one, then realize that we're all human and even published authors can gum up a good appointment. Give yourself a break. And most important, try, try again. Cheers~