How to pitch your book

By: Kit de Waal

Exercises / All / All

  1. If you have finished your manuscript, (or if you have a good idea of how your manuscript will progress) write a ONE LINE sentence (no more than ten words) describing the main action in each chapter
  2. Each chapter must contain the ACTION in the chapter not – ‘she realises she loves him’. Realisation is a feeling not an action. So your sentence should say something like ‘She sees him in the restaurant with another woman and throws up on the pavement.’
  3. When you have all your sentences together, look at the ones you can amalgamate. So in our above example ‘She sees him in the restaurant with another woman, throws up, breaks into his and apartment and gets into bed.’ This is a thriller by the way!  Let’s say it’s a version of Fatal Attraction.
  4. And go on like this until you have a well-edited paragraph of action, not feeling. That paragraph should contain the absolute key events in your story including the ending or reveal.
  5. Now, make your key events sing by adding a name, upping any passive verbs, intriguing your reader/listener by losing the ending or reveal, ensuring that you are always describing what happens not the themes. So to come back to our cheesy example:

Fiona was looking for her wedding dress before she met the groom. On her first date with Mark, she books the church and buys the rings. At last!  But Mark is a free agent and when Fiona sees him in the same restaurant a week later but with someone else in her seat, she brings their wedding night forward.  Petals on the bed, champagne on ice, dress and veil.  She’s just waiting for the groom.’

Remember, you are always trying be memorable, specific and intriguing.  You want people to be able to distinguish it from other pitches they hear but also want to know more.


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