Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Time to Pitch ~By Suzy Leopold

Are you ready for some pitching?

StL Cardinals
No! Not that kind of pitch
You don't need your bat and ball!

You need a piece of paper and a pencil.

I'm talking about a pitch for a book! Specifically, a verbal pitch for a reader, an agent or an author. 

WHO should write a pitch?     
  • Writers
WHAT is a pitch?    
  • A concise summary of a book. 
  • A compressed summary of a book.
  • A summary of a book expressed in very few words.
  • A synopsis of your story.
WHY write a pitch?
  • Support the vital idea and premise of a story.
  • An excellent tool that clearly states the purpose and meaning of a story.
  • To capture the attention and hook a reader, an agent and/or editor.
HOW to write a pitch:

There are numerous styles of pitches and many ideas on how to write a pitch.

There are elevator pitches, 3 to 5 minute pitches, structured loglines, verbal pitches and more. 

There are a variety of examples, templates, and frameworks to guide your writing as you create a pitch.

Example #1

1. Once upon a time there was ________.
2. Every day ________.
3. One day ________.
4. Because of that ________.
5. Because of that ________.
6. Until finally ________.

Example #2
  • Identify the main character. Who is he/she? Why should the reader care?
  • State what he/she wants/needs.
  • Explain what stands in the way.
  • Briefly share the beginning, middle and end.
  • Idnetify the genre.
  • Share your pitch with enthusiasm.
Example #3
  • Somebody ________.
  • Wants/Needs ________.
  • But ________.
  • So, ________.
  • Then ________.
Words to Know:
  • Concise
  • Succinct
  • Focused
  • Clarity
  • Premise

Additional Thoughts on Preparing a Verbal Pitch:

Consider the thesis of your manuscript. Think about a thesis in the thematic sense and not in terms of plot. What is your story ultimately about?

Think about the heart of your story. What is it truly about? What do you want the reader to take away?

Use active, concise language and short sentences so the listener can process all of the information. 

Just like writing a manuscript, once you have a draft for your pitch, it is important to reread it. Read the pitch aloud. Revise it again and again. Rewrite your pitch. 

Just as you seek some objective opinions and fresh eyes for your manuscripts, share your pitch with a trusted writerly friend or a critique group.

You may want to consider writing four to five pitches for one manuscript. Consider writing the pitch in different ways with several voices. Write a pitch in the main character's voice or in an author's voice.

Tell your story in a unique way so that the listener will request to hear more about your story.

A well planned pitch should intrigue and pique interest.  A thoughtful pitch will make your manuscript stand out from the rest. 

Choose your words carefully. This is time for your story to shine. Practice your pitch. Memorize your pitch.
Happy First Da
of Autumn

Autumn on the Illinois Prairie
Time to play ball!

Share your idea of a verbal pitch for a manuscript that you are writing. Post it in the comment section below.


  1. Love your ball gear, Prairie Girl. Great tips on pitching a pitch out of the park.

    1. And I love your use of alliteration, Kathy . . . Pitching a pitch out of the park! Thank you for your support.
      ~Your Prairie Garden Sunflower

  2. Great post, Suzy! Here is one of mine, which was written before all your helpful tips:
    "Felines rule. Dogs are ready to revolt. If canines do their dogged best to cooperate can the kingdom be united?"

    1. Your pitch is catching my attention, Jarm. Thank you for your support of the GROG Blog.

  3. Great photos and a very helpful post on pitching, Suzy!

    1. You are the one who is always so helpful to me, Ariel. It warms my heart to know that you found the post valuable and like my silly pictures.

  4. Great pitch Suzy! And, I love the fall picture.

    1. Your comment is appreciated, Stacy. I hope you, too, are noting some lovely Autumn colors in the beautiful Rocky Mountain State.

  5. Great post, Suzy! I've also been using the SWBST formula for plot connections for a long time... brought it with me from my teaching days right into my writing. It works wonders!

    1. You are correct, Carrie, the SWBST formula is an excellent writer's tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. It definitely is a great format to provide structure for a story even before your manuscript is written. A writer can think about the needs/wants of the mc, the obstacles, a climax and finally a resolution.

  6. Before every conference someone tells us to practice these "pitches" in case an agent or editor asks "What do you write?" Having a short summary handy can really make a difference. It did for me. When asked the question, I had 2 minutes to give a pitch and the agent asked for 30 pages. Then asked for the whole manuscript. Then offered representation. SO...a solid , well=practiced pitch works.'s okay to practice out loud in front of a mirror!

    1. Thank you for sharing your expereince of the importance of preparing the just right pitch, Darlene, that equaled sucess for you. Since the time frame for a pitch varies from two to five minutes, it is so important for a writer to practice [in front of a mirror, as you suggested] a concise pitch that impresses and hooks the attention of an agent in such a short period of time.

    2. Spell check:
      ; )

  7. Great steps to work out a pitch, Suzy. I always struggle with them. Thanks!

    1. Hopefully these tips will help you to write your next pitch, Patty.

  8. Appreciations for pitching these eyedears to us, dear Suzy. Here is 1 of my current pitches - Jan's p.b. pitch: Foo Foo is a stowaway on a long ocean voyage. When she is discovered, will this dog have to walk the plank? Or can she figure out a way to make herself part of the crew? (inspired by a historical event..)

    1. Your pitch about Foo Foo is piquing my attention, Jan. I want to know more about her.