f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Another Piece of Advice for HtBPWs

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, May 21, 2004

Another Piece of Advice for HtBPWs

Since I'm in the advice giving mode and since it's Friday and, as happens every week, I'm nearly comotose as I sit here looking at what may be the first of seven consecutive days of rain, I'd like to recommend that you study the art of the pitch-statement.

It's corny and trite and it goes against everything we feel as artists, but it's actually close to imperative that you can boil your story down to--take a breath here--one compelling sentence. Thirty words, at most.

Sound horrible? To be frank, there's no point really in arguing. It needs to be done and the person to do so is you. Marketing folks may not get the scope of the book. Editorial folks may miss your unique hook. You know both, so squeeze them down into thirty words. Or less.

It's a skill, not an art. You can develop it but you may need to practice. It's not actually the worst idea to come up with three or four that take different approaches. You can use different pitch statements for different audiences.

As an incentive to practice, let's run a little contest. Winner gets a free F*I*F book--say, Ann Tatlock's All the Way Home.

Write up a UNIQUE pitchline for either the book To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, or A Christmas Carol. Submit them over the next week (two maximum per writer) and I'll select a winner. (Caveat: I'll need at least ten submissions for the contest to make sense.)

Happy Weekend.