At the James River Writers 2011 conference, attendees who register to pitch to an agent can meet face to face with people like Michelle Bower, April Eberhardt, Jason Allen Ashlock, and Becca Stumpf. There are opportunities throughout the conference to learn how to best pitch your novel, including the exciting and fun Pitchapalooza!
But how, exactly, do you pitch your book?
We’ll leave some of that to the experts at the conference. But here are a few tips to help you get ready:
1. Perfect the elevator pitch. Get your novel down to a pithy, marketable pitch of 50 words or less, one you can recite backwards and forwards without tripping over the words.
2. Be real. When pitching, be funny, captivating, engaging. Confident.
3. Since number three can be a tall order when nervous, practice, practice, practice. You can start with a mirror, but graduate to friends and other writers.
4. Don’t forget all the things your Mom and Dad told you–sit up straight, smile, give a firm handshake, eye contact!
5. Don’t oversell your novel. While we all want to think we’re the next Steinbeck, that’s a tall order for anyone to live up to.
6. You know that rule of “show don’t tell”? The same holds true for the pitch. If you’re pitching a tragic romance, don’t SAY it’s a tragic romance, engage with the story and make the agent FEEL it. If it’s a funny novel–make ’em laugh.
Thoughts? What are your best tips for pitching your novel?