Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pitch or Proposal?

When you go to a writing conference hoping to sell an editor on your book idea, do you use a book proposal or a pitch sheet?

Have you even heard of a pitch sheet?

I'm teaching a workshop next month on pitch sheets, and I'm always surprised at how many writers have never, ever heard of them. I'm on a personal mission to change that!

For some of my thoughts on pitch sheets, check my Writer's Perspective column here.
For the sake of blog-brevity, I'll tell you what a pitch sheet is and why I think it's better than a book proposal for editor appointments.

What it is: A pitch sheet is a one-page condensation of your book proposal. It's taking the important parts of a proposal--your synopsis, your author information, the need for your book--and distilling it down to one page.

Why it is better than a book proposal: Most editor appointments are 15 minutes long. You tell me: Can an editor really take a good look at your book proposal in 15 minutes and listen to you sell your book idea? I don't think so. Why not hand an editor a concise, compelling pitch sheet that says, "Ask for my book proposal!" While you're verbally pitching your book, the editor can take notes, ask questions--engage you in conversation. Isn't that better than sitting there while an editor pages through your book proposal?

Yes, all books require book proposals. But I think too many writers are skipping over an important step by not crafting pitch sheets for their books. Leave those proposals at home when you go to a conference. Most editors won't ask for a copy of it anyways because they don't want to load their suitcases down with all that paper. If they want to see a proposal, they'll ask you to mail it to them.

Take that oh-so-precious proposal and distill it down to a one page pitch sheet. It's really all you need to sell your book idea.

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Tiffany Stuart said...

I'm going to try your route for the conference in a couple weeks and "pitch it."

Thanks for sharing your mission. It makes perfect sense.

jen said...

Wow, catching up on this blog after the holidays and it FULL of great tips and advice.