Shannon Messenger is the author of Keeper of the Lost Cities, an artist, a Bookanista, and a founding member of WriteOnCon. All of that in just one person – amazing. Most importantly, for the purpose of this blog that is, she was willing to share her experience in the industry to help the unpublished authors with pitch sessions.
She has a great blog as well, that you can see for yourself.
Without further ado – heeeeeerrrreeeeessss
Randy: Do published authors still have to pitch their stories?
Randy: How do these pitches differ from those of unpublished authors?
Shannon: Honestly, I don’t think there should be a difference. The point of ANY pitch is to make the book sound interesting, and to make the person you’re pitching it to care enough to want to read it. Whether the book is published or not shouldn’t matter. The end goal is the same.
Randy: How long do you spend on writing, perfecting, and practicing a pitch?
Randy: As a published author, are you nervous during a pitch?
Shannon: I’m fairly comfortable with things like public speaking and talking to strangers, but of course there’s always that tiny bit of anxiety that comes with worrying:
OMG WHAT IF THEY THINK MY BOOK SOUNDS STUPID??? But I’ve learned to shove that little voice to the back of my mind when I’m pitching, because it’s SO important to BELIEVE your pitch. You have to be convinced that your project is as awesome as you’re saying it is, otherwise the person listening won’t be convinced either.
Randy: What’s the most important thing for an unpublished author to keep in mind when they pitch a story?
Randy: Should an author attempt to customize a pitch to the specific agent or editor?
Randy: Do you have any interesting pitch stories that you can share with us?
Randy: What is the biggest “must do” for pitching a story?
1) You know your book well enough to talk about it. Sure, you want to practice and really prepare what to say. But don’t stress too much about: what if they ask me something I don’t know. Uh… it’s YOUR book. You know this stuff! (and if you don’t …um … you might have bigger things to worry about than pitching)
2) The agent/editor knows you’re nervous. That’s not a secret. Even better? They don’t hold it against you. So it’s okay if your hands shake or you mess up a word here or there. They know you’re human. In fact, they’re rooting for you to recover.
Randy: What is the biggest “don’t do” for pitching a story?
Randy: Do you have any handy tricks that make pitch writing easier? Or that will greatly improve the quality of the pitch?