A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was an actor. Unlike many actors, I loved to audition. Oh, sure, I blew my fair share due to nerves and under-preparedness, but I kicked plenty of audition ass too.
Querying a book reminds me of auditioning. You have to figure out what sets you apart from all the others and you have to showcase it. There’s a lot of finger-crossing and hope involved too.
Perfecting the Art of the Pitch is a long journey. It’s also a pretty fun one. Finding comparables, finding a hook, those are the elements of the journey that I’m keenest on.
As an example, here’s one of the ways I’ve been pitching my last manuscript:
Heathers meets the Stanford Prison Experiment.
You get an idea of the tone just from those six words, right?
I’ll give you another example. I’m currently working the second draft of a new manuscript and so far I’m going for:
If Douglas Coupland and Rainbow Rowell co-wrote a YA version of Up in the Air, it would look like this.
I haven’t told you the plot, but you still get a taste of the book’s flavour.
Wouldn’t it be great if we pitched people the same way we pitch books? My daughter is starting kindergarten in the fall and I can see myself sitting down with her teacher, briefing her on what to expect. Here’s what I’d like to say:
She’s Babs Bunny + Molly (the “oh my goodness” orphan) from Annie.
(SIDE NOTE: I played Molly in grade seven. I got the role by crying on cue during the audition.)
My son will be in grade two this fall. If I were meeting with his teacher, I’d say:
He’s Hiro from Big Hero 6 + Alex P. Keaton.
What about those instances where you’re reconnecting with a long-time friend and you’ve never met their significant other? It’s one thing for me to list of a bunch of attributes in an attempt to try and describe my husband, it’s another to say:
(insert picture of MLC here…you’ll have to use your imagination, which you can now that I’ve pitched him to you!)
There you have it. You now know my family.
I’d wager most of you gorgeous readers out there already feel like you know me pretty well. Just in case there are some of you who don’t, I’ll fill you in. Here’s the equation that equals a close proximity of Annette Christie:
Go ahead, gang. Pitch yourselves. Show me your equations.