Pitch Prep!


Just when I thought pitching season was over for the year, I am attending the Rockingham Writer’s Festival to pitch not one, but two new manuscripts.

Self doubt, the curse that creeps up and takes grip, unfortunately I’m not immune. No matter how many times I put myself through this process it will never be easy.

For me, writing the pitch isn’t the struggle. I know my story and the key elements I want to talk about. Especially with the young adult series I’ve been working on. (Did you see that one coming? Adding young adult to the mix?)

My pitch includes a working title, genre, word count, whether it is a series or single title, and then I extract the highlights…the elements that make my story different to the rest. This is the hardest part, as sometimes I’m clouded by subplots I love and want to share. It takes discipline to leave those alone…saving some surprises for when the agent or publisher requests the full manuscript.

It helps to remain positive throughout the whole process. Trust me, save the big ugly crying for if the rejection letter follows. At this stage the possibility is still shining too bright for a negative attitude.

After pinpointing the highlights I craft them into a few paragraphs not unlike a blurb. There will be time to chat after I deliver my hook and I want to leave the agent or publisher intrigued and wanting to know more. However, I want to give them enough information so that every word out of my mouth triggers an image or an idea of how my novel could fit their line, or when pitching to an agent, which publisher they think might be interested in acquiring my manuscript.

Should my pitch fail to elicit enough interest, there’s a good chance I’d fail to grab the attention of my readers too. That’s not to say if one agent or one publisher declines they all will. But, if the one seated before me isn’t moved to ask questions after my delivery, I’d be the one left to question what it was about my story that failed to spark a reaction.

In regard to this weekend, I’m not sure which pitch I’m more petrified about. The one to a respected interstate agent whom I would love to have represent me. A cold pitch as I’ve done many times before. Or, the publisher I’d love to work with, who has read the synopsis and a sample of my manuscript.

I’m thinking the latter.

It’s one thing for an agent or publisher to reject an idea, but to reject my work and tell me so to my face would be extremely confronting. In the arts, the need for a thick skin isn’t exaggerated. As much as we put on a show and make out like we don’t care…every time no is dished up, it sucks away a piece of our soul we’ll never get back.

Fingers crossed I return from Rockingham with my soul intact, goodness knows it’s had a beating this year! 😉

To those of you intending to pitch your masterpiece, I wish you the very best of luck! Don’t worry and be your awesome self.

Renee x


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