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For Reviews and Reviewers > What are good ways to pitch your new book to a publishing company?

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message 1: by Carlos (new)

Carlos Jr. (carlosjr) | 19 comments On November 19, 2011 I have to convince a new publishing company on why they should publish my new book. However, Im a bit confused on how I should pitch my book to them. I don't want to sound like a robot saying, "people of all ages will enjoy my book." Everyone uses that. Do you have any ideas on how I should pitch my book to the publishing company? Your help will be appreciated. God Bless.


message 2: by Dana (new)

Dana Rongione (danarongione) | 22 comments My best advice is to follow the "show; don't tell" method that you would use in writing your book. Don't tell the publisher that people will enjoy the book; show the publisher why people will enjoy the book. What does your book have to offer? How is it different from competing titles? How is it the same? What will your readers gain by reading your book? How will it help them? These are the questions publishers want answered.


message 3: by Carlos (new)

Carlos Jr. (carlosjr) | 19 comments Ok I see. Thank you


message 4: by Dana (new)

Dana Rongione (danarongione) | 22 comments You're welcome!


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Dana wrote: "My best advice is to follow the "show; don't tell" method that you would use in writing your book. Don't tell the publisher that people will enjoy the book; show the publisher why people will enjo..."

Excellent advice, Dana.


message 6: by Dana (new)

Dana Rongione (danarongione) | 22 comments Thanks, Joanna!


message 7: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 40 comments Hi, Carlos

You need to write a query letter to pitch your book. That's the most familiar way publishers receive pitches.

A query letter needs to do three things to be successful:
1) It needs to make the editor want to read more...so you don't want to give away how it ends, but you do want to leave a sense of suspense, or a question unanswered.
2) It needs to establish who the main character is and what's at stake for him/her, very clearly and simply, without getting obscure or fancy.
3) It needs to identify your work by genre, and give an approximate word count (not page count) so the editor knows how this book would be marketed and sold.

And it needs to do all this in as little space as possible. Three or four paragraphs at the very most.

A great place to get a feel for queries (that work and don't work) is at queryshark.com Read through the archives and once you feel you've absorbed the info there, write your own query letter and ask some other writers to critique it for you.


message 8: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 40 comments For more hints on query letters...most authors adapt the query letter they used to sell their book to an editor, or used to find an agent, and use the letter as the blurb for the back of their book, because a good query is all about selling the book. It will sell it to an editor, and it will sell it to readers.

I used the query letter I wrote for my novel as my blurb. Here is the query that got me my agent (we later parted ways on good terms, and I self-published this book.) Just some idea for you of what a successful query looks like:

"Queen Ahmose knows her duty: To give the Pharaoh a son. But she is young, and has just watched her closest friend die in childbirth. If the Pharaoh plants his seed in her she will die the same way, in a pool of blood, surrounded by wailing women. She has her husband’s love, but a king must have an heir…and even the Pharaoh’s patience will run out. Meanwhile, a lesser queen – Ahmose’s own sister – has given him three sweet, bright children, all of them boys. Ahmose knows her grasp on the Pharaoh’s heart is loosening.

Desperate, she begs the gods for courage to become a mother. They give her more than courage: she is granted a vision of a shining prince, her son – a gift for Egypt who will bring glory to the land. He will be more than the son of a king. He will be the son of the god Amun.

But when the child arrives, it’s a girl.

Ahmose knows the vision was not wrong. Her daughter Hatshepsut has a male soul, and Amun intends the girl to rule. But the Pharaoh will not scandalize Egypt by proclaiming a female successor, and in punishment, the gods take one of Ahmose’s beloved nephews. Her relationship with the Pharaoh is crumbling. Her sister’s remaining children are in danger. If she cannot convince the Pharaoh to accept Hatshepsut as his heir, everything Ahmose loves will be destroyed.

THE SEKHMET BED is a historical novel, complete at 90,000 words. My short fiction has appeared in ____ Magazine and ___ Journal. Thank you for your consideration.

Lavender Ironside"

As you can see, the little "bio" bit at the end is brief, identifies my book as a historical novel (genre), and gives the word count. I also included any professional publishing credits I have. (At this time, publishers and agents aren't interested in knowing what you've self-published unless you've sold a lot of copies -- say, more than 1000 copies of each self-published title.)

Good luck to you!


message 9: by Carlos (new)

Carlos Jr. (carlosjr) | 19 comments Thank you Lavender


message 10: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 40 comments You're welcome! Let us know how it goes.


message 11: by Christopher (last edited Nov 22, 2011 04:10PM) (new)

Christopher Grey (greyauthor) | 7 comments Having worked in publishing and reviewed enough queries to make my head spin I have a few short "do's" and "don'ts"

DON'T
-Send a manuscript unless the publisher requests one
-Detail every plot point in your book
-Assume the complete query will be read
-Make ANY errors (spelling, grammar, salutations, names)
-Include a lengthy marketing plan with target demographics, strategies, tactics and distribution channels

DO
-Make the query short and sweet
-Assume the only sentence that will be read is the first
-Use the elevator pitch (why would a publisher care in less than 30 seconds)
-Catch their attention -- be different

In summary, before writing the query picture yourself as a publisher on a computer reading the fortieth email of the day that talks about how "great" a book is. If your email is like those, then you won't break through. Think through the publisher's eyes. Why is it different, interesting and engaging? What about your book makes it better than any other book the publisher saw that day. Why you?

After you've written the query, read it with this in mind and edit as necessary.

An example of an a good query lead:

"George knows New York City will be nuked tomorrow, but he doesn't have anyone to tell."

And a bad query lead:

"George McFarlin is a homeless man that learns about a terrorist plot to destroy New York City, but because he's homeless no one will listen to him."

Take Lavender's example above:
Queen Ahmose knows her duty: To give the Pharaoh a son.

That's a great lead! I totally want to read this book! Especially since I like Egyptian mythology.

What if it was written like this? -> The Queen of Egypt is afraid to give the Pharoah a son and she thinks she might end up having a girl, causing a huge scandal in Egypt.

See the difference? You need to hook them first, and then reel them in.

I hope that helps! And good luck!


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