What I Learned at the Retreat about Pitching My Work

In addition to the sessions with Randi Rivers, author Kristin Nitz led us through several exercises designed to help us pitch our work including both an elevator pitch and a three sentence pitch.

An elevator pitch is the single sentence pitch that you have  ready for when you meet an editor or agent in the elevator at a conference.  For examples, look at the short summaries in the PW children’s book issues.

When we tried to write these in five or so minutes, we discovered that most of us had written excellent, though somewhat short, three sentence pitches.  Just a few more specific details and they’d be perfect.  That said, our elevator pitches were in their somewhere.  Usually it was fairly easy for someone else to look at what we’d done and reach in to pull it out.  What they pulled out for us was often the internal story arc.

We then tried to expand on these elevator pitches (or at least our too long versions) to create three sentence pitches.  I couldn’t really expand on mine simply because I have to rewrite the manuscript which makes pulling details from the present manuscript somewhat useless.  So I worked on the pitch for a different manuscript.

Not ready to pitch your work to an editor or an agent?  Write your elevator pitch and three sentence pitch anyway.  Come up with your pitches before you rewrite.  It will help you keep your story arcs in sight as you shape your work into its final form.


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