As Pam mentioned we attended a two day conference this past weekend and we learned lots. So, today I'm going to share with you points from a session I attended on pitching your manuscript.
Katherine Sands, an agent at Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, led a session on how to pitch your work so that an agent will be ready and willing to read it. She started the session by pointing out the most important tip for pitching:
Pretend that you are going to tell someone about your favorite movie- you wouldn't say "Uh, well...that movie was good because...it was a movie that had cool people in it and a lot of action and...well, you know it's set in a historical time period and stuff..." (okay, this is really how I used to talk about my manuscript In Limbo- but I'm learning. I promise!) Once you are excited enough to make others excited about your work you then need to know the key points to hit when you have three to five minutes of an agents or editors time. Sands says to think of this process as a movie trailer- you usually see the setting, meet the main players, and learn the conflict.
Sands sums up this process with the three P's:
Place- where is your story set? What time period?
Person- who is your main character?
Pivot- what is the climax/turning point or problem in your manuscript?
When answering the above questions, Sands says to act as if you are blind and deaf to your story because that's how an agent/editor is going into reading your work. They do not know the story like you do, so pull yourself away from it and give as many details as you can... in the short amount of time that you have.
Finally, when putting together your pitch you want the person listening to be able to get the three P's and be able to repeat it back to you. Sands suggests practicing your pitch with a few friends in order to get it right.
Never, NEVER, say "there's nothing else out there like my book," OR "my manuscript/book is going to change the world." For some reason agents/editors really don't like it when we're narcissist.
Now that you're equipped go and practice your pitch and let us know how it goes!