Wednesday, August 28, 2013

THE TROUBLE WITH PITCHES...


My scheduled guest, Lindsay Ashford, was unable to visit today. My apologies. We'll catch up with her later.  


I've only gotten serious about my writing the last few of years.  Don’t get me wrong, I've been a writer most of my business life and have written numerous articles for  newspapers, industry styled periodicals, radio copy, and developed seminars. And while I've told stories all my life, written down many of them, it’s only been a recent thing for me to consider fulfilling a dream of writing novels and having them published. 

I have several friends who are authors and who have been a big encouragement to me. They've taken an interest in my writing and try to help me improve. One asked me to give a brief blurb about one of my stories. I’m thinking, brief? You see, me and briefespecially in fiction, we have problems and we’re not exactly close friends. I thought, hey, I could do this. After all, I wrote several 90,000-word books so how hard can it be? I hunkered down and got to it.

Three days and seven drafts later I gave her what I thought was brief. 

Ahem, need I say it was in need of a major blood transfusion when I got it back? Then she added the word “concise”, sigh…I thought two pages was concise. She then gave me a helpful clue; think of the back cover of a book. 

Two days and twelve drafts later I hand her the blurb. 

Her response? Sia, just how big do you think a book cover is? 

Oh-oh. 

The next day and we won’t mention the draft count, I handed it back to her. Good word count, however…then came all this stuff about character goal, motivation, conflict, word choices, and yeah, it was still bleeding to death.

My friend is tough and has pushed me to be the best I can be and not to give up. She also thinks one should always practice pitches—who knows when you might meet an acquiring editor? I have a lot of respect for her. So, you know whom I went to when I was preparing a 50-word pitch for an editor. This time it only took me one day and four drafts—I had been practicing. I got it back, “close but not quite.” 

I growled—hey it impressed my dog.  I went for a walk, did the dishes, polished my nails and sat down, determined to get this thing right.

My final draft? 

“Wow, you got it!” Shock, followed by the wet noodle thing, and then elation.


Now, if an editor does more then just read the manuscript and says thanks but no thanks? 

I’ll tell you what it feels like to win a lottery. 

12 comments:

Melissa said...

"Sia, just how big do you think a book cover is?

Oh-oh."

LOL - too funny.
Great post. And good luck!

Karen Walker said...

Can I borrow your friend? Congrats, Sia

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That made me chuckle! Yeah, not a lot of word space on the back of a book. Trust me.
Did your dog growl back?

Johanna Garth said...

Every writer needs a friend like that!

Kat Sheridan said...

I"m betting I know which friend you're talking about! And yes, writing a pitch/back cover copy is SO hard for folks. That's why I started my own business writing them for people. It's really good practice to know how to do them yourself, but some folks aen't as lucky as you to have such a supportive friend, and that's when they turn to somebody like me. Saves a lot of gray hair! LOL!

Melanie Schulz said...

Sounds like you have a great friend there.

Jo said...

Didn't you write précis in school, we had to do them a lot. Anyway, good luck.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

LOL. Thanks for the laughter.

"I’m thinking, brief? You see, me and brief—especially in fiction, we have problems and we’re not exactly close friends." You were certainly correct.

As writers we know that first drafts are never final drafts.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

A pitch can be tough. When I imagine it as a "30 second elevator pitch" it's easier to create.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia .. that made me laugh - and especially when your dog agreed with you!

Gosh those succinct concepts are very difficult to put together ...

Fun to think about .. well no - it's hard work!! happy weekend .. Hilary

Yolanda Renee said...

I remember this, and no matter how many times I tackle it, it only gets harder with each book - why is that. Shouldn't it be a breeze by now? Honestly, the best creator of the pitch, or tagline, or blurb would be Michael Di Gesu, he has a knack for it that is unsurpassed!

Arlee Bird said...

Brief? Me? Don't get me started or I'll go on and on.

Practice makes perfect so they say.

Lee
Wrote By Rote