Having a solid, concise pitch of your book is so important. And I have to say it is something that I always fret over. I never feel like I sound very confident when sharing what any of my stories are about.
According to Cynthia Liu at Writing for Children & Teens,
- The pitch is the most important part of your letter. If you haven't messed up the intro, this is where the editor or agent will really tune in. You'll want to write something that...
- Entices (leaves the reader wanting more)
- Encapsulates the book
- Matches the tone of your book if possible
- The pitch is usually written in third person, present tense, no matter what person or tense the book is written in.
- When X-year-old MAIN CHARACTER does X, she had no idea Y WOULD HAPPEN. Now ANOTHER CHARACTER is out to Z. MAIN CHARACTER must find a way to thwart Z but her ADJECTIVE ANOTHER CHARACTER and ADJECTIVE ANOTHER CHARACTER aren't going to make it easy for her. MAIN CHARACTER will have to learn X to find a way to Y and that might take some real Z.
- Hahaha! Easy to understand, right? The best way to define a pitch is to study them and draw your own conclusions. Where can you find pitches? Your bookstore and library. Every book jacket is a pitch. Jackets have the same function as query letters-to sell the work, to entice...etc., If you read a lot of jackets, you can begin to boil it all down to a certain structure. A certain rhythm. Look at published books out there now. Find a jacket you think reads well and see if you can use it as a guide for creating your own pitch.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING ZOM-PEAS
Edgar LOVES vegetables. He can't get enough of them. But when everyone, including the President of the United States, starts sending their unwanted veggies to Edgar, he realizes that too much of a good thing can be, well, too much. Edgar tries to put an end to the vegetable deliveries, finally burying them deep in some very fertile soil. Add some moonlight, a little dew and the creepiest of gardens grows. NIGHT OF THE LIVING ZOM-PEAS is The Twilight Zone meets your dinner plate! Don't be surprised, parents, if your kids want to eat more vegetables by the last page.
First 150 Words:
Edgar loved vegetables. He couldn’t get enough of them.
He was crazy about the crunch, frantic for the freshness, and swooned over the snap!
Whenever someone did not want to eat their vegetables,
peas snuck,broccoli crept and lima beans wandered onto Edgar’s plate.
It started with his sister. Then his parents.
But soon veggies came from everywhere. Teachers, neighbors,
school crossing guards, the mailman
Even the President of the United States!
One day,upon delivery of some string beans from the Queen of England, Edgar had more vegetables than he could eat!
He tried to send the vegetables back.
He hid under his bed,
He wore a disguise.
He went on vacation.
But the vegetables always found him.
He asked his pets for help, but rabbits can only eat so many veggies.
The goldfish only stared at them
and the dog quit after an unsavory batch of Brussels sprouts gave him the burps.