Writer Matthew Harffy is ahead of me. On his blog, Bernicia Chronicles, he writes that he’s completed revisions on his Dark Ages novel and has sent it out out for another round of beta readers. His decision to do a ‘pitch’ at a conference inspired me to start thinking about how I might pitch Battle Scars.
What’s a pitch?
There are different types. Five minutes face-to-face with an agent, editor or publisher. Or thirty to forty seconds, hence the name ‘elevator pitch’. The door closes as you step in and the question follows:
“What’s your book about?”
As the elevator travels up (or down), there is no time to delve into all the plots, sub-plots and characters. Little time to convince someone they should buy your book.
Writing a book is hard. Distilling 100,000 words down to a 10 page synopsis is hard. Writing the back cover blurb/Amazon description – 2-4 paragraphs – is harder. But the 2-3 sentence pitch – whoa!
So here’s my stab at a pitch for the first book of my 12th century trilogy, which I will begin revising in about 2 weeks.
In my historical novel Battle Scars: Men of the Cross, faith in God, skill with the sword, and courage may save a naive young knight in Richard the Lionheart’s army from Salah al-Din’s warriors. Henry de Grey realizes that those virtues aren’t enough when doubts about the war and about love torment him. His worst enemies are in his own mind and he must conquer them to save himself.
Image credit: Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash
Thank you so much, Charlene, for the mention. It is lovely to think I have been inspirational to you with my recent blog post.
OK, now for comments on your pitch (I apologise if I come across as harsh – I’ve been reading http://queryshark.blogspot.co.uk/ all week!):
“faith in God, skill with the sword, and courage may save a naive young knight in Richard the Lionheart’s army from Salah al-Din’s warriors.”
This sentence doesn’t ring true to me. Perhaps the naive young knight believes “faith in God” may save him from a hoard of Saracens, I’d beg to differ.
“Richard the Lionheart told Henry de Grey that all he needed was faith in God, skill with the sword, and courage to stand against Salah al-Din’s warriors.”
“Henry de Grey realizes that those virtues aren’t enough when doubts about the war and about love torment him.”
Surely everybody would have doubts about war. And what torments him about love? Is he in love with a man? A married woman? An infidel?
“His worst enemies are in his own mind and he must conquer them to save himself.”
His mental demons are worse than scimitar-wielding dervishes? Really? “to save himself” from what?
I think you need to tighten it up and make the stakes clear and real to the listener/reader.
Having said all that (and now feeling nasty for criticising your pitch) it does sound interesting!
Thanks for dropping by, Matthew! You’ve posed some really good questions to get me thinking! Fortunately, I have a few months to work through this. Good luck with your pitch at the conference. I hope you’ll blog about the experience and the feedback you get to share what you learn.