My third novel rests again in the able hands of my talented editor (Jane MacKay), and all I can do is twiddle my thumbs.
Or so I thought.
What I need to do is work on my query, pitch and synopsis. I've done this before, but I've never felt totally satisfied; so this time, I did some more research.
Here's what I know so far.
What is a PITCH?
Sample from "Birds on a Wire":
True companionship means defying obstacles that may threaten to destroy it. For three best friends, the final days before summer break put their allegiances to the ultimate test.
Three boyhood friends find themselves in the last week of junior year and in the midst of too many secrets. Miguel can’t keep his feet off the soccer ball; he also can’t keep his pants on and mind in his books. Jesse has a girl, for the moment, but her eyes are wandering, and after she spills a secret about his best friend, Jesse isn’t sure she’s the girl for him. Then Jesse’s dad tells him what really happened the night his uncle died in a car accident 17 years ago. Finally, there’s Matt, the brains of the trio; Matt is also in need of a major dose of confidence. He's never met the right girl for him, and as junior year comes to a close, he begins to understand why. His attention turns to the kind smile of the basketball team's star player. His secret seeps out in the library, and this small town has ears.
As the story unfold, the boys must come to grips with the true meaning of friendship. More importantly, they must understand what it means to be a man. Courage comes in many forms, but can a 17-year-old boy actually find enough of it to stand behind his beliefs?
The fictional Southern California desert valley town of Santa Niña serves as the backdrop for the intense battles that ensue between the boys, their families and their friends. The town’s pride and joy, it’s Orange Grove, sets the stage for a heated confrontation that ends with some deadly results. Can the boys find the wings to fly; can they muster the faith and courage necessary to save their friendship?
A pitch must sell your book without giving away the end. It must intrigue the reader (agent, publisher...). The pitch can ask questions, planting them in the reader's mind. Don't answer them. They'll need to read the book if they want answers.
If you need a verbal pitch (one you need to use at a meeting with an agent), try this.
Next week: How to write a good synopsis. (Hint: if you write a good pitch, you're halfway there!)