Posts Tagged ‘agent’

Rehearse your BOOK PITCH until it rolls off your tongue fluidly.

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“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” That’s the tagline used by one of my friends who is a very talented résumé writer. As true as that is for any job seeker, it also is true for an author making a pitch to a publishing VIP.

Which author doesn’t dream of having the opportunity for some one-on-one time with an acquisitions editor or prestigious literary agent?

QUESTION: Are you really ready for that opportunity when it comes your way?

The thing is, you can’t manufacture these opportunities. You can put yourself in places/positions where they are more likely to happen (book fairs, writers’ workshops, publishing conferences) so that you can increase your odds, but such a meeting is more likely to be a case of serendipity or happenstance. So … in that instant when you realize you’ve got this person’s undivided attention, how will you use your time?

Laura wrote recently about being able to refer to yourself as an author. This is taking things a bit further, now isn’t it? This is not only saying you’re an author, but offering an interesting description about the book you’ve written. “I’m the author of a book about whale watching for disabled people” or “I wrote a book about my experience caregiving for my mother who was misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”

Are you practiced at this?

  • Can you, in just one or two sentences, explain your book’s hook and how it is both similar to and different from every other book on that subject?
  • Can you do it coherently?
  • Can you do it while clearly enunciating and remembering to breathe?
  • Can you do it without rushing through your pitch like an auctioneer?

If you answered no to any or all of these questions, it’s time start rehearsing!

First, write out your pitch. Secondly, memorize it. Next, practice repeating the memorized lines. Then, add flavor and personality to it so that it doesn’t sound exactly like a canned speech you’ve been rehearsing a thousand times.

It might be easier to practice by yourself until you’ve got the main gist down – and then enlist the help of a friend or friends to do some role-playing. They’ll be the agent or publisher – you’ll be the excited author who wants to share a word or two about your book. As silly as this may sound, it works. Think about all those attorneys who cut their teeth in moot court. Law schools wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work. There’s even a Moot Court Association that holds contests in this rehearsal mode!

Don’t shortchange yourself on this important step in your book marketing process. Even if you never get to pitch your book to the professional of your dreams, you’ll still be able to speak intelligently about it to the man in line at the Post Office or the clerk at the drug store. And you never know who people know…

Happy rehearsing!



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