First Pitch Retrospective

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First Pitch Retrospective

So having survived my first book pitch, I wanted to share some of what I learned. I pitched to Laura Zats, who was brilliantly brutal, amazing, and I learned so much. Mostly about setting up the pitch, so an agent would have the right mental image when I start talking about the book itself.

Nail the genre and pitch tone

I thought I had it easy with science fiction. But…she wasn’t sure whether my book was hard science fiction, or more of a techno-thriller. And those are pitched in different ways, so the tone of the pitch has to match the genre. Getting genre and pitch tone correct and matching is absolutely critical.

This came up again (and again, and again) later, during a panel, reading first pages to agents. The genres given were vague, or contradictory, or didn’t match how the first page read.

Find better comps

I needed better comparable books. She instantly pulled out a better something to compare to, of a “why didn’t I think of that?” variety. I still want to see if I can tweak that slightly better for next time. More research!

Be receptive

The best thing I did was go to learn how to pitch, more than trying to get the book sold on the the first try. So while the nervousness was there, it helped me be open to what she was saying, and talk about what might make it better.

Take a written copy

I had a copy of my pitch written, and took it with me. I’d practiced from it. Then, at the last minute, I went through and highlighted a few words from each paragraph. That helped SO MUCH. Just enough to keep my mind on track, and make sure I didn’t miss key points. But it also let me adapt on the fly.

It’s all about marketing

I’d heard, but it really hit home how pitching is all about marketing. That’s a hard thing for an introvert, but hopefully something that can be learned and practiced. (And I’m just assuming there’s no introverted marketing people.)

Go try it again

On this side of it, I’m looking forward to taking everything I learned and applying it to my pitch. Then I know at some point, I’ll go try it all again.