Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Monthly Meeting – April 2021: Authors Samantha M. Clark and Lindsay Leslie

At the April meeting, authors Samantha M. Clark and Lindsay Leslie presented a guide for pitching your story. Your pitch is like a honed tool to keep in your back pocket, ready as needed. Here are some highlights:

Reasons to Have a Good Pitch Prepared:

– For when agents and editors at conferences or events ask, “What do you write?”

– For when you meet other writers who could become connections for critique groups and/or support

– For after publication: when talking to readers and introducing your book on panels

Pitch Basics:

– Introduce yourself first

– Tell the basics of your story: title, genre, length

– Get right to your pitch: one or two dynamic sentences to really HOOK the reader

– Leave room for questions and/or have another pitch ready (agents might say, “Tell me more!” or “What else do you have?)

Pitch Formulas: 

– Protagonist wants (story goal) and (does something to achieve it) against (antagonist and conflict) Ex: A teenage girl wants to save her sister, so she volunteers for a reality game show where the winner is the only one left alive.

– Make it clear, concise, and give sense of story. If story is funny, pitch should be funny.

– Hook with a stellar comparable: use well-researched and relatively current (usually within five years) comps. (You can reference books, movies, TV shows, podcasts…)

Pitch Tips:

– Check out Twitter pitch events such as: #PitMad (watch for pitches that received hearts from agents and ask yourself what made those successful?)

– Look at deal announcements in PW’s Children’s Bookshelf for one-liner examples.

Calming the Nerves:

– Practice, practice, practice!

– Take a power pose before you pitch … studies say this really works!

– Call out your feelings by just admitting you are nervous, which can be a powerful neutralizer. Agents and editors will understand and may even help.

Each time you pitch, you will get better and better. Remember your goals and good luck sharing your ideas with industry professionals.