Monday, March 12, 2007

The Pitch

I’ve never pitched any of my books. I merely submit a proposal and it either sells or it doesn’t. But I keep reading about books that are pitched as a combo of sorts--you know, Such-and-Such meets Such-and-Such--and that editors like stories that push the envelope. So, that got me to thinking…

The Silence of the Lambs meets The Sound of Music

The hero, a wildly handsome but misunderstood loner harboring a secret compulsion to chow down on humans, falls for the heroine, a sheltered, understated beauty who dresses in dull shades of gray and gets off on belting out tunes atop mountains.

When a serial killer kidnaps our beauty and tosses her down a well for safe keeping while he cuts a pattern for the spiffy frock she’s destined to become, our hero is forced to curb his hearty appetite and race against time and battle militant Nazis to rescue her.

Can their love survive a mad killer with a talent for sewing and a penchant for pretty dresses, an army of crazed Arians, our heroine’s charming but tacky habit of turning drapery into sports outfits, and our hero’s ever-increasing impulse to snack on the woman he loves?

They tried to deny the fierce attraction that drew them to each other, but her stirring rendition of Do-Re-Me and his delicious home-cooked meals prepared from secret recipes and served with a delightful Chianti lead them across the Alps and back into each other’s arms. In the end, love gives her the courage to go from frumpy to fabulous and he learns the true meaning of vegetariamism.

No? Then how about Gone With the Wind meets Jaws? Spoiled antebellum beauty encounters toothy alpha type while skinny dipping at midnight. And she thought Rhett Butler was a shark. (Oh, the possibilities.)

What examples have you used to pitch your books?


Christie Craig said...


You gave me a laugh.

I've never sold a book on a pitch, but I've gotten several request via a pitch. Once, several years ago, I had an editor tell me I did it very well. I just wished I knew what I said.


Shanna Swendson said...

I used "Bridget Jones meets Harry Potter" when pitching the series I'm writing now. And it worked.

First, I mentioned it to an editor at a party, and she immediately handed me her card. That was when I decided there might be a market for this wacky idea, after all, and I went about writing it. Then I used it in the cover letter to the agent who then asked to see it. It's also the best way I've found of describing what I write when people ask me.

JoAnn said...

LOL about the examples.

I probably shouldn't answer while still on oral surgery twilight sleep drugs -- JoAnn! Back Away From the Computer Now!! -- but I pitched No Safe Place as The Big Easy meets L.A. Confidential.

Nancy Morse said...

Oooo, JoAnn, two of my favorite movies. But then, I love Russel Crowe in anything.

As for the oral surgery, I have one word for that...Vicadin!

Colleen Thompson said...

LOL, Nancy!

I pitched movie-style for the first time for HEAD ON, my July release, which I think of as PEYTON PLACE meets THE LAST PICTURE SHOW.

Sierra Donovan said...

Nancy, I used this tactic only once, for an online class exercise, but I don't like it -- at least not for my own writing. I felt awfully hifalutin comparing myself to Dickens and a classic movie. Plus, I kinda felt like I was holding up a sign that said: "Hey! I'm derivative!"

However, JoAnn's example doubles my desire to pick up NO SAFE PLACE. Not bad for a woman on drugs!