- Do not give them the whole plot of your story. This is not the time for a synopsis. Remember, a pitch is like a query. You'd never give the ending away in your query, so why would you in a pitch session? You want to grab their attention, not spill the beans on everything.
- Start with your hook. This is generally one line that shows the high concept of your entire story. This gives the agent or editor a hint/introduction to what you're going to be pitching them.
- Use your query letter to form your pitch. I learned that forming the actual pitch isn't all that hard if you already have a query letter written. (If you don't have one written, get on it). Simply look at your query and cut it down. Get rid of sentences that don't need to be there for an oral reading. This is also where you can add a few explanations that you couldn't have in your query letter due to length restrictions. Make sure it's snappy and exciting. When said out loud, it should run about 2 minutes in length, but it depends on your session time limit. Mine went 2 minutes and I had 9 minutes total.
- Cue cards are your best friends. Once you've prepared your pitch, write it down (or print it out) one cue cards. This helps you from getting lost, trust me. Agents/editors don't mind you having paper with you--they prefer it. On mine, I'd broken up the paragraphs and put specific sentences into bullet points. This helped me remember to breathe (lol) and also provided me with great opportunities to pause and look up at the editor (remember, you can't just read it, you must present it!)
- Write down important information (character's names, story title, etc...) at the top of your cue card. Trust me, you may forget.
- Be prepared to answer questions-- any and all. This goes back to the number one rule: know your story!
- Practice, practice, practice! Practice your pitch, your answers to questions, your acceptance of a request and your acceptance of a rejection.
Did anything surprise you? Scare you? Help you?