Pitchapalooza with Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry — authors of the terrific newly updated handbook, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published — what an enriching, entertaining event! Arielle and David were joined by seasoned agent Joelle Delbourgo and Ylonda Gault Caviness, author of Child, Please.
What’s a Pitchapalooza? It’s an opportunity for aspiring writers to present a one-minute “pitch” about their book projects and get constructive feedback from Arielle, David, and friends. In all, 20 people had the chance to “sell” their story ideas. Among them:
A thriller based around the Cuban Missile crisis;
An irreverent guide to generating media coverage;
A cookbook framed around people’s cooking “personalities;
A policeman’s perspective on improving race relations;
A book about overcoming the effects of bullying as an adult;
A guide to the freelance economy by a 6-figure freelancer;
A story about a biracial young woman’s coming of age;
A thriller about a creepy, not-what-it-seems summer camp.
A thriller about an amateur boat builder on the Jersey shore.
What an amazing array of books-to-be sizzled on stage — it was so exciting! A few tips on pitching from the panel:
Keep it short: Find a way to hook your listeners in 60 seconds.
Keep it simple: Don’t let your plot run away with your pitch.
Keep it hopeful: Good nonfiction titles are uplifting, not downbeat.
Keep it tense: Convey conflict, both external and internal.
Keep it visual: Use provocative scenes and images to grab attention.
Keep it human: Give listeners a hero/heroine they can root for.
And finally, the two main reasons agents reject fiction: 1) they didn’t connect with the character, and 2) they’re looking for a fresh voice.
For more valuable advice on crafting, selling, and marketing books, check out thebookdoctors.com — and write on!