I’ve had success with #PitMad and wanted to share some tips that work for me, and hopefully will work for you, too. #PitMad is like Agent Tinder, where you wait ALL day for a like instead of a right swipe. It’s offered four times a year, the next date is Sept. 6th, and you can go to http://pitchwars.org/pitmad/ for all the rules and regs. Any agent or publisher can search through the #PitMad for a possible match and may put your polished manuscript on top of the TBR or slush pile, so it’s worth it because IT’S FREE! Also, note that ANYONE can like and ask for your manuscript, research them before sending out your work, there are mean trolls everywhere.
First you have to get an agent or publisher to like your pitch, and that requires 280 characters of pure polished pitch and my five tips on how to make that happen.
- Watch movie trailers – they are pitches and they do it well. They break down to the same five points pretty much every time.
- Intro character
- State problem
- State complication
- Show crisis
- Leave with a question – Will they survive? Does the world end? Will they get justice?
My example is King Arthur Legend of the Sword. I LOVE Arthurian legends and I loved this movie. I highly recommend it because Guy Ritchie does an amazing job following the beats, and keeping the pace perfect. It’s action packed and amazing, but again, I’m a fan of Arthurian legends. I believe this movie has been unfairly criticized. It’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, and yet critics didn’t recommend the movie. Kind of like when Chariots of Fire won the Oscar for best film in 1982 beating out Raiders of the Lost Ark… Let’s face it, some critics miss that the main purpose of film is to be entertaining as well as engaging and artful, and critics love to cropdust us with their highly superior attitudes of what “good” film is. Anyway, I’m using it as my example for creating a perfect pitch. Watch the trailer and see if you agree with my five points.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword https://youtu.be/jIM4-HLtUM0
- Arthur, an orphaned boy, is unwilling to face his past or his destiny.
- Arthur is destined to destroy his Uncle Vortigern.
- Arthur pulls the sword from the stone, and now Vortigern knows Arthur has the ability to destroy him. He needs Arthur to die.
- Arthur’s family and friends are in peril and he must follow his destiny or they will die and his world will end.
- Will Arthur succeed?
Do you agree with my five? Definitely watch movie trailers in the genre that you are writing and trying to pitch! See how they introduce the character, problem, complication, and crisis and make it work for you. If you were going to make a movie trailer for your book, which four scenes would you pick? What question would you leave your audience with?
2. Use your voice and be pithy. Also, for a pitch you are allowed to TELL more than show, I promise.
On IMDB, the blurb/pitch for King Arthur Legend of the Sword is:
Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not. #A #F
3. Get critique! And maybe highlight some high concept or your audience. You have author friends, even Facebook friends, pitch to them, ask them does your pitch make them want to read the book? It’s perfectly okay if it doesn’t, because you still have time to revise!
Beta readers may be able to tell you what your work reminded them of, and you can add that into your pitch. Are you a Game of Thrones meets Godzilla? Firefly meets Jane Austen? Cinderella shatters her slippers and enjoys celibacy? Again, stay true to your voice.
4. Make three versions of your pitch, each one revealing a little bit more about the story or a secondary character.
This is a great example for Incredibles 2. This version only focuses on JackJack coming into his crazy powers, and leaves us with the question of how Bob will handle this adorably cute but dangerous baby. Really, the subplot of the movie is can Bob find satisfaction in being the caregiver instead of the “hero”. What’s your subplot? Maybe highlight your antagonist. Give a different POV for your story to capture the agents and publisher’s interest.
Incredibles 2 : https://youtu.be/ZJDMWVZta3M
5. Don’t forget to use the correct hashtags – which can be found at the bottom of the page of the pitchwars.org/pitmad page or below.
Good luck on Sept. 6th!
You can use the following sub-hashtags to categorize your book, making it easier for agents and editors to find your pitch. We only require the #pitmad hashtag and one age category hashtag. The additional hashtags are suggested as a courtesy and listed here in order to reduce confusion.
Age Categories (one is required):
#PB = Picture Book
#C = Children’s
#CB = Chapter Book
#MG = Middle Grade
#YA = Young Adult
#NA = New Adult
#A = Adult
#AC = Action
#AD = Adventure
#BIZ = Bizarro Fiction
#CF = Christian Fiction
#CON = Contemporary
#CR = Contemporary Romance
#E = Erotica
#ER = Erotic Romance
#ES = Erotica Suspense
#F = Fantasy
#FTA = Fairy Tale Retelling
#GN = Graphic Novel
#H = Horror
#HA = Humor
#HF = Historical Fiction
#HR = Historical Romance
#INSP = Inspirational
#MR = Magical Realism
#M = Mystery
#Mem = Memoir
#MA = Mainstream
#LF = Literary Fiction
#NF = Non-fiction
#P = Paranormal
#PR = Paranormal Romance
#R = Romance
#RS = Romantic Suspense
#STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
#SF = SciFi
#SPF = Speculative Fiction
#SH = Superhero
#S = Suspense
#T = Thriller
#TT = Time Travel
#UF = Urban Fantasy
#VF = Visionary Fiction
#W = Westerns
#WF = Woman’s Fiction
Additional hashtags (optional):
#POC = Author is a Person of Color
#OWN = Own Voices
#IMM = Immigrant
#LGBT = LGBTQIA+ subject matter
#IRMC = Interracial/Multicultural subject matter
#MH = Mental Health subject matter
#DIS = Disability subject matter
#ND = Neurodiverse subject matter