Writing a Pitch

By Maeve Maddox

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Those of you planning to enter the Amazon/Penguin Fiction Contest have probably written your pitch by now.

Every novelist, sooner or later, must give some thought to “the pitch.”

Like a synopsis a pitch must present–in a short space if written, in a few minutes if spoken–an overall description of the novel: main character/s, main conflict, main plot twists, and resolution.

The pitch contains additional information about targeted audience and marketability.

The Amazon/Penguin contest is expected to draw as many as 10,000 submissions. The 10,000 will be cut to 2,000 on the basis of 300-word pitches.

Even if you don’t plan to enter, you may find the contest criteria useful in planning the pitch you will eventually need if you’re writing a novel.

The 300-word contest pitches are expected to give judges a clear idea of the following aspects of the submitted novel:

overall strength
plot development
character development
originality of idea
writing style
intended market
how the book fits within this market
why the reader would want to read the novel

The contents of a “pitch” are the same as what goes into a query letter.

Good luck to those of you planning to enter. Any of our readers who entered last year may want to offer last minute tips.

Guidelines for writing a fiction query letter
Breakthrough Novel Contest site

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2 Responses to “Writing a Pitch”

  • PreciseEdit

    300 words isn’t much, about 1 double-spaced page.

    This brings to mind a quote we use in our Writing Tips for a Year series.

    “When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men’s minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.” –Cicero

    Get to the point. Give the reader what he or she needs. Cut out what is unnecessary. Clarity often comes from concision.

  • Jeanette Cheezum

    I’m excited and can’t wait for this to begin.

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