Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Crafting Your 100 word pitch by Lisa Phillips

Monday, editor Emily Rodmell shared about Harlequin's Love Inspired's new opportunity to pitch your story to them.
I participated in the speed date pitch for Love Inspired Suspense last year. Not only was it fun getting to talk with everyone in the chat room and encouraging each other, congratulating those who got a great response....I was one of the ones who got a request for a full manuscript!

So today, I thought I'd share my method of crafting a 100 word pitch that reveals not only all the elements of your story, but also your voice. Let's face it, a hundred words isn't that many, especially when you're trying to look exciting and professional and make your story sound amazing.

The first thing I did, was this:



Now I'm gonna break down for you what I discovered and what that meant when crafting my pitch. Here it is:

Sabine Fraternau, CIA agent, is on the hunt for her brother’s killer. When the Delta Force soldier she loves barges in, the mission goes from bad…to busted. Doug “MacArthur” Richardson is all military, a man of faith with no room in his life for love.
When Sabine is accused of betraying her country, Doug is the only one who believes the woman he’s falling for is innocent. But after her ex-husband’s betrayal, Sabine doesn't believe in happily ever after. Together they have to find the killer and prove Sabine’s innocence, before the nightmare of her past comes back…to kill her. 

My maths teacher (they don't call it 'math' in England) from high school used to say, "break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks."


Sabine Fraternau, CIA agent, is on the hunt for her brother’s killer.
The main character, her job and her GOAL. 

When the Delta Force soldier she loves barges in, the mission goes from bad…to busted.
Conflict in the form of romantic interest, which fits the Love Inspired Suspense line (know who you're pitching to and what they want). Also, a little bit of voice in the, "bad...to busted" that says my story doesn't take itself to seriously - which is very 'me'. *chuckles*

Doug “MacArthur” Richardson is all military, a man of faith with no room in his life for love.
The other main character, the 'love interest'. His job, his GOAL (same) and his obstacle in what will become their journey to happily ever after.

When Sabine is accused of betraying her country, Doug is the only one who believes the woman he’s falling for is innocent.
Plot, the suspense and the romance all tangled up and complicated with some high stakes.

But after her ex-husband’s betrayal, Sabine doesn't believe in happily ever after.
The obstacle to their happily ever after that's specific to HER.

Together they have to find the killer and prove Sabine’s innocence, before the nightmare of her past comes back…to kill her.
More stakes. A little of how the situation is going to be resolved.

So you can see that it is possible to present a HUGE amount of information in only 100 words. And let me tell you, I re-wrote this about a million times (ask my sister!). Let it shine, but don't get obsessed with it. If you have time, walk away and then come back with fresh eyes. 

Check that it has these elements in the 5 (ish) sentences:
1. Main character #1 - who is this person in a nutshell? If their job isn't relevant don't put it in. But what do they WANT?
2. Main character #2 - do the same. What is their goal?
3. What is going to keep them from this goal? Let your editor know this book has CONFLICT that won't easily be resolved. Lines like Love Inspired Suspense need conflict in the plot and conflict in the relationship. Make sure it's there.
4 and 5: How is the situation going to be resolved? How will the characters work it out? Does faith play in? What about the Antagonist (if there is one)? What's he up to? 
And, what the hey, add in some more conflict :-)

The manuscript itself is the most important thing. But you can achieve SO MUCH with a short pitch. Give it everything you've got! 

And let me know how you get on, yeah?

Lisa Phillips pretty much lives on Twitter @lisaphillipsbks. She's the secretary and worship leader for Idahope, her local ACFW chapter. If you want to know more, check out www.lisaphillipsbks.com
Her first novel, The Ultimate Betrayal is COMING SOON.

13 comments:

Lisa Buffaloe said...

Great ideas, Lisa! Thank you for sharing. When it comes to pitching, I need all the help I can get. :)

Lisa Phillips said...

Thanks for your comment! You're welcome :-)

Ink in the Book said...

As this will be my first pitch to Love Inspired (I'm pitching to Elizabeth. I'm super excited:)
I really appreciate the break down for the 100 word pitch. Now that I know what to do, I just got to figure out how to do it!
Thank you for the tips:)
Talynn

Scott Springer said...

Thanks for this awesome break down of the pitch. Your book sounds great, too!

Annie Rains said...

I'm pitching to Shana! Thank you so much for the information. I'm going to copy this into a separate Word document and study this advice as I construct my 100 word pitch :)

Lisa Phillips said...

You guys are welcome! Best of luck to you all.

Hilarey said...

This is super helpful, Lisa!

authorlisarayne said...

Love the succinct nature of this advice! I've been reading the back covers of LI books and editing my 100 word pitch while reviewing as much as I can about pitching to an editor. This brings it all together nicely. Thanks!

@AuthorRayne

Rebecca Lynn said...

Wow, Lisa. This is so helpful! Thank you so much!!

Autumn said...

Really useful! Thanks so much for sharing this!

Melanie Pike said...

Finally had the opportunity to study "The Winning Pitch" in HQ's forum today--and copied and pasted the winning pitches from last year, along with some of the LI contemporary samples and advice from this year. Had to follow the link you provided to this post, too. :) Have copied and pasted into Word because, as of two days ago, I have a spot in next Wednesday's pitch session...and I have never written a pitch before.

Thanks for this, Lisa! And your willingness to share your expertise with everyone. :)

Blessings,
Melanie

rachel said...

Thankyou so much for this, it is so helpful!
And congratulations on the book! :)

LeTeisha Newton said...

Awesome! I'm going to use this for So You Think You Can Write 2013! Thank you so much for posting this!