Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pitching Report

{Note to followers: if you want an email when a new post goes up, go the left column and subscribe for emails. Thanks.}

 I know you've wondered how it went, so I'll answer all your questions. If I can. ;-) Remember, I've only pitched two agents. Since both of them asked for submissions, I thought I'd share what I did.

My Pitch:
When Laura Grace Bradshaw meets abused twelve-year-old Samantha Smith, her unfulfilled mothering instincts spring into action. Recently widowed, LG's own grief and her complicated ties to her small Georgia town's founding family limit how much she can help. But compelled to heal Samantha's wounds, she must find the strength to throw off the restraints of her MIL and her own griefs and move toward adopting Samantha, a child who unwittingly holds the keys to long-buried family secrets.  

I recommend that you practice this out loud a ton of times. Find someone to practice with. After John, my writing buddies, Monica J. (via Skype), Tara W. and Jane D., were my ready ears. Tara, Jane, and I shared this journey on February 20 and listened to each other over and over...and over. That's what it takes. Both agents mentioned that my pitch was polished and great. 

Next, be ready to explain your genre and any niches that you include.
My Genre
Mother's Day is upmarket, contemporary WF with a Christian MC, but the story doesn't focus on Christianity.  
Because I could clearly explain my story's connection with Christianity, both agents mentioned that it had potential to fit the crossover market. That took a huge worry off my back.

Next, be ready to talk "off the cuff" about your plot. Because I could mention a few of my plot twists, I was able to interest them in the story beyond the pitch. 

Then, be ready to explain where you are in the completion process. I was thrilled to be able to share that my MS was complete and that I was doing a polishing edit. Also, I'd used the MS for a Barbara Rogan Next Level Revision Fiction Workshop. (I can't thank Barbara enough for help with increasing the conflict in my story.) This was important to  show that I take critique well.

After that, you need to be able to answer if there is series potential. If it's a standalone story, that's fine. Just be ready for the question. I could tell them that there were two follow up stories--a 60% complete part 2 and a part 3 story that was 30% complete. After that, I mentioned that I had two standalone stories set in the same town. 

Also, you should be ready to answer the dreaded "comparables" question. I did have two titles to use. One well known, the other very new. Seemed to work. ;-)

The Results
 The first agent loved my whole Cherry Hill package. She stressed that I take my time preparing the submission she requested. She wants my first 3 chapters, an extensive outline of all three in the trilogy, and a summary paragraph of the 2 standalone stories. 

The second one wanted the first 50 pages of the first story and an extensive synopsis. 

So, all in all, I'm pumped by my first foray into pitching and querying. And I have a huge to-do list. But that's okay. I would hate to have nothing to show for all that hard work! ;-) 

Next Week: Women's Fiction...Again ;-)