Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting a Little Pitchy

Has anyone else been obsessing over pitching lately? Pitch contests, twitter pitch contests, and their ilk have been almost omnipresent for the last few months. I've been entering these various contests like a woman obsessed and have discovered a sad truth: I'm not at all good at this.

My main problem? My book has pixies in it.

Wait! Before you run away to find something interesting to read, let me assure you that my pixies are, like, cool and stuff. They go to high school with regular modern humans, their dust has medicinal and (depending on the color) hallucinogenic properties, and they have their very own subculture.

I know, I know. You're still not impressed. See? I can't express quickly how utterly awesome my book is. Really. It is. *sigh*

So this is why I keep entering contests. I figure if I enter about a hundred pitch contests, I'll eventually figure out a way to pack everything I need into 140 characters. And, if I can do that, I can pack it all into two paragraphs of my query letter, easy. (Though, really, I'm counting on my so-awesome writing groupie Jenn Johansson to help me with that part, whether I figure this out or not.)

Anyone want to help? Following is my most recent pitch contest entry. (Coincidentally this contest is going on today and tomorrow over at Market My Words--go join in the fun!) This is a Twitter-pitch contest... but not on Twitter. 140 characters max, which explains the abbreviations:

Teen half-human pixie returns from kidnap… stranger than b4--must learn new powers, dodge HS dust addicts, & expose ancient pixie secrets.

I'd love to know what you think when you read it. Does it make you think of flitting through flowers, full of sweetness and light (#pitchfail); or are you suddenly excited to see what a high school pixie party might look like (#pitchwin)? Any tips to fix this mess?

Oh, and Market My Words also has great links to people smarter than me, who have written about pitching. That's what today's blog was going to be: I was going to research and write about how to write one of these suckers. No need: it's already been done. :)


  1. Your book is SO cool. So cool I had to wear sunglasses to read it!

    Good luck with the pitch. I'm not even looking forward to that part of the process.

  2. Aww, thanks for the love, Donna! I don't think anyone actually looks forward to the pitch/query process. This is why I'm starting early--so by the time my book is ready, I'll be ready, too.

  3. I'm no good at it either. I don't even know if my cover blurb is any good. And I worked on it for MONTHS.

  4. Well, it made ME want to read it, so.... :)

  5. Your book sounds REALLY interesting!! I want to read it! Seriously!

    Pitching is soooo hard. I am right in the middle of the submission process for one of my novels, and it is definitely a ride. I had to re-write my query a few times before it started working. Writing the novel is actually the easiest part. :)

  6. I like it, the 'dust addicts' makes it clear that these aren't your regular Tinkerbell pixies and makes me think this will be a slightly edgy but still fun book. The kidnapping and ancient pixie secrets also hint at a mystery to be solved and the threat of danger, so that's all good too. The 'stranger than before' comment could be left out if her new powers are what you're alluding to which would free up some characters, unless her being strange before is a big part of the plot/her character, like being an outcast just got worse.
    - Sophia.

  7. Kristin--I love that you want to read it. I WANT you to read it! :) Good luck on your submission--you'd think after writing 90,000+ words, we could come up with 250 great ones to describe what we JUST DID, huh?

    Sophia--I'm trying to be edgy. And fun. :) And, yeah, she was very, very strange before she was kidnapped. Thanks!

  8. Hey Robin! I LOVE the premise for your book. ;-)

    And pixies can be VERY cool. Have you ever read TITHE by Holly Black? Her main character is a pixie and she's awesome and kick-butt.

    I stink at pitches. Heh. But I think yours sounds great! It doesn't sound frilly and lacy at all, especially w/the ref to HS dust addicts. I'm assuming these are peeps after her for her halluconegenic dust, right?

    The one thing you might reword is the end to make it more exciting. Instead of "ancient" Pixie secrets, find another adj with a dangerous slant.

    Plus, that phrase kind of made me think of "ancient Chinese secret" which was a catch phrase from a calgon commercial years back. *aging myself here* --LOL.

    I can't wait to read this book!

  9. Anita--yeah, that phrase reminds ME of "ancient Chinese secret" too. Dang. (And I'm not that old. Really. I'm not.) K--off to scan through the thesaurus again.

    I haven't read TITHE--sounds cool. If I read it now, will people accuse me of plagarizing later...? :)

  10. Oh, no! You can read it. It doesn't sound anything like yours at all. Besides, it's always good to read stuff similar to what you write so you're up on your competition. ;-)

  11. And just a word to the wise, there's A LOT of profanity in that book. I personally don't have cursing (or sex) in my MSS, but I've found a lot of it in other YAs. It bothered me a little when I read TITHE, but I was still able to enjoy the story. Just didn't want you to go in without fair warning. :-)

  12. Thanks for the head's up! I hardly notice profanity anymore (occupational hazard) but you're right about the increasing prevalance of the stuff in YA. Pretty sad. Sounding authentic doesn't mean we have to copy the meaningless-shock-and-awe words, too. :)

    BTW--I'm loving the description of your book, too. Sounds awesome! Good luck with submissions!

  13. Thanks, Robin! I'm soooo nervous right now. Ick.

    And yeah, you're right about the occupational hazard bit.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention that the title of this post CRACKED me up! LOL

    We all feel a little pitchy from time to time. Heh.

  14. LOL, Anita--I'm a life-long [strictly amateur] singer, so avoiding pitchiness has been drilled into me from birth. :)