What’s your Pitch? by Sheila Deeth

I think the world is trying to tell me something. I’ve just read two books that friends loaned to me. The first, the Story of With by Allen Arnold, explains how being creative is not about selling, not about becoming famous, or getting my books into bookstores, or making my fortune. It’s about sharing creativity with others and with God, and finding enjoyment in the sharing. But then came the second book, Daniel Pink’s to Sell is Human, which tells me all of us are salespeople like it or not, all of us selling, and many of us (presumably myself included) needing to learn how to do a better job of it. And now… well, on Sunday I’ll go to our local writers’ group at the library, where the speaker will teach us how to sell. So… yes… I think the world is trying to tell me something. All the best messages always come in threes, and this looks to me like three viewpoints on sales.

Daniel Pink’s book is interesting though. He offers some fascinating advice, and I’m trying to take it to heart. Like trying to find one word that describes my writing, target audience, or goals – a one-word pitch if you like. I came up with:

Outsiders

I’m certainly an outsider – English American, Catholic Protestant, mathematician writer. But everyone’s an outsider somewhere, and the characters in my stories try very hard to learn how to fit in. The man who left his wife because he was afraid of what he’d do if he stayed – he wanted to be a good husband and father, but he was an outsider to himself; the girl who wanted her parents to notice her – an outsider in her own home; the woman who’s hiding her past in childhood paintings – another outsider to herself; the boy trying to learn how to live with the knowledge of his grandfather’s crime; the teacher who ran away from his previous life; the child who runs away… I think outsiders might work as a one-word description, but what do you think?

And then there’s the Pixar Pitch:

Once upon a time... there was a place called Paradise that kind wished it was perfect. Every day… neighbors met and talked and made friends and enjoyed pretty close to perfect lives. One day… a crime changed everything. Because of that… a dear neighbor and friend must surely become a dangerous stranger. Because of that… her child becomes a stranger as well. Until finally… the child teaches a lesson in forgiveness that binds all Paradise together again.

That’s my Pixar Divide by Zero Pitch. But now I need a Twitter Pitch:

She’s hidden her past in her paintings, but why are they all red and black?

Which covers Infinite Sum. And for here’s a Rhyming Pitch for Subtraction:

How far would you go
to save an innocent runaway from the unknown?

I’m working on Imaginary Numbers now.  Pink suggests a Question Pitch, but I guess I covered that with my rhyme.  So all that’s left is the Subject-Line Pitch – something that would make my reader open an email: How about…

How to answer Mom’s phone call while reading her obituary.

What do you think? Would any of these entice you to read? Or buy? And what about pitches for other books… this could be fun, which I guess is what Allen Arnold’s book said–let’s enjoy our creativity together!

Sheila Deeth is the author of the Mathemafiction novels: Divide by zero, Infinite Sum and Subtraction, with Imaginary Numbers coming next year from Indigo Sea Press.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Sheila Deeth, writing

2 responses to “What’s your Pitch? by Sheila Deeth

  1. Sheila, When I started writing, I also started attending several national and international writing conventions a year up until my own book came out. During that time I had the opportunity to pitch my book for agents and publishing houses of all sizes. I also a took classes at these conventions to learn how to put together a pitch. Generally, my instruction was to be able to describe my book in one sentence. The idea was to give as much information as possible as briefly as possible. Evoking an emotion was suggested, including at least a hint of genre (romance, mystery, coming of age, fantasy, memoir, etc.), and something about your protagonist and his/her challenge.
    In preparation for these live interviews, I made up a list of all the questions I could come up with that an interviewer might possible ask and then come up with an answer. I made some pretty bad mistakes, but I also learned a lot from them and eventually got much better. I really think promotion is a personal journey for each writer. They have to do what fits their personality and abilities, but not necessarily their comfort zone. I always push mine and that usually works better for me. I wish you every success with all your books. You are an excellent writer with great ideas!

    • Thank you Coco, for your encouragement and your advice. I have a table at a local Bazaar coming up, and I always veer between silently hiding behind it and leaping to speak when people would rather pretend I’m not there. If someone asks what’s it about, I usually freeze—they looked at me—they spoke to me! Maybe I need to practice speaking those answers as well as writing them down.

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