It’s a Pitch-Eat-Pitch World by Urania Smith

Urania is KidLit writer and freelance editor.
Find Urania on Twitter And Facebook

Urania is kicking of day five of our countdown with pitch tips and a chance for a pitch critique before Oct. 5, see the details below:

If you’re a writer without illustrations to add to your pitch, you must work harder to capture the attention of an agent or editor. Graphic novels are a highly visual medium, so it’s natural for the eyes of agents and editors to gravitate toward posts that contain images. That doesn’t mean editors and agents aren’t reading posts without images, but it does mean you want to make sure your project has an strong concept and you’ve polished your pitch so it will stand out. Here are a few tips to help your pitch stand out in our Twitter pitch and Web pitch event.

• Use strong concise language and be a clear as possible. You will not grab the attention of agents and editors if your writing is poor and your concept is ambiguous. This is where critique groups and partners are really valuable. Yes. It’s helpful to get feedback on something as small as a pitch.

• Focus on the story’s major conflict and stakes. Your main character is going to go through some things, have wants, and desires (conflict). Hopefully, they will go through one big thing that your readers really care about that has consequences for your main character (stakes). Focus on these core issues in your pitch.

Example: Orphaned from his foster family in a zombie apocalypse, Jack teams up with other survivors, including the girl of his dreams, to fight the zombies and monsters invading his home town.

• Write three strong pitches. Our Twitter pitch allows you submit three pitches, three times throughout the event. Vary your pitches to highlight something new. 

Additional examples of pitches for the same book:

Left alone after the zombie apocalypse, Jack discovers he’s not the sole survivor and must team up with his friends if they want to survive the zombie apocalypse AND an alien monster invasion. Oh yeah, and they just may be the last humans on Earth.

In search of life on Earth after a zombie apocalypse wipes out his family, Jack takes notes on the monster that’s hunting him, a simple thing, really, but it just may save him and his friends, The Last Kids on Earth, from extinction.

• Take advantage of the website pitch’s extended 600 characters to show your writing chops. Graphics novels should be well written even if they do contain less word count than traditional novels. (This pitch has the freedom to read more like a book jacket).

Jack’s an ordinary kid, if you don’t count that he lives in a tree house, bashes monsters, and his foster parents were eaten by zombies. After receiving signs that his crush is alive, he embarks on a quest to save her from the alien monster invasion brought on by a zombie apocalypse. Only problem, June doesn’t need saving. She’s been kicking monster and zombie butt this whole time too. In fact, he needs her help, along with their other survivor friends to stay alive. This rag tag group must stick together long enough to discover any other signs of life, especially if they are really The Last Kids on Earth.

• Don’t leave open ended questions in your pitch to sound mysterious. Who doesn’t love a good mystery, but your Twitter and web pitch are not the places to make an agent or editor wonder what’s going on.

• Add comp titles. While comp titles are not a must in a pitch, they can show agents and editors you know the market and you didn’t roll out of bed yesterday, and decide to write a graphic novel. Trust me, someone on this planet did.

• Don’t forget to check spelling and grammar. We all make mistakes. Like, it would really be embarrassing if I misspelled words in a post warning you to check your spelling. You only have 280 characters for the Twitter post and 600 characters for the web post, so make an effort to impress. If you’re posting a picture with your bio, double check to make sure your name is spelled correctly. I can’t count how many times I’ve fired off an email with the name Uranus because spell check really, really hates me.

Urania will give feedback on any pitches posted on the comments section of this post until October 5 (all pitches will be deleted after that). If you’re on our Facebook page watch out for her Pitch Perfect post encouraging community feedback on your pitch. UPDATE: The comments section is closed and the pitches have been deleted. A big thank you to Urania for fielding so many requests and for all of you who participated. If you didn’t get your feedback, email us and we can send it to you.

Published by