Arp Laszlo Talks Elevator Pitches and a Giveaway

Arp Laszlo rings in day three of our countdown with excellent advice on creating short-but-sweet pitches. Arp is a web designer, developer, and consultant, and an Indian-American comics creator, illustrator, writer who also blogs really helpful tips for comics and graphic novel creators at his website: https://www.quackatoa.com.

He’s also kindly offered a website critique for one lucky winner. Enter to win at the Rafflecopter below.


Your Story’s Elevator Pitch

We’re going to focus on one very useful aspect of a pitch packet in this post: the Elevator Pitch.

What is it?

The Elevator Pitch is a super short description of your story, limited to 1-2 sentences. It should include: your main characters as well as the story hook & central conflict.

The hook is the Why of the story – what are the stakes & sources of tension? This can often be presented as a problem & solution. You want to condense this all into a single sentence if you can.

Why is it useful?

Being able to describe your story succinctly is important. You need to be clear on what your story is about, which in turn helps you to tell others about it.

If you can condense it into a logline – a one-sentence summary that’s commonly used in the film & tv industry – that’s even better. But it’s not necessary for publishing.

I would still try to create a logline if you can because they are super useful for Twitter pitch parties where you have a limited number of characters to work with.

Here’s an example

Let’s compare two descriptions of a story. The first will mimic a creator who does not have an elevator pitch, the 2nd will be a proper elevator pitch:

#1: It’s the story of this boy who finds out that he’s a wizard, and then goes to Wizard School. And he’s an orphan, so it’s like an orphan school story, but with magic. And then he has to fight this evil wizard who everyone thought was dead, who killed his parents and it turns out that he’s a natural at magic.

OK, I might have stretched that a bit, but I was trying to capture how it felt for me to describe a story that I wasn’t totally clear on. 

#2: A boy wizard begins training and must battle for his life with the Dark Lord who murdered his parents.
– Elevator pitch by Randy Ingermanson

See the difference? The faster and more effectively you can explain what your story’s about, the better. 

You’ll feel confident about it and it’ll make it easier for an editor or someone else to understand if your story is something that they want to know more about. 

Creating a good elevator pitch for your story is a win/win for you and anyone you want to share it with.

Looking for more info on what to put in a pitch packet?

I have a full blog post on how to pitch a graphic novel on my website. Every agent or publisher is going to have different requirements but I researched pitch packets and collected the general recommendations into my blog post.

Good luck with your pitching!

Follow Arp on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/quackatoacomics/, or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/quackatoacomics/, or subscribe to his site: https://www.quackatoa.com

To enter for the chance to win a free website critique from Arp, please enter the Rafflecopter below:

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Russ Cox Shares Tips on Using Clip Studio

Russ Cox, a member of the KidLitGN team, is kicking off day four of our pitch event countdown with tips on Clip Studio plus a chance to win a 12-month license for CLIP STUDIO PAINT EX, a value of $219 (see here for more details) . Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. Thank you, Russ!

Hello, and thanks for joining our KidLitGN Blog. I am asked at school visits how I create my graphic novels. The answer is simple: I use Clip Studio (EX edition). Here’s a quick rundown on a few of the many reasons why:

I prefer Clip Studio over Photoshop and other software because of its ease of use. A book can be created in Clip Studio without exporting it to other software for layout purposes. For example, when I worked on a dummy for a book that I wrote, I sketched out all of the pages in CS. With the Page Manager setting, I can set up my pages as spreads or individual pages and set page size, bleeds, page numbers, etc. This saves so much time from having to jump between software. I can also export the completed print-ready books as a pdf.

The Sub View window allows you to keep your characters and colors consistent. You can sample the colors right off the window by simply importing the images, pallets, and characters you are using, a time saver!  

I also like CS for its natural drawing look. It’s made for illustration and comics. The software has a flow more in line with traditional media, coming with an array of tools to use. You can also import Photoshop brushes and find an assortment of free brushes on CS website. Many of the well-known digital brush makers are now creating brushes for the software. Building illustrations and comics in layers helps me go back and tweak anything down the road. I am now using CS for my picture books too.  

One of my favorite time-saving features is the speech bubble tool. With this tool, you can create a variety of speech bubbles and tails in a matter of seconds. If you want to keep your look consistent, this will do the trick. You click on the tool icon, draw the basic tape, add the tail, and done. Like working in vector software, you can click on the bubble and modify it to the desired shape. I cannot comment enough on how I love this feature.  

Clip Studio has many of the same layer features as Photoshop, Affinity Photo, and others. If you’re thinking about the learning curve, it will not take you long to get up and running. I watched a few tutorials to locate where certain things were, but was using the software in no time.

I could go on and on about the other merits of Clip Studio. For me, it’s the best option out there. Great support, online tutorials, a variety of brushes and tools, and they are continuously improving it. Go to this link for a free trial of Clip Studio: https://www.clipstudio.net/en/purchase/trial/

Time to get back to my book creating!

Meet Russ


Russ Cox was raised by a pack of crazed hillbillies in the backwoods of Tennessee. Without much in the way of modern conveniences, like television or running water, he spent his time drawing, whittling, and throwing dirt clods at his cousins. With the bulk of his life spent in Pennsylvania, he met his wife; became a graphic designer; played in punk, alternative, and surf bands; had two kids; and started his own illustration studio, Smiling Otis Studio (named after one of their enormous cats). 

Russ creates his art using digital software, primarily Clip Studio and other digital tools. He works in traditional mediums, often with a mixture of paper, pencil, pen & ink, gouache, and watercolor. 

Russ lives in Maine with his wife and three cats. Follow Russ on his site: smilingotis.com, on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/russcox_books/, on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/russ.cox.750, or on Twitter @https://twitter.com/russcox_illust

Russ has arranged for a lucky reader to receive a  CLIP STUDIO PAINT EX-12-month license for 1 device (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android), a value of $219. Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win:

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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.