Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Write Pitch

What needs be in a pitch and how should it resound? It's what you want on the back flap of your book; it's what you dream a copywriter will get right on the back of your novel. There are some definite dos' and don'ts. This is the shortest but most important story you will ever write--the story about your story.

Do get in the name and profession of your main character right off the bat, along with the setting (or settings), the time frame, the basic plot and premise upon which the novel twists and turns. In other words you are providing for the reader a quick and dirty look at Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. How does it run; why is it unique. Don't go on long. Do keep it tightly written. Organize it. Keep it short enough to fit on the back of your book. It should be written in present tense and active voice. No time for linking or helping or weak passive verbs. The style comes clear after you read twenty or thirty back flaps of published books. This is the "voice" you want to use. You may want to organize a paragraph to cover the protagonist and a second to cover the antagonist, stating the golas of each. By all means, you want to convey the main souce of conflict and the category your novel falls into, and perhaps a hint of the danger involved for your protagonist.

Read the back flap copy of my City for Ransom, my Psi Blue, or my Absolute Instinct. Three distinctive books but the back flap copy does the same job for each novel. One set in 1893 Chicago, one in DC & Phoenix current day, the third in current day Chicago and the Midwest.

Rob Walker

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