Trimming the Excess From Your Pitch

I spent most of yesterday re-working my pitch paragraph and log line.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I find the act of condensing a 104,000 word manuscript into a short paragraph of 100-150 words daunting.  Not to mention writing a 25 word log line.  Ouch!  There's a reason my genre is called epic fantasy.  There's a lot going on and a lot of characters involved.

The other day it occurred to me that I needed some outside perspective on this.  No matter how many agents' blogs I've read about query letters and pitch paragraphs, I kept putting way too much information into my pathetic efforts.  I'm too close to the characters to trim it down.  So, I asked two of my beta readers to write what they would put on the back cover of my book.  They agreed with a lot of enthusiasm and what they came up with was so obvious I laughed out loud.  Now I have a log line that I'm almost happy with and I've taken their approaches and created a short pitch paragraph. Well, actually, I have four different paragraphs that I'm going to play around with until it sounds right.  Thanks Christina and Sarah!

I think the next time, I'll be better at this, but outside help worked for me.  What about you?  How do you get that pitch paragraph just right?

In other news, Daina Rustin, Mystic Treehouse , tagged me the other day.  Hi Daina!  So, now I have to share 10 random facts about myself and tag 5 more people.  Here goes!

  1. I'm sitting in Barnes & Noble right now trying to make the best of my time between appointments.
  2. I have 5 children and 3 grandchildren but feel free to tell me I look too young for that!
  3. This is the first platform building campaign I've done, and I'm realizing that time management must be forefront in my mind during these two months.
  4. I'm a trained public speaker and typically speak to groups on motivational and/or Christian themes.
  5. I'm certified to teach and administer the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.
  6. I met my husband when I was 17 and dating his older brother.  Seventeen years, later I married him.
  7. I have a Bachelor's degree in Zoology and a Master's degree in Professional Communication.
  8. People who knew me while I was growing up thought I was shy...Fooled them!
  9. I'm going to the South Carolina Writers' Workshop writing conference Oct. 21-23 in Myrtle Beach, SC.  (info at
  10. I love the mountains.

OK, so 5 people to tag (Due to # 3 above, I'm in too much of a hurry to do the proper html, so I'm just typing the URL's here:

Rebekah Loper:
R. L. Blackhurst:  (Please support her because she's just getting started on her blog)
Tia Bach:
Carole St. Laurent:

And my work is done.


Cheryl said…
I'm having the very same trouble with my pitch paragraph too, for the same reasons. It's driving me crazy. I still have plenty of time - I'm editing right now ready to give the novel to my beta readers - so I might just borrow that idea and ask them what they'd say.

You definitely don't look old enough :) People think I'm shy too until they get to know me. The conference sounds fun!
Luanne G. Smith said…
A buddy of mine made this same observation a little while ago. Sometimes it is easier for a reader to summarize our writing. They don't feel that same urge to include every detail and subplot that we just KNOW everyone needs in order to get the book.

Have fun at the conference!!
Rebecca said…
3 grandchildren???? What is your secret? Thanks for tagging me and giving me encouragement on my blog!!! Are you on facebook? How did you find me??
I use to dread doing the synopsis/back cover blurb thing. How do you condense successfully . . . I think you just have to let it flow, get the magic on the page and don't think about it too much . . . then cut, cut, cut, cut. Hopefully the magic will still be on the page when you're finished. Hey, but I am no expert and have many rejection letters to prove that! That's why I am a lone wolf now, lol :)
Rebecca, I found you in the Platform Building campaign. We're both in the Fantasy Group #4. Yes, I'm on Facebook, too. Come find me: Barbara Vogel Evers.

As for my secret, I could tell you, but then I'd have to eliminate you. *wink*
Anonymous said…
Oh yes, query pitches. So NOT my favorite kind of writing. Necessary, though.
Sher A. Hart said…
I've had my hubby read each pitch attempt. But every agent seems to have different preferences for what they like to see in queries. Having queried fewer than 10 so far, I already have that many versions. What fun! Congrats on the flash fiction award. Very cool. I've been traveling and sort of late to the following party, but follow I did.

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