How to write a winning pitch for your story

How to write a winning pitch for your story

You are sitting in front of a computer screen, staring at the perfect storyline you just created for hours and hours. Readers are now turning into your loyal fans and your kinfolks are so proud of you. As a writer, you’ve done a great job! But what about your role as a marketer? When an idea is promising enough to be a fit for screen adaptation, writers tend to get high-strung at the thought of “pitching it right.”

Before stepping into the detailed conceptualization of your book, there is a deciding factor that plays a major role in defining the success or failure of your novel  —  An elevator pitch 

But then,  how to write an elevator pitch for your book?

Remember, every movie, web series, or documentary you watch was once just a potential movie pitch. A pitch that stood out from a million others. A pitch that was short, unique, and highly compelling. Craft your own distinctive pitch today.

An article by Harvard Business Review states, “When asked what their movie is about, successful screenwriters have a ready answer that is clear, concise, and engaging.”

  • Clear –  Captures the very heart of your book’s unique selling point
  • Concise – Smartly distill an idea or story in less than 20 words
  • Engaging -Sell your story to people who’ve never heard of it

Here are a few examples to get inspired from while writing a good story pitch:
Harry Potter series
Orphan boy goes to school for wizards.

Gone Girl
A woman (Amy) goes missing, and her husband is suspected of murder. But the sweet diary-writing Amy of the first half of the book is revealed to be a very different woman in the second half . . .

The Da Vinci Code
A professor of symbology unlocks codes buried in ancient works of art as he hunts for the Holy Grail.

The bottom line is –

To write a stellar pitch that will wow a big-name publishing platform sometimes can be a highly daunting & yet inevitable part of a writer’s journey. Hence you need to approach the producers with a compelling pitch, that’s impressive & unforgettable.
While crafting your riveting pitch, ensure that you have a well-planned strategy that answers the following questions-

  • Who is my target audience when it comes to a story/idea/book?
  • What is an absolute value addition made in the marketplace?
  • What helps my book stand out in a high-populated market?

Creating a pitch-perfect impression on producers
While considering non-fiction works, you can pitch your book by drilling down the finest details such as the subgenres, the setting, and the era. Why? Because your role is to craft the ultimate statement that piques the interest of the one reading it. No matter who. Infused with an element of curiosity & engrossment, you can start by going interrogative. Pose a question that compels the reader to go on a hunt for its answer. The good part is ONLY you as a writer is in a unique position to answer it, through the rest of your pitch.

This is a great way to commence a pitch through just a single sentence.

Highlight the most commanding elements of your story
Especially in works of fiction, unless your pitch is strong enough to move the reader emotionally, there is a high chance it won’t survive.
It is known that one of the greatest loglines of all time in Hollywood Cinema belongs to the iconic thriller that kept kids out of the ocean during the summer of 1975:

“A police chief, with a phobia for open water, battles a gigantic shark with an appetite for swimmers and boat captains, in spite of a greedy town council who demands that the beach stay open.”

How did it do the magic? The pitch emphasizes the key elements of the story in a very smart way; the protagonist, his flaw & conflict, the fate vs choice element — everything in just a single sentence. It reflects the all-encompassing plot in an intriguing yet very direct manner. Come to think of it, it is clear, concise and certainly engaging. Now you know what writing a book proposal means.

Bring in contemporary bestsellers to create a buzz!
What helps your story stand out in the ever-swarming market? An effective way to create an attractive pitch is by ensuring that your statement rings a bell.
“My story is more like, The Great Gatsby meets The Goldfinch set in a highly-sensitive economy of the 21st century.”

Such a statement made by an author or scriptwriter sparks an interest in the mind of the producer as they then believe that you know your book well.

Build an online/offline presence to level up your game
Crafting the pitch is one thing. Who is crafting the pitch, also counts. In the world of digital-everything, agents or production studios tend to get attracted by something that is recognized and credible. Particularly in the case of a non-fiction idea/book, you can showcase all the efforts put into book marketing.

Let’s break this down into simpler words-

  • How big is your social media presence – the number of followers on your account
  • An authentic website that has all the information about you
  • A youtube channel/podcast – the number of followers on your channel
  • Your email marketing skills – how long is your list of subscribers
  • Your social media planning via blogs, interviews, etc.

This approach will definitely help put you in the best light.

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