Since I’ve started down the road of pitching my book I’ve learned a few things. And within the past few months I’ve had a realization. There are two halves to pitching a book to an agent or editor.
What’s the first-half?
Well that’s selling them on your book. Which I’m sure we all knew. This is your opportunity to get them excited about your idea. Here you want to know your work inside and out. Develop different ways to describe it to others. Tailor it to different types of people. Not everyone is drawn to the same thing. But if you’re able to hook them with one bit, they’ll be more likely to follow you on the rest.
What’s the second-half?
Selling them on you. It is a part of the equation we often forget about. You may think I’m off base, but consider your favorite author. Not only do you know their body of work, but you probably follow them on social media. You’re obsessed with what they’re up to and want to know more about them. John Green of “The Fault In Our Stars” has a huge following on YouTube and a great personality.
And this great personality helps his agent, manager, and publisher sell books.
This is similar to George R. R. Martin. Certainly his work speaks for itself in depth, creativity, and character. It can stand on its own. But people still flock to his Live Journal page to check in for updates. He interacts with his fans and builds a dialogue with them.
Take a moment some time and read through Patrick Rothfuss’ blog and twitter.
So then how do you sell yourself during a pitch?
By being you. No one else can be you, but YOU! And who you are has been needled into the very fabric of your book. When an agent or editor can get a sense of you they’ll also be able to get a sense of how you write. So when you’re ready to type up that query letter you need to follow Rule 1 — follow the query guidelines. But find ways to interject a bit of who you are within those guidelines. Let them get a sense of YOU!
Recently a close writing friend of mind stepped out of the usual query formula — the very professional and serious tone. She found ways to stay within the guidelines but also inserted a large portion of her personality into the query. And the response was incredible, and opened a door. By being herself, by being human and personable, she found success.
My last bit of advice, and where I’ve had the most success, is to go to conventions and workshops. Meet agents and editors face-to-face. This is your chance to really let them see who you are. Sell them on your book idea, and sell them on you.
Be bold, be awesome, be you.