Pitch a Hit


“So, tell me a little about your book…” and the pitch session begins.

Does this simple question strike fear in your heart of hearts?  Keep Calm and Carry On as they say in Britain.

Beyond these simple 5 words, what else can you do to get the most out of a very short, but valuable pitch session?

Prepare and Organize. Prepare and Organize. Prepare and Organize. Prepare and Organize.

I can’t emphasize this enough.  Here is a list of some typical pitch questions you should be familiar with.  Rehearse your answers over and over again so your responses are natural and to the point.  Know your material.  You don’t have time for “uh” or “duh.” This is your opportunity to show confidence in your writing and yourself as a writer.

Introductory Questions

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.  Why are you a writer?  What are your goals?
  2. What is the working title of your book?  Audience? Genre?
  3. What work does it resemble?  How is it different?  What makes it unique?
  4. Why should an agent or publisher read your work?

Information Questions

  1.  So, what is your book about?  Tell me about your characters and conflicts.
  2. Is there any diversity in your book?  How so?
  3. Have you written a query letter or previously pitched this book?  What was their response?
  4. Have you shared your work at a conference, with an agent or publisher, with book groups, or writing organizations?
  5. Has the book been edited?  How much is completed?

Closing Questions

  1.  Do you have any questions for me?

Closing Reminder

  1.  Leave all your contact information.
  2. Ask if they would like a hard copy, electronic copy, or both.
  3. Follow up.  Follow up.  Follow up.

(image:  losasso.com)



What does an editor do?


You are your own worst enemy when it comes to editing.  There’s a psychological term for this that escapes me right now, but it boils down to mind games.  Your brain will look at errors and automatically correct them or fill in the blanks.

Can You Read This?  by Chris McCarthy (Study@ecenglish.com)

I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.

Whether you are self-publishing or signing with a publisher, you want the best editor you can get.  Constructive criticism is hard to take these days. It’s not intended to beat you down.  An editor is the invisible person behind you who honestly has your best interest at heart.  An editor can shape your manuscript from the ordinary to the best product possible.  Yes, it can be frustrating and take a while, month and years.

But, there are options there, too.  If you don’t like your editor for some reason, ask for another.  You can always go out on your own, but remember good editing is expensive.  Yes, your first-grade teacher or next door neighbor, friend, or spouse can always look at it, but is that in your own best interest?

Tips for First-time Authors


How to I start?

Typically, you pitch an idea or send a query letter before you write an entire manuscript that may or may not be accepted.  Don’t pitch to a company that doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts.  Don’t pitch a romance to a company that specializes in mystery or a children’s book to a company that specializes in adult literature.  Do your homework.  Check websites or get access to the Writer’s Market.

Do I send everything?

Never write or submit more than an idea or several chapters  It’s unrealistic to expect one or more people to drop a current project and read your 50,000 words overnight.

What about a contract?

Never work without a contract.  Contracts vary from company to company.  Again, unless you are Stephen King, Lady Gaga, or a Real Housewife, don’t expect millions in signing bonuses.  Traditional publishing houses are not going to extend any offer until you have proven yourself profitable.  Small publishing houses don’t make those kinds of offers.

How long before I publish my book?

Just because you have finished writing, or assume you have a final product, that is not true.  You are now in the hands of several editors and the editing process.  And unless you are Ernest Hemingway, you need those editors.  (See my blog about the publishing process and what does an editor do.)

You want the best for your “baby.”  There are short cuts, but that doesn’t guarantee your baby will be healthy and thrive.


How To Prevent Publishing Frustration


Writers publishing for the first time often lack the understanding of the complete process.  The number one virtue in this business is patience. Remember it took JK Rowling 10 years of patience before Harry Potter became successful.  Overnight success is unrealistic.

So to illustrate this, I’m including this diagram from the Huffington Post.


If you are not Stephen King, Lady Gaga, or one of the Real Housewives, follow ALL the arrows.  AND if your publisher doesn’t pull out his or her hair or become a goat farmer, you will publish your book–but NOT instantly.


Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal


Knock, Knock–DON’T answer.  Only the bravest and most curious can go beyond that door.  Are you one of those who likes a good mystery?  Then open the door and go through the portal to find the secrets on the other side.

This latest  YA mystery adventure by Peter Wilson is now available worldwide on Amazon and lulu.com.

The Magic of a Dream


“Come snuggle up with me.

It’s time to tell you how you came to be.

You were our greatest wish.

We dreamed of the day we would give you a kiss.”

copyright Faye Willis

This touching poem was intended for IVF children but is also appropriate for any child:  it is a poem of love and determination. Forthcoming from Crystal Publishing.

Illustrations by Corbin Hillam