Pitching is an important part of an author’s journey. Submitting and pitching the manuscript to publishers is how a picture book gets published. There is a lot that goes into making a pitch besides just writing the pitch. You have to consider time, place, and person too! We have compiled some tips on how to make a hit pitch to help get your picture book out into the world.
One of the most important parts of pitching is to be brief! Oftentimes, publishers, agents or to whom you are pitching have little time and also receive a lot of pitches. They want sweet and short, which means get straight to the point. One sentence pitches are a great way to do this, as are elevator pitches - a pitch that you can do in the time it takes to ride an elevator. No matter where you are, these pitches can be given anywhere. They can be done in an elevator, at a publishing event, pitch meetings, conferences, and more. Even though you must be brief, this doesn’t mean you can skimp on the content. In the pitch, it must contain a description of what genre of book, the intended market, synopsis of major plot points, themes, and any other necessary parts. Including what makes your book unique, why it would sell, why it fits in, and such are also great to include in your pitch.
If you are pitching through the mail, this is a bit different than pitching in person. Being brief is still a must, the query letter that talks about your book should be around the length of the back-cover description on a book. This doesn’t mean that it should sound like the back-cover description though; It is all about hooking the publisher without having to get into all the details. It should make them want to read it! In addition to that, the manuscript should also be included if the publisher wants to read it or pass it on.
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Depending on what publisher you are pitching to or what conferences you are going to, you may need to alter the pitch to personalize it to who you are pitching to. Research goes into this and tells you what kind of topics, genres, issues, and such that the publisher generally publishes. If they focus on social issues, you can highlight that in your pitch. If you are going to a publisher who is known for social and emotional learning books then you would highlight that. Knowing who you are pitching to also helps decide how you should pitch. Does the publisher like humor? Then add humor into your pitch and make it known that your book has that too! If your book is an emotional one then go for the heartstrings. Not every pitch has to be the same even if you are pitching the same book!
Remember, publishing a book can be a long process which includes pitching. You might pitch and then not hear back for a long time, sometimes even months! You have to be patient and wait because you never know, even if it takes a while, the publisher might write back that they love your book!
Sovann Hyde is an intern at Cardinal Rule Press and studying at Michigan State University. She enjoys writing and reading in her free time as well as gaming with friends. Jetta, Gryffin, and Bella, her family’s dogs and cat, keep her energetic and curious.