Thanks to everyone who entered our Query Critique Contest! The contest is now over, but stay tuned each day this week to see who our winners are (remember-we said we were giving away 5 critiques!). Today’s winner is SuzeW! Congratulations, Suze! We’ll get in touch with you soon, but in the interim, get polishing that query!
And now onto pitches:
I grew up in a neighborhood where (and when) kids used to play outside a lot. We didn’t have internet access (or, come to think of it, the Internet), video games, or cable TV, so there wasn’t much to keep us indoors. Well, except for books, but even I couldn’t read all the time.
Which explains how a completely un-athletic person such as moi occasionally got pulled into an impromptu game of baseball. Depending on how inept my teammates were, I was even expected to pitch now and then.
And that’s how I learned that half the battle is making sure you’re pitching to the right catcher. That the catcher wants to catch what you’re throwing. You know what happens if you throw a curve ball to a catcher who prefers fast balls? They miss, and then blame it on you.
Therein lies today’s writing analogy. You can have the best pitch in the world for your novel, but if the agent you’re trying to sell the idea to doesn’t represent your genre … well, s/he’ll likely take a pass, and blame you for not knowing better.
Moral of the analogy: Do some research before you scatter-shoot your query everywhere in the publishing universe.
(Yes, I know it’s sometimes tough to figure out exactly what genre you’re writing. A lot of writers cross genres, or even mix up several into a kind of genre stew. You may write cozy steampunk mysteries, for instance, or dystopian slipstream historicals, or perhaps camel-centric literary humor. Whatever. Just try to figure out what your manuscript mostly is before you go looking for a home for it.)
Also, search engines are your friend. If you, say, meet an agent at a conference, or just love the way they tweet it up in the Twitterverse, Google them before you approach. That way you won’t wear out your pitching arm on catchers who have their eyes set elsewhere.
Besides, I have a sneaking suspicion agents like it if you’re diligent enough to do the groundwork before you leap into the game. It makes them think you’ll be a good client to work with, should they decide to offer.
So, if you’re a writer, what genre(s) do you write?
If you’re a reader (and, really, why else would you be here?), what genre(s) do you prefer to read?
P.S. If you’d like some specifics on how to come up with a good pitch, let me refer you to my fellow Debs’ posts this week–they all did an excellent job, and you won’t go wrong heeding their advice. But, like I said, once you have that perfect pitch … throw it to the right catcher.