Monday, April 14, 2014
Hooks and Pitches
I've done a lot of research since starting my writing project and writing the book seems to be one of the easiest parts of the whole process. In addition to writing your book and editing and revising it to death, you also need to write a compelling synopsis which is usually about 3-5 pages that basically summarizes all the major plot points of your book including the resolution at the end. There is also the query letter, a 1 page introduction of yourself and your work to a prospective literary agent or publisher. It is hard enough to condense a 300 page book down to a 3-5 page synopsis let alone a 1 paragraph pitch in your query letter. And you also need a killer hook or pitch, which should be included in both the query and the synopsis.
For so many writers the query letter is the bane of their existence and now I can say I know why. How do you pitch your wonderful book with its interesting and amazing story to an agent in 1 paragraph? You can't just say "read this, you will love it". You have to make the pitch in your query letter so compelling that the agent, publisher or intern that reads it finds it different from the other thousands they receive. It has to identify the genre and general plot.
Not easy to do.
The synopsis needs to be interesting enough so that when and if your query letter gets a response from an agent or publisher and they want to hear more, you have a summary of the manuscript which they will ask for. They won't ask for the whole manuscript until they are interested enough to spend their valuable time reading yours.
Well, this process is just as important if not more so in my opinion when you start marketing. I found a great website and blog through networking on Twitter that hosts podcasts. The two websites are http://authoru.org/ and http://thebookshepherd.com/ One recent podcast was about this exact topic and was absolutely fascinating. Think for a moment about all the tag lines, hooks or pitches you know. Not sure what I mean, how about Nike, Just Do It. Ok, got it. There are so many brands and products out there that have tag lines, slogans, hooks, pitches, however you want to call them that we all remember. They are short, to the point and easy to remember.
How does this apply to me and my self publishing journey?
How do I get people to read my book?
Well, I need to sell them in the first 2 sentences. We are used to seeing these tag lines on TV when browsing for something to watch or more specifically on the book jacket in the bookstore or book description online we preview to decide if we want to buy. How do I know it is something I want to read? If I don't have a friend recommend it whose taste matches mine, how do I know the book will be good, entertaining, what I am looking for?
I am working on mine and the goal is 2 sentences that grabs my target audience. Obviously someone who wants to read horror is not going to be interested in my contemporary romance. The goal is to create a hook that hooks my potential buyer into choosing my book as the next book they read out of all the other choices out there.
I'm working on it.
My hook(s) and/or pitches will become part of my brand, part of my facebook, part of my twitter and website, eventually on the back of my book jacket and part of the book description on Amazon, iBooks and Barnes and Noble Nook.
So sooner rather than later you will see my hooks appear as I get closer to my publishing date. I want you to read my book, I want you to want to read my book, I want you to buy my book, I just have to hook you.