Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Moment of Decision

Drumroll, please....

I think my manuscript is ready for submission. It's been edited and re-worked based on my beta's comments. I read "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman in an attempt to catch any last minute "first" time author mistakes. And although I have two more readers looking through it right now, one has given me some mid-read comments stating that they don't see any glaring mistakes and are really enjoying it. So...

It's now or never, I believe. But I'm in a quandry. I want to submit to a fiction contest to start, and yet, I'm still mulling over the pitch. Generally we know that a pitch is a paragraph usually spoken to an agent at a conference. But this contest wants three to four paragraphs and says that it should include the main plot points, the characters, and a word count. It sounds, in effect, like a query only without pages, synopses, or bios. I have a pretty tight query, but I worry that it is not enough. I would hate to blow any opportunity like this because my "pitch" was more query than hype. I feel like I should embellish my query a little more in order to get it to the pitch level, but I just don't know.

Suggestions or comments? What should I do? I could really use some guidance!


  1. More query than hype? As in, more substance than flash? That sounds like a good thing.

  2. Thanks Margo. Hype was probably the wrong word. I know better than that! :-)
    I looked at the book jackets of some of the authors Irene represents to get a feel of what I should be aiming for. I came away feeling like I should embellish my query a little bit. But I am generally nervous about the thing.

  3. Definitely lead with the hook. Spruce it up and be excited about it. Make the excitment show in the pitch. I say spruce away.

  4. Have you had your beta-readers look at your query?

    If you're confident in it, why not send out your first round (to your top-choice agents) as well as enter the pitch contest?

    Forgive my bluntness, but it sounds like you might be looking for a reason to stall :)

    If you think you've done all that you can do... just go for it! If you don't get any takers, you'll know your pitch needs more work and you can always re-submit :) With the number of queries agents read, there's no way they can remember every one and go, 'I've read this already!'

  5. Caroline--is this perfectionist thing getting in your way again ;)? Because I think it sounds like she pretty much wants a query--maybe a little longer of a query than some agents at 3-4 paragraphs, but basically a query. Go ahead and give it one more lookover, one more edit. But in the end, the polish of the query, the voice in the writing, and the concept of the book will sell it, no embellishment needed. So--dive in, sister!

  6. My only piece of advice would be to let the pitch reflect the writing voice. Maybe instead of "pop" (my word for what you're describing) it just needs to reflect a beautiful, lyrical style or...whatever your style is.

    It would be kind of odd to have a Tarantino-style trailer for a movie that's more Merchant Ivory. Ya know?

  7. Margo--coming up with a Taratino style trailer for my book would totally rock. It would be too funny. I need to hit up my brother-in-law for that.
    Rowenna--you are right, I'm flipping into perfectionist mode.
    1000th.monkey--no offense taken. I am stalling! :-)
    Mike--thanks for the advice! You're right.

  8. Don't let the fear cripple you!!