Should These Pitches be Ditched?

In my current English course, New Media and Publishing, we are studying writer platforms and how to sell yourself. This week is about creating “elevator pitches.”  We were told to describe our material in 3 to 4 sentences as if we only have 30 seconds in an elevator to make an impression on a publisher. I’ve dabbled in this before, but it’s not a precise process. I’m trying to strike a balance between giving away enough meat and detail of the story while still remaining mysterious/enticing without being too vague.  So here are my pitches for my three novels. Maybe they work, or maybe they need work. But that’s what learning is for. Feel free to let me know your reactions in the comments.

Book 1 Pitch

Seventeen-year-old Patrick Walker is good at keeping his secret and even better at hating his father. He covers the fact that his father physically abuses him, afraid of being sent to foster care if the police knew the truth or what his father would really do to him if people discovered their happy relationship was all fake. Patrick won’t accept help and deals with the pain in dangerous ways, including drinking and fighting at school and getting in trouble with a violent gang leader who knows just how to get in Patrick’s head. His real struggle isn’t in knowing how to take a beating, but realizing when to ask for help and standing up against the man who should have loved him most.

Book 2 Pitch

Maddie Carlisle, a high school senior and member of the in-crowd elite, is forced to confront the consequences of her decisions and the reality of her life when outspoken, eighteen-year-old Cameron Dawson moves in next door, covered in bruises and carrying more secrets than luggage. Maddie knows who to be and how to act to please everyone, secretly loathing her perfect popular lifestyle. When she meets Cameron they form an unlikely (and forbidden) bond that is tested as she struggles between pleasing the people that control her life and staying true to her own heart. The more he opens up, the clearer it becomes that Cameron is struggling with his own demons, and Maddie is the only one who can help him face them.

Book 3 Pitch

High school Junior, Ezra Winchester, is drugged, kidnapped, and taken to a remote location where he’s held by a trio of brutal and greedy strangers that ransom him for the millions of dollars he’s worth.  He quickly realizes rescue isn’t coming and is forced into a battle for survival where both his mental and physical strength is tested. After months of beatings and emotional traumas, Ezra discovers there is more at play than he first realized, and those secrets could push him past a point he can’t come back from. But to him justice might just be more important than making it out alive.

So did I earn an A on this assignment or did I fail? Would you want to read more based on these pitches or would you politely pass? What are your honest opinions?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Should These Pitches be Ditched?

  1. seanatherton

    Interesting idea for a post. I might do the same at some point. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on your pitches:

    Book 1: The opening line is good, but sounds a little awkward when read aloud. I like the last line after the comma. Challenge: How can you sell it so the publisher doesn’t immediately think “another abused boy story”?

    Book 2: The first sentence is great! Unfortunately the other sentences take it back into the realm of “seen it”, especially the last part of the last sentence. “…only one..” seems overly dramatic unless she truly has something no one else in the world has. (If she does, bring it up earlier so the last sentence doesn’t sound so melodramatic.)

    Book 3: I like this one the least. The plot, as described, sounds like a lot of other stories…usually badly written. I know you’re trying to keep the sentence count down, but remember that short sentences tend to build tension. Also, “months of beatings…” sounds a bit unrealistic in terms of a timeline for a kidnap/ransom unless there is a MUCH larger story line in play.

    I’m not sure how strict the instructor will grade these. I would probably put it somewhere in the “B” range. I would most want to read Book 2, but my bias is for inner struggle type stories.

    • Thanks for the honest feedback! I appreciate having other views, and there is always room to improve. It’s interesting that the third pitch is your least favorite because I feel like it’s my best book so far. So I need to create a better pitch that demonstrates that. I understand your points about not sounding so melodramatic or overdone. I can work on the wording to improve that. I can be happy with a B! 🙂 But I’ll revise and shoot for an A haha. Thanks again!

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