Last night I attended a Pitchapalooza event at the KC library and learned a lot of great things about how I can improve my ability to pitch The Redheaded Stepchild, both in query letters and in casual conversation with people. Here are a few of the takeaways I got:

  • Finding good comparison titles is really important. I need to do a better job of this, cause I’ve really got nothing. But I haven’t been working that hard at it, either.
  • Your pitch should give the pitchee an idea of a beginning, middle, and end to your story. This is a challenge for me since the plot is not chronologically structured, but there’s definitely room for improvement.
  • Ending with a question is a way to hook the audience and build intrigue.
  • You must make the intended audience fall in love with the main character (even if they just love to hate him).
  • Use your pitch as a way to demonstrate what a great writer you are. It shouldn’t sound like a use car salesman’s pitch.
  • Think of your book pitch as if you’re pitching a movie, and think to yourself, “who’s the guy on the poster?”

If you’ll recall, one of my goals for the year was to attend more of these events, so I am glad I went, even though I didn’t get picked to pitch. It was a free event, but I had some leftover cash so I bought the book and got the 20-minute consultation with @TheBookDoctors (find them on Twitter). So here is my pitch from last night… stay tuned for the refined version.

My book, The Redheaded Stepchild, is a series of non-chronological, thematically structured slice-of-life short stories about a young woman coming of age in a small town and her complicated relationship with her newly-appointed but icy stepmother.

Don’t get the wrong idea; it’s far from a Cinderella story. There are no singing animals, evil stepsisters, Prince Charming, or happily ever after – just a small town girl trying to establish her identity as anything else and leave her mark on the world, while struggling to escape the reality of where she comes from, and what her life is now.

At around 65,000 words, this 12-story book has the flexibility for publication as a series or as an entire manuscript. It is a work of mainstream literary fiction that will have a focused appeal to women and young adults, but is written for all who love a great story and have an appreciation for detailed prose.