Monday, 16 March 2009

The three secrets of a successful book pitch.

At BubbleCow we spend a lot of time helping very talented writers fine tune their submission packages so agents and publishers are more likely to offer them a deal. There is no doubt that in the current financial climate book deals are becoming more elusive. If you add to this the simple fact that many submissions simply slip onto the slush pile and are never given a fair review, then you can see just how tough it can be for a writers.

It is essential that your submission package is faultless. So here are the secrets to a good book pitch.

Don’t be rubbish - Your work needs to be of a professional standard BEFORE any agent or publisher ever reads it. This is especially true for smaller publishers who will be looking for a finished product. This is the reason that companies like BubbleCow exist. We provide the expertise that allows unpublished writers access to professional editors. But it is not just your writing that can’t be rubbish. You also need to ensure you are pitching to the correct company (one that already sells your genre of writing), you are addressing the letter to the correct person (name spelled correctly) and that you have no grammar mistakes. I could go on…

Your submission is a sales document - The cover letter and synopsis are not just summaries of your book, they are sales documents. These documents are all the agent/publisher has to assess your book. They are not going to read your extract unless they feel it is commercially viable. So, and this is important, you must SELL your book in the cover letter/synopsis. Pin point your market, highlight similar titles and make it as easy as possible for the publisher/agent to say yes. A big mistake many writers make is they simply include a summary of the story - this is a big no no.

Realistic expectations - All writers want to be the next JK Rowling. You know the dream - big advance, worldwide sales and a nice new house. However, this approach is fatal in trying to get published. Big advances are very rare, if fact a £3000(ish) advance is more realistic though still big. It is essential a writer is realistic about their book. You need to assume you are talking about a couple of thousands books sold, not millions. You also need to think carefully about which publisher is correct for you. The big boys offer the best deals on paper but smaller, more dynamic independent publishers may make you more money and give your book a better chance.