While a pitch to publishers and agents is not the same as a blurb, and both are distinct from a 140-character enticement to click on the link to a blog post, I’ve learnt a bit on pitching from observing how others market their work on Twitter. It takes a lot of discipline and focus to whittle down the gist of one’s outpourings into a few captivating words.
But the ideal pitch isn’t solely down to the writer’s capacity to précis. I don’t think I’m making excuses when I say that some fiction is easier to pitch than others. In an effort to convince you this isn’t only me being precious about my own stuff, I’ll illustrate this but by comparing my Twitter pitches for two of the stories I especially enjoyed from a recent anthology in which my story “A House for the Wazungu” also appears. I’m interested in your views, but I think my first pitch:
It could be that my pitching still isn’t sufficiently sophisticated to embrace it, but I think fiction with an embedded secret or twist is the more difficult to promote. This was something I was keen to explore in my Q&A with Claire King because one of the things that especially delighted me about her novel can’t be discussed with anyone who hasn’t yet read it. (If you haven’t, though, why not?) Here’s part of what Claire said regarding the marketing ofThe Night Rainbow:
the crux of the novel is the unreliable narration of Pea, rather than any specific ‘twist’, so we tried to avoid bigging that up (and having people trying to second guess, which would spoil their read).
So that’s my post finished. Now, should I spend the rest of the day pitching it, researching #PitMad on Twitter, or would I be better devoting the time to trying to get to grips with this score?
If you’re interested, the music is Mozart’s Mass in C minor and you can listen to a perfectly pitched version of it here and, yay, there's a female conductor.