I am doing a pitch at the Storymakers conference for a non-fiction teaching series I am working on. Currently, it’s mapped out to be a four book series. Do I tell the publisher this upfront or pitch the first book, then tell them it’s part of a series?

Pitching non-fiction is a little different than pitching fiction. In this case, yes, tell the publisher that you would like to do a series but be brief in the details on the other three books unless they ask for more. (Brief = “I see this as a four book series, book one covers ABC, book two covers DEF, … Here is my proposal for book one …”)

Concentrate on book one because if you don’t sell that one, the rest of the series is moot.

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I read your post on pitch sessions today. At the same conference, attendees will have the opportunity to have a manuscript evaluated by an editor or an agent. I assume (which may be incorrect) that the editor or agent will read the manuscripts prior to the conference and then will meet one-on-one with the author of each manuscript. If that’s the case, can you give me some tips for meeting with someone who has already read, or at least read a portion of, my manuscript? How can I be best prepared?

Oh, you lucky woman! This is a rare opportunity, so you’ll want to make the most of it.

Prepare the same way as you would for the regular pitch session, but if you sent the mss ahead of time, you won’t need the regular submission packet. If it was not already included in what you submitted to the editor, I would bring a printed chapter by chapter outline—2 to 3 sentences covering the action of each chapter (and yes, give away the ending)—just in case the editor didn’t have time to read the entire mss. I might also type up some marketing ideas to give to the editor, if they ask for it. And bring paper and pen to take notes.

Otherwise, just be prepared to answer questions about your story and to listen to all suggestions with an open mind and a closed mouth. (Do not argue with the editor about changes they suggest. You can decide later whether or not you will make them, but keep negative thoughts and comments to yourself.)

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Preparing for Pitch Sessions

January 16, 2008

At the upcoming LDStorymakers conference, there are opportunities for pitch sessions with a few LDS publishers as well as an agent. I have signed up to meet with one of the LDS publishers. Can you give me some guidelines as to how an ideal pitch session would go? What should I bring? Other than the […]

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Is This a Pitch?

February 13, 2007

Sally, ostracized from high school because of her appearance, connects with Joe on a level he doesn’t understand. Unwilling to leave the “crowd” to discover that connection, Joe seeks to sever any and all ties with Sally, even going so far as to change classes. When Sally begins working at the same grocery store as […]

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Query vs Pitch

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What is the difference between a query letter and a straight pitch? This question came up more than once during the pitch contest. Although I promised at the beginning of January that I would talk about a pitch, what it was and wasn’t, I got incredibly busy at work and never followed up on that. […]

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Pitch #5

February 8, 2007

Life is going well for Stacey Hunter. That is, until her young son witnesses the neighbor boy being kidnapped. When a ransom note appears and Stacey’s son describes the car he saw at the time of the kidnapping, she begins to suspect her own husband might be involved. The FBI believes he might be involved […]

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Pitch #4

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“She stood five-foot-eleven and had to be all of 350 pounds. Her beady eyes, dull and black, looked out from a mass of tangled, dirty blonde hair, her twisted and puffy face full of acne and pockmarks. “GLENNA! run for your lives!” we’d scream in our best blood-curdling cries whenever we saw her. Everyone knew […]

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Pitch Contest #3

February 6, 2007

The Misadventures of Little Red Writing Hood Have you ever felt like you’re just spinning your wheels, flinging mud but never getting anywhere? And does ‘getting anywhere’ mean achieving fame and fortune at the expense of being reasonable, responsible, and celestial? Beckie Mackintosh feels like she’s been spinning her wheels all her adult life, but […]

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Pitch Contest #2

February 5, 2007

Do police officers really spend their time eating jelly donuts and drinking coffee? Read on and find out for yourself. [Drop this entire first paragraph.]Patrolling the streets and fighting crime, Officer Russell Beck wrestles with the bad guys—from heart-stopping arrests and fast chases on the Capitol Beltway, to a stand-off with a buffalo herd in […]

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Pitch Contest Responses

February 2, 2007

Starting today, I will post a pitch and my responses. I only have 5, so we’ll do this for the next 5 work days (taking the weekend off). As you read my comments, understand that they are about the quality of the pitch, not about the idea or the book itself. A negative response to […]

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Pitch Contest #1

February 2, 2007

Enjoy the madcap antics that go on at this mental heath center. Follow our hero, Teddy Lawson, as he battles with his boss and the bureaucracy all the while wondering if he isn’t on the wrong side of the locked door at the asylum. His inner conflict and frustration culminates in an interesting twist as […]

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