Thursday, September 09, 2010

SCBWI Agent's Party

I have been a SCBWI member since 2002. I know this for a fact because I looked up my membership the other day when I was appointed SCBWI Network Co-ordinator for the London area. This is a long, long time to have a dream of being a best-selling children’s novel writer. Yes, I have 24 books published and more on the way. And YES I have my own column. But, I have NOT achieved my dream.

So, I have decided today is the day I ought to do something about following this dream. After all, aren’t I the one who always says, “You can do, whatever you put your mind to.”

Haven’t I told you the story of when I passed my Bronze Medallion, four months after giving birth to my first child? Well, it is probably about time I followed my own advice and what better way to start than attending the SCBWI Agent’s Party this evening.

The Agent’s Party is an excellent opportunity to learn inside information about the current publishing scene. What’s hot and what’s not! It gives us the chance to meet agents face to face and pitch our novels.

Which means, it is time for me to stop faffing around, worrying about my hair and stuff, and get on with it. I have topped up my business cards and now I'm frantically trying to think of a one-line pitch. I have a couple of hours before I have to get on the train.

OK! YES! I have had days… weeks… months… over a year… since 2002… to try and think of a one-line pitch to hook an Agent.

“Why have I left it till the last minute?” I hear you ask.

I have no excuse. I have attended the SCBWI Professional Series for many years and the message that comes across loud and clear is that a writer should always be ready to give a one line pitch. As Liz de Jager said in her email just the other day,
"You never know if you will be able to fire up the interest of an agent or editor in your work and you might be invited to send examples of your work along later."
But, where do I start? Well, Nathan Bransford in his blog says:
“The important thing to remember is that a good pitch is a description of what actually happens. It's a one sentence description of the plot, not the theme.”
My understanding of this is the plot should include the main conflict that the characters are going to face. Hmmm! I best get my synopsis out and see what I wrote.

Another thing we are always being told, is to consider the USP (Unique Selling Point) of our novels. This information has made my mind go blank. I can’t think of one single USP for any of the children’s novels I have written. Not ONE!

Nathan also says, the one sentence pitch should have:

“A dash of flavor: anything you can do to flesh out your pitch with some key details that give a sense of the character of your novel (funny, scary, intense, tragic, etc.)”
All right, all I got to do now is summarise the plot of my book in one line, include the USP and make it funny, by 7pm tonight. How hard can it be?

Errr! What’s my book about again?


Alice L said...

Thank you for this Anita. I have been searching the web for ages to find out about pitching to agents and editors and you have done a marvellous job of summing it up here. I am going to add you to my favourites.

Anita Marion Loughrey said...

I am pleased you found it useful Alice. Thank you for adding me to your favourites. I look forward to reading more of your comments. :)