Debra – The Three Sentence Pitch

Many of our readers are going to be attending the RWA national conference in NY the end of June.  It’s probably time to bring back “Pitch Day” on the blog.

Get out your pitches.  Dust them off and whittle them down to three sentences.  Then post them here. I’ll read all of them and maybe even ask for something that sounds especially intriguing. So be sure to end with your email (spelled out of course to foil the bots trolling for email addresses).

Those of our readers who are proud to be just readers…read the pitches.  And tell us, “Hey, I’d like to read that book.”  Writers don’t often get the opportunity to hear feedback from uninterested third parties.  Why are you intrigued by a pitch?

In a rare opportunity for unpublished writers, I’ll give you a tip on one thing I’d like to see:  YA science fiction in a novella length.  We’ll be doing a SF anthology next year featuring NYT bestselling author Anne Bishop and urban fantasy author Anthony Francis.  We have a couple more spots.  If you’ve got a novella, now would be a great time to pitch it.

I’m going to ask our other editors to stop by.  Your pitching doesn’t have to be confined to fantasy or SF.  We publish a wide range of genres.  Here are some of our recent and upcoming titles.

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40 Responses to Debra – The Three Sentence Pitch

  1. lois greiman says:

    Can’t wait to read the entries.

  2. Heidi says:

    Hi,

    I’m guess I’m the first to put my toe into the pool.

    For Peach Devlin, home is where the RV stops — until it stops in Shane O’Connolly’s town. Her brief visit stretches out as she gets drawn into helping to save the dying town, negotiate with senior citizens gone wild, and foil a dog-napping. Those are minor challenges compared to accepting that a homebody and a travelin’ woman are meant for each other in Peaches and Dreams.

    Email: heidij embarqmail com

    • Deb Smith says:

      Hey!
      Deb D invited me to stop by and play in the pitch pool!
      I love this pitch. my only suggestion is find a way to orient the reader by mentioning the town and state.

      • Pat Van Wie says:

        Hey, Deb! When I read this pitch, I thought this sounded like your kind of book. Glad I was right. 🙂

      • Heidi says:

        Hi,

        Thanks for the comment/suggestion — here is the pitch tweaked to orient the reader:

        For Peach Devlin, home is where the RV stops — until it stops in Shane O’Connolly’s town. Her brief visit to Roseville, Ariz., stretches out as she gets drawn into helping to save the dying town, negotiate with senior citizens gone wild, and foil a dog-napping. Those are minor challenges compared to accepting that a homebody and a travelin’ woman are meant for each other in Peaches and Dreams.

        I also noticed the email addy didn’t show up correctly — let me try that again heidij at embarqmail dot com

  3. Michael Underwood says:

    Equal parts MISTBORN and WATCHMEN, my New Weird Superhero novel SHIELD & CROCUS tells the story of First Sentinel, who has fought for fifty years to free his city from infighting oligarchs. Driven by guilt over his failures, rage at the tyrant’s exploitations, and the love for his city, First Sentinel strikes a dangerous bargain with one of the oligarchs to free the people of Audec-Hal. To save the city, First Sentinel will need to drive a wedge between the oligarchs, save the city’s patron goddess, and finally forgive himself for his failures.

    munderwood at gmail dot com

    • Pat Van Wie says:

      Hey, Michael. This sounds like a good candidate for a graphic novel. Pat

      • Michael Underwood says:

        Pat,

        Thanks! I’d happily adapt it to a graphic novel, but haven’t found an artist to work with. I hope it can succeed in prose form and maybe be adapted to a graphic novel later.

    • Deb Smith says:

      This sounds like a great story but the pitch is too “dense.” Too many big words and complex concepts. I’d boil it down and jazz it up:

      A cabal of brutal tyrants rule Audec-Hal, and only the First Sentinel can free the city and its patron goddess. Tormented and driven, he risks everything in an alliance with a powerful insider (the sexy, female, deadly but alluring?) NAME. Written in the tradition of MISTBORN and WATCHMEN, SHIELD & CROCUS is a sizzling high fantasy novel of power, lust, greed and redemption.

    • debradixon says:

      Michael– I’m a big fan of Mistborn. Read the books long before he began finishing up the Jordan series. Deborah Smiths “jazz up” of your pitch is good. Obviously make the necessary corrections to accurately give the genre, etc.

      I’ll send you an email so that you can send a reading sample to me. Voice will be critical in this kind of book.

  4. Pat Van Wie says:

    Hi, Everyone.
    I’m BBB’s newest editorial addition. My focus is on mystery and suspense, and I particularly enjoy edgy books. I also love fantasy of all flavors. So I’m eager to see what you all come up with.

    Pat

  5. Helen Brenna says:

    Oh, what a fun idea, Deb!! Look forward to reading them.

  6. cindy gerard says:

    Come on people! This is a major opportunity to get your work before a TOP Publisher in Belle Bridge Books. What are you waiting for???

  7. Keri Ford says:

    I’m supposed to pitch this weekend. …. yeah. like 3 days. you’d think I’d be together…

    here we go:

    Four bored young girls on vacation meet on the beach and find a “gold coin” and pirate adventures. The years pass, but their connection to one another never does. Now all in their mid-twenties, Madalyn, Angela, Jules, and Amie need their band of mateys together more than ever to find their treasure–only this time they’re not looking for gold, but a little life and possibly some love.

  8. debradixon says:

    Keri– I tweaked it a bit. Then add a sentence to point the editor at the actual manuscript on offer. OR to let the editor know that all four stories will play out simultaneously in this book. Good job. Sounds cute. Sounds like this works with “Keri’s voice.”

    A beach, a gold coin and pirate adventures bind four young girls together for life. Now in their mid-twenties they need each other more than ever as their swashbuckling crew of best mates band together to find treasure again–only this time they’re not looking for gold, but a little life and possibly some love. In the first of four books, …

  9. Okay, this is actually only two sentences, but I can’t find a way to add another without it feeling tacked on, so, here it is in all its two sentence glory. LOL. For my dark romantic suspense:

    A captive CIA agent is resigned to die until a gutsy forensic anthropologist challenges him to redefine his broken existence when she is placed in the next cell. To save her he must dig deep to find what’s left of his humanity, but will it be enough to convince her he’s ready to live instead of just survive?

    cynthiajustlin at gmail dot com

    Thanks! 🙂

  10. Jacinta says:

    well here goes, one for the Aussies:

    Maggie is human, her soul mate is an angel and their son is death. But for Maggie the strangest part of her existence is that she has the ability to be reincarnated and actually remember her past lives. Now she must call on her past memories to save two souls which are destined to be taken from her as she steps the line between her world and the next.

  11. Jacinta says:

    whoops and my email jacintaanderson1 hotmail com

  12. Here’s one that might work for the anthology.

    The Keeper’s Ward

    Abandoned by her outcast mother, Abigail has always been caught between the ways of the Chosen and the scientific knowledge the Keeper has shared with her. Her world is turned upside down when an evil alien reveals the Keeper’s true nature and succeeds in turning her people against him. To stop the alien’s plot, Abigail must work side by side with Marco, a Coalition soldier who would never smile at her that way if he knew who she really was.

    njkholland at gmail dot com

  13. debradixon says:

    Nancy– Abandoned characters always grab the emotions (at least for me). Ground us a little bit more if you can. We don’t know what the Chosen are (one suspects a faith) and we aren’t sure how the Coalition fits into the picture or why the Coalition would be working to help the Keeper by foiling the alien’s plot. These aren’t big quibbles! Just some notes. When giving a pitch in person, editors can always stop you for a moment and ask questions, but it’s better if they don’t.

    For the anthology we’re looking a little more for space-to-planet.

  14. Hi! I just heard about this (thanks, Nancy!) and hope I’m not too late to get some feedback on my pitch for a YA Dark Fantasy:
    Something is stalking the snowbound city of Minneapolis during the worst winter in decades. Although authorities blame feral dogs or cougars for the vicious attacks, fourteen-year-old Haley Devereaux knows better, recognizing a creature she befriended years ago. She sets out through a deadly blizzard, risking her life on a desperate quest to save friends and foes alike.

  15. debradixon says:

    Laramie–

    I like this pitch. I’m grounded. I’m given a feel for the world. One of the great things about 3 sentence pitching is it reveals what is “missing.” I want to know WHY she set out. (i.e. She sets out in a deadly blizzard to…?? ) This sentence while good, could be less generic and a little more plot specific.

    But good job. I think this would open a discussion with an editor during a pitch session and I think it’s “say-able.” Not every pitch speaks well.

  16. Hi! I also just learned about Pitch Day and hope I’m not too late to ask for some feedback for my historical YA, The Underground Gift:

    Parkville, Missouri, 1861, one of the most notorious pro-slavery towns on the Kansas-Missouri border. It is here that sadistic Bushwacker turned slave catcher Benjamin Michaelson becomes fixated with destroying two teens who come under his control: Josepha, a slave acquired as payment for a gambling debt whom he despises for being beautiful—and mixed; the other, fiery Reeca Fitzgerald, the daughter of a New England abolitionist who refuses to marry him and whom he suspects is following in her father’s footsteps. When Reeca encourages Josepha to help conceal coded messages in quilts for those riding the Underground Railroad, both of their lives will be caught up in a rollercoaster of fear and revenge when Josepha attempts to solve a mystery only hinted at by her former mistress and her mammy.

    Thank you very much for providing this opportunity!

    Sincerely,

    Michelle

    mefayard(at)yahoo(dot)com

  17. Nick, almost fifteen, lost his mother and much-older brother ten years ago, and his alcoholic, abusive father treats him more like an indentured servant than a son. Just as the abuse starts to escalate, Nick finds old photos and a book while cleaning the garage and discovers he isn’t who he thinks he is, his name isn’t even his name, and mystery surrounds the loss of his mother and brother. When he also realizes someone is watching him, the riddle of who he is becomes deeper still.

    Thanks for doing this. We appreciate it!

  18. Ooops. Forgot to mention, my book is Family Matters and is a contemporary YA.

  19. I’ve always been drawn to books where the MC discovers he or she is someone different from who they thought and the mystery surrounding that knowledge could cost the protagonist his or her life. I’d like to continue reading Rosi Hollinbeck’s book, as her pitch leaves me wanting to know how will Nick handle these internal and external threats.

  20. Thanks, Michelle. Your premise looks fascinating. A mystery set in the 1860s sounds like something a lot of young people would like to read, and I would as well. Great concept!

  21. I hope I’m not too late with this. Here is my pitch for a mystery for MG audience: Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls.

    When Imogene’s mother’s pearls go missing, Sherlock Holmes is called in to solve the case. Ten-year-old Imogene, listening at the parlor door, decides to solve the case herself. Soon she is Sherlock’s assistant, sleuthing for clues.

    Email: elizabethvaradanatmsndotcom

  22. A clever twist upon a familiar theme is certain to delight MG readers, especially when you throw in Victorian England and Sherlock Holmes. Imogene sounds smart, lovable and memorable. I would want to read this, Elizabeth!

  23. I like the idea of mystery and secret codes layered into a historical novel about the Underground Railroad. As a former teacher, this sounds like the kind of book I would want available for students. Quite apart from the classroom appeal, it sounds like a good read.

  24. I also like (R. Hollinbrook’s pitch.) Who can resist a book that involves the MC simultaneously he has a secret past and that an unknown someone is watching him? I definitely would want to read this book to find out all the who, what, and why of it.

  25. Thanks, Elizabeth. I love your idea of bringing Sherlock Holmes into your middle-grade mystery. Kids that age should love having the MC become an assistant to the great man. Wonderful premise.

  26. I just found out about this! Maybe I’m too late, but here goes:

    Eva Westvale, a young corporate climber, is thrown into oncoming magical traffic when she attracts a cloaked stalker and begins to have strange visions of magic and times long ago. With the help of overly-confident shapeshifter Ambrose and sassy teen witch Elspeth, she discovers she’s a witch who’s lived countless lives. To escape her hunter and keep her soul, she must regain a millennia worth of memories and power.

    Email: alexiachamberlynn@gmail.com

  27. Hi, Alexia,

    Your pitch grabbed me so much, I wanted to see more of the good points first. What would you think about something like this? I can’t wait until this title hits the shelves, and I hope it’s soon!

    Michelle

    While recovering from injuries received in a suspicious traffic accident, Eva Westvale, a young corporate climber, begins to have strange visions of magic and times long ago. With the help of overly confident shapeshifter Ambrose and sassy teen witch Elspeth, she discovers she’s also a witch who has lived countless lives. To escape her cloaked hunter and keep her soul, she must regain a millennia worth of memories and power–in only a few days.

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