I am friendly with quite a few graduates and especially the staff of Donald Mass' Writing the Breakout Novel Intensive workshops and Diane Holmes, one of the graduates from there, has started a new venture called Pitch University.
Here's what she had to say about it:
"There’s a brand new resource to teach you HOW to pitch your book, face-to-face,
to agents, editors, and even readers. It’s called Pitch University. And get
this… there’s NO CHARGE. Eureka.
WHAT IS PITCH UNIVERSITY?
It’s a place where literary agents and editors gather every week to …
* TEACH authors how to pitch,
* Provide expert FEEDBACK on video pitches submitted by fiction and non-fiction authors, and
* Meet potential CLIENTS.
In addition, we invite experts, across related disciplines, to share their
* sales and marketing,
* branding and platform,
* psychology and creativity, and
* the craft-of-writing skills needed to condense a book or novel into a sound
January, 2011- “30 Pitch Lessons, 30 Days”
Go there now and sign-up to be notified about topics and experts!
* PITCH U Weeks (with Agents and Editors) and
* EXPERT-IN-RESIDENCE Weeks
Each week you’ll interact with Literary Agents, Editors, and Experts, submit
pitches, ask questions, learn, learn, learn.
THE CHALLENGES OF PITCHING
Q: What’s the one question most likely to reduce even savvy authors to
stammering and their great ideas into incoherent ramblings?
A: “So tell me… what’s your book about?”
Feels like the punch line to a joke, doesn’t it?
Poor authors. We’re clueless about delivering a verbal pitch designed to sell,
and we’re way too close to our own books to sum them up in an interesting
way. Throw in the importance of meeting an agent or editor face-to-face (it’s
only our entire careers on the line!), and we’re a mess.
This scenario describes how NOT to pitch.
How should we pitch? Well, that’s what Pitch University is all about.
I’ve been writing fiction for 20+ years, founded two writers groups, co-owned a
small press, run contests, held offices, taught writing, and am
genuinely passionate about all aspects of the writing life. But… my background
is in marketing.
And over the years, I’ve noticed writers do not know how to pitch their books
(gulp) face-to-face. In fact, despite my own marketing background, I can’t do
it either. I’m just way, way too close to my own novels.
Now in Hollywood, there are writers who do focus on pitching. Specifically,
screenwriters. But book writers? Novelists? We’re a clueless lot.
With more and more conferences and PitchFests aimed at book-length projects,
both non-fiction and fiction writers must develop this skill. Unfortunately,
our solution is to keep turning to other writers to learn how.
This seems backwards to me. Pitching is a sales skill. Why would you ask your
writing friends who can’t do it, either? Why not learn from the folks who make
their living pitching?
But more than that, hearing and reading about pitching is not the same as doing
it. AND THERE’S NOTHING HARDER THAN PITCHING YOUR OWN BOOK.
This simple realization became the foundation for Pitch University, where
writers learn and actually submit simple YouTube videos of their pitches in
order to receive feedback from the experts. These videos can easily be made
with your built in laptop camera.
The benefits are huge for both sides. Better, more accurate pitches. Easier
decisions. Less time wasted. New clients.
Please become part of this unique experience. (And please, share this email
with other writers.)
See you there."