You’ve spent months or even years pouring your heart into your work, and you finally have a finished manuscript. Now comes the hard part – getting your book published. You’ll need to learn how to write a book pitch to help you market your book.
In addition, this will get it in front of publishers, agents, or readers. With a pitch for your book, you drill down into the biggest selling points of your story in the hopes that it will pique someone’s interest.
Not sure where to start? Keep reading to find out more about why you should do this, our tips, and some book pitch examples to help you master yours!
What is a book pitch?
A book pitch is a short, concise summary of your book. It provides a glimpse into its plot, tone, and unique selling point.
It's typically sent along with your book proposal. And while it's short, it can be incredibly impactful when it comes to getting a book deal and selling your book!
Pitching a book is an essential part of the publishing process. In essence, it's your chance to convince agents or publishers that your book is worth their attention.
A way of marketing your book
Another way to think of a pitch for a book is like an elevator or sales pitch. In other words, it’s one way to market your book quickly to potential publishers or even readers.
The idea is that you tell the core concept of your book in the time it takes to be on an elevator – roughly 20 to 30 seconds.
Why you need a pitch for your book
There are many reasons why you would write a pitch for your book.
In some cases, you might want to write this before you even start writing. This is especially true of nonfiction books.
You’ll likely need to create a book proposal and get it accepted by a publisher before you start to write. And a proposal will include some of the elements of a pitch for a book.
Other reasons to write a pitch include:
Helps you get an agent
If you don’t have a literary agent but are looking for one, having a pitch for your novel could help you stand out in the crowd.
An agent can quickly get an idea of what your novel is about. They'll also know if they are a good fit to represent you.
Send it to publishers
Many people send manuscripts to publishers every year, either directly by authors or by agents. Reading a full-length manuscript takes time and they might not have the bandwidth to read more than a few pages.
Having a pitch for your book gives publishers a short synopsis of what your book is about, so they have an idea before they even start reading.
Expand into a synopsis
A pitch for a book can also be used to expand further into a synopsis, which tells the whole story in just a few paragraphs or pages. It can also be included in a publisher cover letter. Or you can use it during a manuscript assessment.
Tips for writing a book pitch
Pitching a book is a great marketing tool for your manuscript, whether it’s a novel, nonfiction, or even a poetry book. Before you start writing, think about who you are pitching the book to and what information they might want.
A publisher, for example, might want to know if you won a book award or had another book or short story published.
You should also think about what makes your book unique and different from other similar books on the market. Think about why the reader should read your book instead of another one. Try to convey that in your writing.
Ready to start writing? Here are some suggestions on how to write a book pitch.
Define your book
What is your book about? Go back to the basic plot elements of your story and try to summarize it in just one or two sentences. You might want to start with the main conflict of the story. In other words, what is the story?
If you’re writing a nonfiction book, then convey what the main point is that you want your readers to walk away with. What will your readers learn? Sum up the main takeaway in one sentence.
Give background information
You should let the reader know more about the book. Which can include the genre, the main character, or also where it’s based. Only include the most essential information.
You don’t even need to give the character’s name or even include any side characters. You just want to tease the reader enough to make it interesting.
For nonfiction, you can consider the context of the issue you are trying to help solve. Is there a current event or social issue or problem that you are trying to help your readers with? Tell readers where your book fits and include any information on the genre or audience you are trying to reach.
Convey your selling point
Why should your reader care about the story? This is the key selling point. You want readers to get a sense of what they will learn or feel after reading your book.
If you’re writing fiction, you might use verbs to convey the type of themes throughout the book. Nonfiction writers should say what the main takeaway is from the book. Make sure to use lots of adjectives.
But remember, you want to give a hint of what the story is without giving away too much.
Make it short
One of the key aspects of how to write a book pitch is to keep it short. Potential readers or publishers don’t have time to read a whole page of text. Ideally, your pitch should be one paragraph, two at most.
Remember, it's like a sales pitch. It should be concise and get the point across in under 30 seconds.
Highlight "why you"
Depending on how long you want your pitch to be, you can also add any relevant information about why you are the best person to have written the book.
You can include any awards or credentials. Or if the book is based on a personal life experience, mention that.
You want to let potential publishers or agents know why you should be the author and not someone else.
Book pitch examples
One of the ideal ways to learn how to write a book pitch is to see it in action. Here are some book pitch examples to help you learn how to craft your own:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
A classic fairytale and Disney movie is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Here is an example of a short pitch that gives us the selling point, background, and essential information without actually giving anything away. And it comes in at only 27 words.
A princess hides in the woods to escape her murderous stepmother. This is a coming-of-age story about forming unexpected friendships and believing that good will overcome evil.
In this example, we immediately tell the reader who the book is about — the princess. We introduce the conflict or selling point, that she has a murderous stepmother. Then we give more background about the themes of the story, letting the reader know what the overall arch of the story is about.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Let’s look at another example, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams:
An Englishman survives the end of planet Earth by hitching a ride on an alien spaceship. While undertaking interstellar travel, he discovers the secret of life and the importance of towels.
This novel is witty and very long. We give the very first premise of the story and the main event that sparks the rest of the journey. Then we add a hint of what is to come, without giving away any spoilers.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Written by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a tale that was made into a movie and has multiple sequels.
Four children are sent to live in the countryside during World War 2 in England. By walking through a magical wardrobe, they discover a new land with talking animals, ruled by an evil queen. Together, they work to defeat her with the help of a lion and other brave new friends.
In this example, we introduce the main characters and the event that has caused them to be transported to this magical land. We introduce a bit of conflict or the selling point that there is an evil to fight. Then we add a bit more background about the other characters they meet.
Related articles on getting published
Did you enjoy this article? To learn more about book publishing check out these related articles.
- Writing A Book Proposal: A Great Book Proposal Template To Use
- How To Write A Publisher Cover Letter
- 8 Types Of Book Publishers To Avoid!
Write a book pitch that sells!
Writing a pitch for a book can be a challenging and intimidating task for many authors, but it's also an essential part of the publishing process. Learning how to write a book pitch can be the difference between getting your book published and having it remain hidden away on your computer.
Remember, pitching a book is all about capturing the essence of your book and presenting it in a way that will make agents and publishers excited to read it.
It takes time and effort to craft a pitch that stands out from the crowd, but with the right approach and also a bit of practice, you can create a pitch that will help you achieve your publishing goals.
So, whether you're a first-time author or a seasoned writer, take the time to write a compelling pitch for your book by using our tips above. It might be the key to unlocking your book's full potential and getting it into the hands of readers around the world!