Monday, April 16, 2018

Pippa Roscoe & How To Pitch

Please welcome Pippa Roscoe to the blog today!
So you’ve got that five minute slot with an editor – perhaps you know of them, even better, you know the publisher! You’re nervous, you’re terrified that you’re going to waste an opportunity, you’re worried that you’re not wearing the right clothes, you won’t get to express how much you want this, or how great your book is… 
Yup. It’s so overwhelming that it’s quite likely you’ll walk away thinking – what just happened? What did I say? (or in my case – did I actually say that?!) It’s brain short-circuiting, emotionally draining, terrifying stuff! 
But it doesn’t have to be. So here are some handy tips on how to get the most out of your one-to-one with an editor:
  1. 1. Know what the publishing company you're pitching to is looking for. This sounds like the most simple and obvious thing in the world, but it’s not. At a conference or book fair, there are a lot of publishers out there, all printing vastly different genres. It may be that you don’t necessarily have control over who you get to pitch to, but once you have their name, look them up. You don’t have to be BFFs with them, but you do have to know what they’re looking for. Because pitching a post apocalyptic sci-fi who dunnit romance to an indi digi only non-fiction publisher is going to be a little awkward. 
  2. Don’t panic if your one-to-one is with a publisher that doesn’t publish your genre. If you’ve got five minutes with them – they’re in the publishing industry and may be able to help answer any questions you might have about the industry rather than your specific genre. Can they offer advice on how best to write a covering letter? Do they know any editors looking for your genre? Do they have any do’s and don’ts about first submissions? They might not be able to help with your specific book, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help with the experience of writing and submitting. 
  3. Have a three – five sentence outline of your story ready. This is sometimes called an elevator pitch, a premise, a blurb… But you don’t want to waste the five minutes explaining the backstory of a secondary character who is vital to bringing your hero and heroine together on the last page of your book. 
  4. Know what your hero and heroine’s conflicts are in one sentence. This sounds deceptively easy, but it’s really hard and will require a bit of homework. There’s a whole host of information out there on the internet about conflicts, but this is the central tension of your romance… and one that the editor will want to know. It’s the beating heart of your story. And if they don’t ask? Then they’ll be even happier when you present it to them without them asking! 
  5. Know that this isn’t your one and only shot. It’s not the last chance saloon, this editor is not the last editor you’ll ever meet. It may feel like it, but it’s not. Writing is hard, and takes determination and takes many meetings with editors. So take a deep breath and think of it as an experience to be intrigued by, to be curious about, and see it as a huge achievement, because it is! 
  6. And lastly, editors are humans too. They may not feel like it, seem like it, or sometimes even sound like it, but they are. They understand that this is important to you, they also understand the nerves, so don’t worry and have fun with it.  

I hope this helps, and I wish you the very best of luck! 
Mills & Boon author Pippa Roscoe lives in Norfolk near her family and makes daily promises that this will be the
day she will leave the computer and take a long walk in the countryside. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t dreaming of gorgeous alpha males and misunderstood heroines. Totally her mother’s fault of course—she gave Pippa her first romance to read at the age of seven! She is inconceivably happy that she gets to share those daydreams with her readers.
Pippa Roscoe on the web:
Website          Facebook        Twitter 
Conquering His Virgin Queen
Six months ago, their marriage ended…

He has twelve hours to claim her back!

Odir Farouk is about to become king—but to take his throne, he needs his errant wife by his side! Odir denied his hunger for Eloise, refusing to compromise power for passion. His rejection drove her away. Now Odir has until news of his succession breaks to win back his queen…and pleasure will be his most powerful weapon!

Read Reader Reviews

Buy on:

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Thanks Pippa!
Pitching in person sounds terrifying to me! But these tips are perfect for helping me out if I'm ever lucky enough to get to a conference!

How about you? Any tips to add? Have you ever had the chance to pitch your story? How did you conquer your nerves?


  1. Sitting down with an editor is a plus no matter what - as you said, you can ask general questions. Might as well put that time to good use.
    Still glad I've never had to sit down in person though.

    1. It's never a waste, no matter which editor you get to meet. If you do Alex, I very much hope it goes well! Good luck!

  2. Great tips, especially about having a pitch ready. Even if you are nervous, which is common, it can be reassuring to know that you have your pitch ready. And so true that editors are just people like us.

    1. Thank you Natalie, and absolutely nerves are common whether you're an editor OR an author! Happy writing!

  3. Don't panic and remember editors are human is good advice. I'll be taking pitches at two conferences this year and hopefully no one has a meltdown while pitching to me.

    1. I hope that you get some great pitches! Best wishes.

  4. These are perfect suggestions. I'm terrible at the elevator pitch, and I probably will always panic, but at least I have that on my Do Not Do list. Thanks.

    1. The elevator pitch is SO hard. I'm not sure I've ever been able to achieve that one. Happy writing!

  5. Excellent list of advice about pitching! Thanks for sharing!

  6. A friend of mine signed up for a 5 minute session with an agent, but as soon as he mentioned his book was about a boy learning to deal with the death of his mother, the agent told him she already had a client with a book like that and indicated she wouldn't be taking on any more. The next four minutes were rather awkward for him ( and possibly the agent).

  7. These are great tips. I'm a nervous nilly when pitching. Rehearsing with my crit. partners really helps.