Caroline Hogg has worked in publishing for almost ten years, at Little, Brown Book Group and more recently at Avon, HarperCollins. She's currently at Pan Macmillan as Senior Commissioning Editor for Commercial Women's Fiction. She knows her stuff!
Today's question comes from a Novelicious reader who asks:
What is your ideal pitch?
Caroline says: It’s always an exciting moment when you get a very very good elevator pitch: two lines or so that will sum up the book, tell you what genre it sits in and next to which other authors, put across the USP and leave you itching to read the whole thing. The right elevator pitch can mean than an editor will shuffle a manuscript up to the top of their reading pile/mountain and that pitch will also help them do part of their job: in a flash, they can see where this book would sit in the market, how they would package it, what makes it so unique and a must-have. It’s like starting to make a cake and realising someone has already measured the ingredients out for you.
Agents are very skilled at honing pitches to editors but authors should also make sure they have their elevator pitches worked up to secure an agent. The old adage ‘Time is money’ is pretty cheesy but still true, though in publishing I’d add ‘Memory space is also money’: if you can pitch to an agent or editor in a way they just can’t forget, you are onto a very good thing. Our minds and inboxes are always pretty full, so only something exceptional will stand out. As the author, you know your book better than anyone – so that perfect first pitch is down to you…