Yesterday was #PitMad. If you don't know what that is, you probably aren't reading this blog, but just to clarify, #PitMad is a day on Twitter when you get 140 characters (including the hashtag) to pitch your book. Agents and small presses stop by all day and favorite your pitch, meaning they request it.
It's a fun, stressful, joyful, nerve-wracking thing. But it has real results and several success stories under its belt.
Now, I love pitch days and Twitter contests, but I've got other irons in the fire so yesterday I was just an observer. And here's what I observed.
I saw very pitches that weren't pitches. A likes/loses B therefore must do C or doom/death/else. Yes. That's what your book is, but not why I should read it. A query uses that format above. A pitch is This is why my book is different! Read it! Or more accurately, tossing your words in the air and yelling, CATCH!
But aside from that, I saw a new trend, and it really alarmed me.
Example: The Alphabet meets The Number Ten plus Star Wars.. PB Sci-fi
No. No. No. No.
Again, comp titles are for the query. Not your pitch. I love the alphabet, the number ten and Star Wars but I don't wanna read your book based on that.
I already have all those things.
Which is what brings me to my point. - You don't want to be the next 'anybody'. You want to be you.
Sure, I get inspiration from all over the place. and I love a redux or an homage, probably more than most. But it doesn't go in your pitch and trying to be the next whatever shouldn't drive you to get to your career.
Yeah, But Ang - agents say they want the next J.K. Rowling. Well, of course they do. But they don't mean they want a story about a boy wizard written in her style, they mean they want something original that connects and the world goes crazy for it.
And sorry we already have a J.K. Rowling, the position in filled, you'll have to find another spot. Hey! You know what spot is open? The one for you and YOUR book.
So write your book, write your query, write your pitch and tell me why your book is different, not just what it's about. But to do that, you have to make it different. You have to make it you. Even when you draw inspiration from something, it still has to be your fresh originality that makes it work.
For example, I have two people in my universe - one is writing a Gatsby inspired novel and one is writing inspired by The O.C. I'm dying to read them both because the take is so fresh and I love both of the original materials.
But if someone hands me a book and says, "Look. I write like Fitzgerald and this book is like Gatsby." I'm not reading it. I already have and love Gatsby. Why do I need another? I don't. And neither does the bookstore or that agent you want.
So when you start doubting your uniqueness or if it's going to sell or if it fits or if that one agent you covet likes this sort of thing, just remember, you are telling YOUR story, not your story that's like someone else's.
The only next anything you want to be is you, the next fabulous big thing.
Happy writing! See you Monday!