For my own sake, and the sake of my readers, I apply a certain amount of formatting to the pitches that get submitted. This isn't always how they come in, however. Any time you submit a pitch to an agent or editor, it is imperative that you apply proper spacing to your paragraphs so as to avoid the resulting big block of text if you do not.
Here is today's offering:
Dear Literary Agent,
Ira's job would be much easier if it weren't for freewill.
Ira is a Junior Angel and newest to the Watch House. Usually, Watchers are assigned to three Wights, but Ira must keep constant watch only over Shannon. Better yet, Adaia came along a few years back to help out. Piece of cake, right?
Seems so, but the Fallen suddenly take interest in Shannon; Dameon and Agiel are most annoying. The Demons taunt and tempt her, and Ira is left powerless because of freewill.
Since her mother died when she was ten, Shannon has felt out of place, and moving on to the most populated high school in Washington State doesn't make it any easier.
When Shannon's friends talk her into going to a party, she doesn't realize that it involves more than music and laughter. Alcohol and drugs are introduced; she crumbles under peer pressure and her crush's boyish grin.
Ira and Adaia are left with the daunting task of getting Shannon on the right path. Shannon has no idea what's at stake. Furthermore, she cannot see or hear the Watchers who protect her, and Ira can only defeat the Demons that stalk Shannon if she resists the temptations they are eagerly supplying.
Can Ira live up to the expectations set before it and save the girl? And just what is it that makes Shannon Walker so important?
Narrated by the young Watcher Ira, SODALITY is a fast-paced, 72,000 word, young adult novel. Young readers will discover a rebellious teenage girl that becomes a strong female protagonist in this heart stopping coming-of-age novel to escape to in their imaginations.
I graduated from
I believe that the book is in pretty good shape, and I would love to show you it. Please stay in touch and in the meantime thank you so much for reading my letter.
The first thing I notice with this pitch is -- you guessed it -- the formatting. This pitch came to me pretty much as a big block of text. It was hard to read, and so I formatted it a little better for your sake.
There are a lot of paragraphs in this pitch. Eight paragraphs for the plot, and two for credentials and biography. I would highly recommend streamlining this into fewer paragraphs, which will likely mean condensing the number of words. That alone isn't a bad idea either; 326 words is a bit long for a pitch. I tend to steer people toward no more than 250 words for a good pitch.
As far as substance goes, the author has a lot of details in this pitch, but I think it might be a bit too cluttered. I'm not really sure who this story is supposed to be about until the very end, where it tells me that Ira is the narrator. But even then, there are two major points of view here and I think this pitch only needs one.
In the second-to-last plot paragraph there are two prompts for the reader to consider. I think this should be reduced to only one, and stick to a single point of view here. Use the prompt to really highlight the tension and stakes that you show us with the rest of the pitch.
"Fast-paced", "heart stopping": This is self-review and should not appear in your pitch. Agents and editors already know you love your work, you don't need to tell them.
My last points are in regard to the credentials and bio listed at the end. I highly recommend that you do not tell an agent or editor that it is your first novel unless they ask you directly. Let your work speak for itself. If you tell them in your pitch that it's your first book, it could affect the way they look at your work. The very last paragraph should be cut completely. It's too uncertain and wishy-washy. You want your pitch to be definite and confident.
What do you think this author could cut to streamline this pitch and make it grab the reader?
Which point of view do you think is best to use for this particular pitch?
How do you feel about self-review in a pitch?
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