What???s your Best Pitch/Worst Pitch?

I’m going to be running a workshop at Aye Write about pitching.

To prepare, I’d love a few examples of your best or worst pitches – either what you wrote in your letter of enquiry to agents/publishers, or the “Elevator Pitch” you did in front of them.

To get you going, this is my best:

Will Marion has two perfect kidneys. His daughters aren’t so lucky. Question is: which one should he save? Will’s 47. His wife bailed out when the twins were in nappies and hasn’t been seen since. He coped OK by himself at first, giving Georgie and Kay all the love he could, working in a boring admin job to support them. Just after the twins turn sixteen, Georgie suffers kidney failure and is placed on dialysis. Her type is rare, and Will immediately offers to donate an organ. Without a transplant, she would probably never see adulthood. So far so good. But then Kay gets sick. She’s also sixteen. Just as precious. Her kidney type just as rare. Time is critical, and he has to make a decision. Should be buy a kidney – be an organ tourist? Should he save one child? If so, which one? Should be sacrifice himself? Or is there a fourth solution – one so terrible it has never even crossed his mind?

This is what I pitched to Faber – and it ended up as the blurb on the back of the The Donor. It’s my best one, but to be honest, I still think it’s too long. Am hoping one day I will come up with something like this:

In space, no-one can hear you scream

(Okay, tag-line rather than pitch, but I’d have bought the screenplay based on that alone).

And this is my worst:

Dead Lovely is about two women who were abused by the same man. It is funny and gripping. I believe I have created a new genre – chick-tartan-noir-mis-lit.

(So maybe I didn’t say exactly this in my first bunch letter to agents, but it wasn’t much better. A leading literary agency rejected me ten minutes after receiving the email. I rewrote it!)





~ by helenfitzgerald on October 24, 2011.

5 Responses to “What???s your Best Pitch/Worst Pitch?”

  1. My submission for Liverpool 5 was quite simple…"Hi, I have five stories all about death and dying. Would you be interested in them?"Thankfully they said yes.


  2. Some of my worst have been at social gatherings – pitching to producers/directors while a bit tipsy. Never know when to stop. I think you should stop at the end of act one. A good premise is enough. Like The Slap pitch.


  3. The last two of your pitches have been good though. The way The Donor was pitched to me was ‘It’s like Sophie’s Choice, with kidneys’ and for your Snubnose release next year… ‘Carrie, with cloning’. That is a masterpiece.


  4. Sophie’s Choice with Kidneys! That is the winning pitch – credit for that goes to Al Guthrie. Something meets Something is always a good way to go.


  5. I’m going for Twilight meets Harry Potter with my next one then šŸ™‚


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