Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Does your work stand out?

Image by Saritza Hernandez
Have you watched Pitch Perfect 2? We ended up seeing it twice this past weekend and while I love the songs and found myself singing along (especially in that scene with Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine) the scenes that struck a chord with me the most were with Keegan-Michael Key who plays Becca's b
oss, an award-winning music producer.

The first time we see his character on screen he's calling a staff meeting and asks everyone to give ideas. To just shout out anything that comes to mind and no one says or thinks of anything productive to say. As he walks away, he tells them they have one minute to wow him.

"My time is like a toddler in a tiara, people: short and precious." – Keegan Michael Key

I thought about how many times I think the same thing when going through pitch appointments or going through the query inbox. Your query needs to grab my attention quickly and hook me.

In one of my workshops: "It's All in the Hook" I talk about how important it is to perfect your elevator pitch. When you're at a conference or workshop, you have a few minutes to grab an agent's attention. Before your butt hits the seat, you need to be pitching your book to me.

Image from
But your book has to stand out too. What sets your work apart? Why should I pick your book over the hundreds of other books that come through our virtual doors daily?

If you've followed #tenqueries you'll see many of the queries passed on are those whose premise is similar or identical to the countless others received by the agent. What sets your post-apocalyptic young adult thriller apart from the many we'll receive thanks to Mad Max: Fury Road?

"You're an intern. They're all interns. You're talented. They're all talented. So what makes you special, you know?" – Keegan Michael Key
How does your work stand out?