Candy: What's the Pitch?One of the things I'd like to do with the blog is describe the process of writing, getting published and marketing my latest novel, Candy from Strangers.
To give you a sense for what it's about, I thought I'd share the "pitch" I developed for my agent to use when she was trying to place the book:
Caroline Stockwell has a secret: she and her best friend Monica are "cam girls." Soliciting cash donations and gifts via Amazon.com "wish lists" from anonymous admirers, the young women have put up a web site featuring still photographs, video and web diaries (aka blogs) to help pay their way through art college. But when Caroline goes missing and her mother Ellen engages jazz bass-playing PI August Riordan to find her, Riordan discovers her secret and it appears to everyone that someone she met through the web site is responsible for her disappearance.
However, in interviewing the friends and authority figures in Caroline’s life, Riordan learns that if Caroline was kidnapped, there are also plenty of potential suspects among the men in whom Caroline placed the most trust. This includes her psychologist, her school advisor and her guru, all of whom logged onto her web site anonymously, making creepy, fetish-like requests of her (“Paint your toenails carmine for me!”) and sent her suggestive gifts.
The murder of Monica—who is found naked, posed on the set of her web studio—and the subsequent defacement of the girls’ web site with pictures of the death scene only heightens the stakes. In the end, it is a surprising ploy from Riordan’s sometime partner Chris Duckworth that succeeds in smoking the killer out, but with the result that Riordan must fight for his own and Chris’ life in an all-out battle.
I'll talk more about synopsis, pitches and log lines later on, but almost everyone can agree that: a) they are very hard to write, and b) they are vitally important to selling your book.
I would also add that, once written, the language from them tends to get reused all over (probably because it's so hard to create in the first place). As a for instance, check this posting of foreign rights availability on a German agent's site (about the fifth entry down):