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Pitch Sentence Cheat Sheet (4 Elements & 7 Benefits)

ball and mittFew things cast fear in a writer’s heart as completely as the prospect of drafting and regurgitating on command the dreaded pitch sentence. And yet, approached with the right mindset and crafted before you write one word of your project, your pitch sentence can help more than it hurts. Honest. Honing your project by creating a pitch sentence:

  1. forces you to clarify your thinking.
  2. helps you eliminate irrelevant content.
  3. prevents you from going down bunny trails.
  4. let’s you understand your audience’s perspective.
  5. shows you how best to slant your project.
  6. provides additional time to perfect your pitch
  7. allows adequate time to practice your pitch.

Four Elements

A pitch sentence should contain four basic elements that are a little different between nonfiction and fiction.

Nonfiction Elements

  1. Project name and genre
  2. Problem the book addresses
  3. Solution it poses
  4. Main benefit to readers

Fiction Elements

  1. Project name and genre
  2. Main character’s greatest desire
  3. Conflict preventing attainment of desire
  4. Take-away for readers

I’ve provided a couple of illustrations to help you see how to craft pitch sentences from these elements.

Examples:

Nonfiction:

  1. Project name and genre: How to Engage the Tuned-Out Child (self-help)
  2. Problem it addresses: Busy parents, financial limitations, distractions for child
  3. Solution it poses: Prayer, improved home management, better discipline
  4. Main benefit to readers: Harmony in the home

Pitch Sentence: How to Engage the Tuned-Out Child helps parents restore harmony in the home despite limited resources through effective home management, better discipline, and prayer.

Fiction:

  1. Project name and genre: Race Against Time (thriller)
  2. Main character’s greatest desire: The hero wants to clear his name by solving a murder before the real killer makes the woman he loves the next victim.
  3. Conflict preventing attainment of main character’s greatest desire: He doesn’t know the real killer’s identity.
  4. Take-away for readers: Reaffirmed faith in God’s deliverance

Pitch Sentence: In my thriller, Race Against Time, a murder suspect must find the real killer before the woman he loves becomes the next victim, but he learns that only God can deliver them both.

Hopefully my cheat sheet will help alleviate some pre-conference angst. Let me know if you have other suggestions for writing a winning pitch sentence.
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©2014 by Janalyn Voigt

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Written by Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt

© Janalyn Voigt
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I’m Janalyn Voigt, an author, speaker, and former social media mentor. DawnSinger and Wayfarer, the first two books in my epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, released with Pelican Book Group and will be followed by at least two more installments. I’m also working on a romantic suspense novel set in an Irish castle, but then historical fiction has a grip on me too. Being unabashedly multi-genre makes me into what some might term a reluctant rebel, but I prefer to think of myself as a storyteller.

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