Crafting an Attention-Grabbing Book Pitch with Kanchana Banerjee
- June 16, 2022
Even before a writer reaches the masses, he must make space among the publishers.
When they have been successful in grabbing the attention of the publishers, the book is halfway to its destination and a pitch is a key to unlocking the doors of the publishing world. A book pitch is similar to a blurb. Blurb helps in making way to the reader’s mind while a pitch is the author’s selling point. Reading the title might make you think that it is a dismaying task. But do not worry, you could become a jack of this trade with Kanchana Banerjee. She has brought some amazing tips for aspiring writers as well as authors who are stuck in the middle and cannot find an end. Recently we had a session with some of our community members and got the chance to hear some great insights from her.
Kanchana Banerjee completed her education in English at Jadavpur University. During her student days, she worked as Sub-editor at The Statesman. After completing her studies she went on to work with The Times of India as an editorial coordinator. She has also worked as a channel coordinator and Freelance content writer for the RPG website and Unilever Sri Lanka respectively. While at college she founded an organization Writeword where she worked with some of the big shots of the journalism industry. She found herself inclined toward writing novels and released her first book A Forgotten Affair in association with Harper Collins in 2016. Till now Kanchana Banerjee has written 3 books – A Forgotten Affair, Nobody’s Child, and Eye on You. While her fourth Novel Until I Find You is scheduled for a 2023 release. She also conducts a chat series Telltale with Kanchana on Instagram with various authors and distinct celebrities.
The session gave the attendees insights into various aspects of a book pitch.
Everything you need to know about a ‘Book Pitch’
According to Kanchana, drafting the first manuscript in a cocoon is serene. Writers can pen their most beautiful thoughts and stories in seclusion while editing the draft is also undemanding. It is easier in comparison to the troubles of getting your book published. To put it in her words, “Writing a pitch is more difficult than writing an entire book as you have to an ocean of words into an aquarium.” Even if you were able to bring out a few books in the past, it will not be easy. Every script you produce will require you to cleverly design a paragraph that makes publishers curious. Being among those few authors who could captivate the attention is just like cracking the exam for top-tier colleges in the country, quality is very important. Publishing houses see the uniqueness of the draft you made and if your idea is impressive. You may have written a fantastic rather appealing book, but if the pitch is not minded-blowing as well as dissimilar they will discard it and move ahead.
Before penning the 500-word passage you must ask a question to yourself – What is the book about?
You need to think to make a list of words, phrases, sentences, or themes describing the plot, irrespective of the category. From the catalog decide which among them completely explains the gist or crux of the story. This one sentence will be the binoculars for your book and they will be able to zoom into the story. It is not only helpful for them but you as well. It gives a sharp plus better insight into your own story. The main reason for the activity, as she tells us is that we would be able to make some hypothetical simulations of the situations and the characters which will enable us to make the plot even better thus improving the novel.
Things to remember while you pitch a book
Kanchana Banerjee tells that when she approached international publishers she found out that they ask you to compare the novel with famous ones in the market. You need to note 2 things here. First, compare with works of some acclaimed novelists. Secondly, you cannot weigh books from a different genre. It should be the same and the references must be right because otherwise, it may go against you.
Kanchana suggests strictly adhering to the word limit. Even if there is no limit specified you must not exceed 500 words while writing your book pitch. It should be short, crisp, and concise. Do not waste time and words. Economize on words and most importantly do not meander.
The pitch has a fixed format and it should be followed. You can start with the line that best describes your novel’s plot. Then you compare your draft with the other books and after this, you can directly jump to the synopsis of the manuscript. Your introduction can come at the end of the mail or message.
You need to know that a pitch is not like writing an entire story in short. As a novelist, you need to mention the most intriguing and interesting parts of the story. But it is not necessary to introduce all the characters. It is more like the back blurb you read before buying the book. It must excite the readers (here publishers) to read the synopsis. The message you write must start with the pitch and next comes is a brief synopsis of around 1000 words. This is followed by the first 3 chapters and then a brief about yourself. You should always read the instructions released by publishing houses or literary agents. She even mentioned not sending more than what has been asked in the guidelines.
The whole session was extremely interactive. The viewers were glued to Kanchana’s words till the end and she also cleared the doubts of our audience. Through this insightful and informative workshop the spectators got to know about the most important checkpoints in the journey of a book.
This knowledge will not only support writers but this knowledge will also help aspiring authors. The discussion again proves that a conversation with an artist will always be interesting.
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