In this post I’m going to outline why you need to write a bestselling memoir pitch even if you haven’t started the drafting process yet and you’re not ready to pitch your memoir.
AND – I have a new resource to help you succeed: 4 Steps to a Bestselling Memoir Pitch [these are my own memoir pitch writing shortcuts!].
I sold my second memoir from a pitch I wrote BEFORE I’d even written the manuscript, and the reason I did this was both to validate that the story was actually compelling – ie. i had a story that people would want to read, before I wrote it, AND to keep myself on track with the writing, because the hardest part of writing a book manuscript is knowing where to start!
Having a publisher, editor or agent respond to a pitch straight away feels incredible – you have real, tangible feedback that your story is compelling, because, well, the person you just pitched it to wants to know more!
But writing a clear and compelling pitch is an art, especially when it’s our own!
If you’ve struggled to sum up your memoir in a few short sentences and really hone in on what makes it COMPELLING and SELLABLE, you’re going to love my new freebie.
WHY WRITING A MEMOIR PITCH IS IMPORTANT WHETHER YOU’RE AT THE PITCH OR DRAFTING PROCESS
But first – writing a pitch is important whether you’ve written the manuscript or are at the very beginning, because it’s going to help you know where to put your focus! You don’t want to waste years or months writing about the most boring and uninteresting aspects of the story. So when you have a great pitch – one that you’ve said out loud to a few people and they shout TELL ME MORE! Or even better – What the heck? WOW, I HOPE YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK ABOUT THIS! – you know you’re on the right track to a sellable story!
When we sit down to write a book-length manuscript, it’s SO easy to get distracted by experiences and memories that may or may not be related to the central theme or premise and most importantly, the HOOK. The HOOK is the most important part of any pitch because it’s what compels a reader to want to know more. And with memoir, you need a strong hook to differentiate your story from thousands of others on the same central themes.
Maybe you’re getting ready to query or go to an event where you might meet someone in the literary world who needs to know about your story? It’s time to perfect your pitch!
When the story that became A Letter From Paris landed in my life, I was in the same situation as you and I just had no idea where that story began – it had so many different threads and I could have written it in so many different ways. But I really can’t stand chaos, so what I did was to write the pitch BEFORE i even wrote a few pages of the first draft.
I wrote the memoir pitch before I wrote the first draft for two reasons
- 1: So i could wrap my head around the actual STORY, not just my experiences, to make sense of it and know where to begin writing about it
- 2: So that I could say it out loud and check to see if yes, this was interesting and compelling to other people (and potentially publishers and agents) not just me!
I was experiencing a dilemma pretty common to memoir writers, and that’s having an experience – a really fascinating, or dramatic, or challenging one – and then separating yourself and looking at it objectively in order to write a clear and compelling pitch!
So the most important thing you can do FIRST, before you write the manuscript, or send off a wild and urgent pitch to a potential agent is to get SUPER clear on your pitch.
Writing a pitch for your memoir helps you to get clear on
A: The STORY you’re writing, not just the experiences
B: Which of the 4 BESTSELLING themes your memoir explores and
C: What will make this story sell!
There’s a few things that go into a pitch, which is a short, bold summary of the STORY of your memoir.
Your pitch will go into your query letter, which is an email (I know), and many memoir writers get this part of the publishing process mixed up.
If you’re working on a memoir, you’ve obviously had an experience like me that you want to commit to written form. It’s a universal experience with a deeply personal and unique angle and it’s too precious to let go. But starting the book is the HARDEST part, – aside from writing your pitch. After the struggle I went through to craft my pitch, i know how it feels when it’s your own story, so I’ve created a free guide for memoir writers:
This free PDF guide and bonus training is going to show you exactly how to…
- Write a compelling pitch so you can validate that you have a story that will sell!
- Have a compelling premise that helps you every time you sit down to work on your book so you don’t go off track!
- Avoid the most COMMON mistakes writers make with a memoir pitch
- Learn the 4 topics used in bestselling memoirs and how to set yours apart
- Find the most unique and compelling aspect to your story
- Become a better storyteller and get people to say YES, TELL ME MORE or SEND ME THE MANUSCRIPT!
Without an enticing ‘elevator pitch’, there’s no way anyone will want to read your book let alone will you be able to sell it to a publisher. So let’s get your pitch done FAST so you can start writing the book!
PITCHING A MEMOIR IS DIFFERENT TO PITCHING FICTION OR GENERAL NONFICTION
Now, this is NOT a guide that will work for fiction pitches or even general nonfiction pitches. Pitching a memoir is VERY different to pitching fiction or general nonfiction, and i dare say, trickier.
But with a captivating memoir pitch, you see people’s faces light up rather than glaze over when you summarise your story, and it’s also going to help you sell your story to a potential publisher!
The hardest part of your memoir is knowing where to start the story, so writing your pitch before your manuscript is actually going to help!
You’ll also have clarity on the elements of your story that will sell the book!
These are my 4 shortcuts for you to write a BESTSELLING memoir pitch and I used these to write the pitch that sold A Letter From Paris on query / proposal.
So here you go – download your guide here so you can start the story feeling clear and sure that you’re on the right track!