Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Conference Essentials

The countdown to the Writing For The Soul conference has begun in earnest.  In five short weeks I will be in chilly Denver, CO- butterflies in my tummy and adreneline in my veins.  I am so not prepared.  But I will be.  I'm trusting the Lord to put His words in my mouth at the appointed time, and to go before me to every appointment and every class. 

Today I started work on my pitch sheet or one-sheet, a flyer encapsulating the essence of my book and my author bio, which I'll be leaving with the agents and editors I meet with. This is the fun stuff if you ask me!  The hard part is combing over my elevator pitch, my synopsis, my query letter, my sales handle, my promo sentence, my marketing strategy, my comparable books... you get the picture.

But since I have to get moving on these things-- like, NOW-- I decided to include you.  And so begins a series of posts about each of these important items, what they are, and how I bumble along through them.

So let's start with that one-sheet I mentioned. You can do one-sheets focused on yourself as an author, or on the specific manuscript you are pitching.  I'm assuming the latter for this discussion.

What should be included?  
  • Book Title (obviously)
  • Short synopsis (word count might vary but I like query letter length.)
  • Your contact info: email, web address, mailing address, phone number(s)
  • Professional headshot of yourself (if you have one)
  • Author Bio
  • An image or two if appropriate, to add interest and color 
Some comments on the above:

Synopsis: Remember, regardless of the POV your book is written in, the synopsis should be in third person present tense. E.g: "After his wife and daughter are killed in a fire, John abandons his faith in the God who betrayed him."

Author photo and bio: I don't recommend putting a snapshot from your recent trip to Disneyworld on your one-sheet.  If you don't have a professional-looking photo, leave it out. Your bio should be written in third person and include relevant info with brief touches of personality. In other words, mentioning you love horses is fine.  Naming all the animals living under your roof and their favorite toys and food is not. Focus on writing credits or anything that gives you credence as an author.

Making it look good: What about making it stand out with bright-colored text or neon-green paper?  Nuh-uh, that's a no-no.  Do that and you'll look like a noob.  Stick with white paper and black text for the body of your information and eye candy with an image or two and/or with splashes of background color.  Save colored fonts for headlines and other bits that are not the main body text.

Creating your pitch sheet can be a fun experience and energize you with the enthusiasm you'll want to bring with you to your appointments.  If you're like me, nerves can sometimes steal that enthusiasm, so arming yourself with a shiny new one-sheet is just the thing.  For more information on creating these marketing tools, visit these links:

Have you made a one-sheet?  How did it go over, what can you share?
Keep an eye out for my next post regarding conference essentials.

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