Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the 2009 swine flu outbreak is officially a pandemic. According to WHO’s director-general, “The virus is now unstoppable.”
As a writer of medical thrillers, I’m slightly deranged and my reaction was, great news! The book I will pitch at AgentFest features a weaponized influenza virus. The first real-life flu pandemic since 1968 creates billions of interested readers, right? What could be a better sales pitch than that?
Then I read this marvelous article on pitching in person by Shirley Kennett, the 2009 ThrillerFest chair: http://www.thrillerwriters.org/thrillerfest/Pitching%20in%20Person.pdf Unfortunately, nowhere in the article does she say, “Simply mention a recent headline and agent will be convinced that anyone who follows the news will want to buy your book. Your job is done!”
I have some work to do before July.
To make the most of the opportunities ThrillerFest will give me, an unpublished author, I need a pitch that is as unstoppable as swine flu. A successful pitch “goes viral.” People who hear it remember it and are compelled to repeat it.
Using Kennett’s article and the CraftFest sessions on Wednesday, I hope to write and memorize such a pitch. And not only that crucial one-line hook. Once I’ve grabbed an agent’s attention and he or she asks me for more, I need a compelling book-flap type of summary to flow smoothly off my tongue. The main advantage of a face-to-face pitch is the chance to present myself as a professional. That’s why I’ll be practicing in front of a mirror for the next several weeks.
See you at ThrillerFest, dear readers, where I hope to infect you with my contagious pitch. By the way, enjoy the crowds of New York now; the flu is on vacation in Australia.
Dr. Amy Rogers, author of The Han Agent
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