Sunday, September 5, 2010


When I was in college I sat behind a girl in a linguistics class who told me (for no apparent reason) that she was working on her "novel." This made me feel completely inadequate adding to an already rising stockpile of college-age inadequacies. A novel? Seriously?

I don't know if she ever wrote that novel. Maybe she did. Maybe she's written tons of novels since then. But she had something - at least at that time - I didn't. Conviction. And she was letting anybody know within earshot that she was doing this thing.

I was supremely unfocused during my college years. I was a writing major without an eye toward the future. Without a clue, I slogged through my classes and certainly didn't attach the title "novelist" to my name, let alone "writer" of any kind.

All these years later, buried under my official work title that bears the word "communications," is, indeed, that of "writer." A major part of my day is spent writing, whether writing for client web sites, newsletters, promotional materials, and numerous social media feeds (both on the client side and personal). I've also written magazine articles, technical articles, newspaper features and freelance film articles. I write this blog.

But I haven't written a novel. Or a full length book. So I decided it was time to make a pitch for a book that was not related directly to my job. I decided to pitch a film-based book to a publishing company called Pocket Essentials.

Why Pocket Essentials? Because they are open to ideas and their product is based on the writer's passion that's connected directly to the reader's passion. Whatever those passions may be.

Pocket Essentials submission guidelines include initially pitching your idea. And your idea should be based on marketing potential, audience potential, topic relevance, and "buy-ability."

They want your idea submitted as a proposal first. If they like your idea/proposal, they'll ask for a breakdown, which is basically how your book will layout chapter-wise.

I suppose this isn't any different from any other publishing house but Pocket Essentials seems particularly open to writers wanting and ready to leap to that "book" level.

I'm not going to give away my pitch here (at least not yet) but I went through the process like this:

  • I jotted pitch notes down on a piece of paper using the "clustering" method where I took one word and used that as an idea springboard.
  • I wrote my opening pitch line with the possible title of my book and defined it clearly.
  • I wrote a second paragraph stating the book's purpose, touching on possible chapter breakdown.
  • I focused on current relevance and "market-ability."
  • I closed with references to my background.
  • I cut anything that seemed extraneous and made sure the pitch was around 300 tightly constructed words.
  • With the pitch, I included previously published work. 

I followed Pocket Essentials' directions closely, which you should do when submitting ideas to any publishing house or company you'd like to do business with. Directions are there for a reason and they provide an ideal road map.

I bundled everything together and sent the pitch via e-mail, the Pocket Essentials preferred method of delivery.

The proposal is in Pocket Essentials' hands now. And, at this point, I've done just about all I can do.

Well...I guess there is one other thing I can do. And that's keep my fingers crossed.

1 comment:

  1. One more thing you can do for yourself and your readers -- keep writing!