The Pitch aka Hook aka Elevator Pitch

I am publishing a novel. This is my current mantra and it’s working to keep me going. And to take myself seriously. And to take the novel seriously (despite being slightly apologetic for writing in the romance genre—which I should stop doing because I had a great time writing it). I’m still up in the air about the title, but The Tempting Ocean feels like the best fit so far.

I’ve read tons of information lately about query letters and pitches. Sometimes the hook refers to the pitch, and sometimes the hook refers to the logline, and neither should be confused with the hook that seduces the reader at the beginning of the novel. The pitch comes in a few flavours such as the elevator pitch and the standard pitch, and to add to the confusion the elevator pitch can include the hook and the pitch. Essentially, apart from a one-page synopsis, a writer needs a 2-4 sentence pitch that sells the book and a 25-words-or-less hook that draws in the reader. All promotional and marketing material builds from these elements, including the initial query letter to an agent or publisher.

I’ve worked over my three-sentence pitch to a point where I feel I can expose it to the brutal critique of others. I am posting what I’ve written here for just that purpose. Be brutal. Be honest. I have to get it right. The most important aspect: Does the pitch make you want to read the novel?

The Tempting Ocean tells the story of a reluctant heroine plucked from the self-imposed isolation of her apartment and thrown into a harrowing sailing adventure down the West African coast. She puts her life in the hands of Xavier, a handsome sailor with a mysterious past who battles his own demons. The heroine questions the wisdom of her decision in the face of high seas pirates, slave traders, corrupt island magnates, jealous lovers, Canadian bureaucracy, and an evil nemesis with a hideous scar, and ultimately must learn to trust her own will to survive.

Reading that now I think I should drop the last phrase, and end the pitch at “an evil nemesis with a hideous scar.” What do you think?



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