Monday, January 23, 2012

Harlequin Pitch Contests

I received an email from one of the winners of the Harlequin Romantic Suspense Pitch Contest asking me about my online pitching experiences.

Harlequin holds online pitch contests quarterly, possibly more often, for various imprints. It's a chance to enter a contest (a FREE contest) and win time with an editor to sell them on your book idea. Worst case, it's pitching practice. Best case, you get a request and can send your materials as REQUESTED MATERIALS.

I thought I would share what I told her in case anyone else finds this helpful:

- If you can, have a one line blurb ready to answer the question, "What is you book about?" When I did the pitch contest, I was given 10 minutes with an editor in an online chat room. The time flies and you don't want to waste time thinking over how to succinctly discuss your book. For ideas, read the back cover blurbs on HRS books (they are on the Harlequin website)

- Prepare a few statements about what makes your book unique from other HRS books. Maybe you have a hero with an interesting job or a setting that hasn't been used often. Bringing this to the editor's attention will show how your book is "the same, but different", which is a phrase I've heard several times from Harlequin editors.

- HRS is more romance than suspense (as opposed to Intrigue, which focuses more on the suspense), so I'd have in mind a few ideas about how to discuss the romantic conflict, and the internal conflicts for both the hero and heroine.

- If you haven't already listened to them, the HRS podcasts are useful.

In my experience, the editors are really nice and understand we're nervous. So if you have typos or fumble a bit, that's fine. Just keep going!

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