The Art of Pitching to Publishers

Roving Reporter: Ramona Davey

The Art Of Pitching To Publishers

T.he publishers

T.he publishers

 A search on Google came up with two defintions of the word 'Pitching':

  1. set (one's voice or a piece of music) at a particular pitch. "you've pitched the melody very high"

  2. throw roughly or casually. "he crumpled the page up and pitched it into the fireplace"

From what I witnessed yesterday there was nothing rough or casual in the pitching from the handful of brave aspiring and published authors.

The authors were pitching to a panel of the following editors and publishers:  Zoe Walton - Publisher, Children's and Young Adult, Random House Australia / Holly Toohey - Publishing Executive, Random House Australia / Niki Horin - Managing Editor, Hardie Grant Egmont Australia / Claire Halifax - Managing Editor, Scholastic Australia / Lisa Berryman - Associate Publisher, Harper Collins Australia

There was much excitement, anticipation and nerves in the air. The pitches were fantastic by all participants. So much imagination and hard work. Once each author had pitched, the publishers would take it in turns to offer constructive criticism and feedback. Their comments included key terms regarding pitching


Here are some of the positive and constructive comments they shared:

Zoe: We can all understand the shaky hands / Top marks for drama / There's always room in the market for a good fantasy. / ..never underestimate the importance of food in books for kids / ...just so unexpected, which was fantastic...captured our attention because it was so different

Holly: The synopsis could have a short line at the start - to hook you in / Nice and concise / Fantasy is not my forte / Fantasy plots are so intricate, that are probably the hardest to pitch / ...voice was funny and compassionate at the same time.

Niki: I enjoyed your multi-dimensional pitch / A strong backstory / ...liked adventure and issue based / A trilogy is hard to pitch / ...didn't need to tell us it's teen fiction, your writing speaks for itself.

Claire: I loved it...strong opening / I'd like to know in your pitch where the resolution is / relatable / ...wanted to know more about the worlds (fantasy)...paint more of a picture / I'm not an expert on fantasy / ...language was clean, clear and crisp.

Lisa: she liked...'cross-over books...brilliant as it will appeal to adults / arc of the story is so important, especially in trilogies / ...needed to see more of the world / ...loved the way (the pitcher) pitched up on a traditional myth / ...give sense of time and place when pitching something historical...was it based on fact?

 Zoe says: Most editors read the synopsis after the story.

 Niki says: Be careful not too mismatch... that aims at the wrong market.

 Holly asks: What's your hook? For example: Inception meets The Matrix. What do you bring to the table? One pitcher told us of her background in the police force which helped her with the topic of her intriguing and slightly dark novel.

 To conclude, a good pitch should consist of:

  • your target age
  • genre
  • who you are marketing to
  • a strong opening line/tag/hook