Pitching your book from an agent’s perspective: AFCC 2014 Singapore

Writing a great pitch about a book to gain an agent or publisher is one of the hardest tasks for any writer. What do you put in it? How much of your book do you share? What do they want to know????  It’s all very hard and even for published authors it can cause you to pull out your hair and take up drinking tequila slammers again as if you’re at a college pool party.

However help is at hand! One of the panels I went to during my recent trip to Singapore for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content was by Fran Lebowitz on pitching. Fran has many years experience as an agent having worked for twelve years as an agent with New York based agency, Writers House. She had some great tips to share and went so far as to collect pitches from the audience and gave helpful criticisms about each pitch to help those authors make a more successful bid for a publisher.

Technically a pitch needs to be short, punchy and sincere. Everyone in publishing is time poor so you need to gain their attention in a way that makes it easier for them. Waffling on about yourself, your hopes and dreams and all the airy fairy stuff will see your pitch relegated to the round file (ie the bin) and send the agent/editor to the drinks cabinet. Don’t do it. You need to project professionalism and convey the heart of your story in as succinct but interesting a way possible. Easy right? Not.

So what did Fran say? This is what I noted down:

1. Start with who you are, if you have any published work tell them and if one of those books sold well, or went into reprint tell them that. If you’re not published don’t be worried about not having any sales to tell, mention something interesting about your self, something they can use to promote you. Something different about you. Did you scale Everest? Win an interesting competition? Have a hobby that sets you apart or an interest apart from your writing that could be a talking point? Really think about yourself as a marketable asset as well. For example I would include that I have an unusual birth heritage and love to travel and how done a lot of it.

2. Now you’re talking about your book. Tell them the genre and readership.  Think about what already published book you can compare  your novel to. Now this does not necessarily mean picking the mega seller. Be realistic and show with your choice what sort of readership your book is for, but don’t undersell it either. Research your market well and be aware of what is already out there so you can tell the agent/editor your book would appeal to those who read X.

3. Find the hook – this is the more interesting part of the story, or part of the character that is different and put that first in your description. The first line about your story can contain a lot of information but it must be substantive, not impressionistic. Don’t waffle be specific.

4. Don’t be repetitive and don’t try to introduce too many names of the characters in your book. Stick to the main characters names and if referring to others just use their relationship to the protagonist. eg. Hannah’s aunt, mother, neighbour, friend. The agent/editor wants to know who the book is about; the main character.

5. As an aside Fran also mentioned that when you’re out and about trying to get attention for your book at conferences, or conventions, think about having postcards printed with the book’s details and your contact information. It can’t hurt.

Good luck fellow writers!



Supanova Perth visit; come meet me

Profile-Lara-Morgan-version-BI’m getting excited because I’m going to be in Perth next weekend, June 21 -22 for the Supanova Expo!

Supanova is big on the scifi fantasy calendar with big name stars coming from all over the world to talk about our favourite genre in TV, Books, Comics, Anime, Graphic Novels – you name it, it’s there. I’m going to be doing a panel called Blood on Your Hands on Sunday June 22 from 3.10pm with other stellar authors; Robin Hobb, Jo Spurrier, Colin Taber and Scott Baker and we’re talking about how we deal with maiming and torturing our characters. Fun times! I’ll also be hanging around the Booktopia shop to sign books and I’ll have some freebies to give away on my fantasy series The Twins of Saranthium.   So come down and have a chat, dress up for Cosplay or just soak up the vibes and catch some of the fantastic panels, Here’s where you can get the Perth Program

Supanova Perth schedule; maiming my heroes

I’m soon on my wProfile-Lara-Morgan-version-Bay to Perth for Supanova and have my program ready to hand.

I’ll be doing a panel called Blood on your Hands on Sunday June 22 from 3.10pm to 4pm with Robin Hobb, Jo Spurrier, Scott Baker and Colin Taber, all taking about how we deal with maiming, killing and basically torturing our characters and making their lives hell. And I’ll be hanging around the Booktopia stand to sign books and chat on Saturday between 10.3am to 5pm, and Sunday between 11am to 5pm.

You can download the full Perth event program here with all the details on the superstar guests you could see while you’re there cosplaying, buying books or just soaking up the mad atmosphere.

Who knows you could see some of these people….. Nikolaj-Coster-Waldau-Profile-C


AFCC Singapore 2014; fiction, food and friends

???????????????????????????????CAM00149I’ve been having a fabulous time at the AFCC in Singapore the last few days with plenty of talk about writing for children and teens. The AFCC (Asian Festival of Children’s Content) is an international festival held every year in Singapore which celebrates many facets of education, media, books and multimedia involved in producing content tailored for children. I was there to talk on a panel about: Future Trends in YA and the ins and outs of writing fantasy and sci fi for young adults. I shared the panel with Indian author Payal Dhar and renowned UK based author Sally Gardner. It was a fantastic and lively discussion about the future trends in YA – which we all agreed we couldn’t possible predict – and why we love to write fantasy and science fiction.

I was also out and about in Singapore trying to eat my way through the town – see above! I had a great dinner with fellow authors Raewyn Casiley and Deb Fitzpatrick and visited Sentosa and strolled the river boardwalk. It’s been a wonderful and rewarding three days and I recommend anyone serious about writing, and about being published in the Asian market to visit next year.