We get a lot of review requests. While we read each and every one of them, all of the dystopian YA and vampire paranormal romance stories start to bleed together because the pitches simply are not distinct enough. Most of them get lost in the abyss; very few stand out enough for us to talk amongst ourselves about pursuing the read.
So when I woke up to a request forwarded to my personal email from CanaryTheFirst, I didn’t need her opening line of “laaaawl” to tell me it was going to be something pretty special.
1. Who you are:
I am Sky Luke Corbelli, I’m not trained in the force
But I thought that you all might enjoy
A different approach, with some lyric, of course
Though it’s really just a shameless ploy
2. How you came across our blog:
I stumbled my way through a list that I found
Indie SF Reviewers, the same
And I thought that since I was looking around
To the birds should I submit my name
3.The title and genre of your book:
The book that I’ve written is called Wind-Scarred
Sci-Fantasy is what it’s in
4. A brief blurb or description of the book:
For the section I think my meter may be marred
So I’ll let a new rhyme scheme begin
My novel takes place in the world of tomorrow
Or perhaps the day after, as the case may be
For mankind has known full nothing but sorrow
For one thousand years in their Sanctuary
Then out from the gloom there emerges a light
Ezra of the Hawkins, our story’s hero
Who through opposition shall strive, sneak and fight
And to humanity the world he will show
A fast-paced adventure, and Ezra must learn
That the world may be a bit more than it seems
That trust is a thing all people must earn
And even the Elements often have dreams
That was horrible, I apologize, I’ll try to refrain from flights of lyrical fancy… here’s the description from Amazon:
But at that point, I didn’t even need the actual blurb. My brain had made the instant connection: if this person is willing to do put the time into something so ridiculous as create a lyrical pitch for their story, then they must put a lot of effort into their other pieces of writing as well. I was sold — hooked. I needed the book, and I needed it now.
When I graduated high school and was looking for a job to work through college, my high school counselor gave me the best piece of advice: just make sure your resume stands out. Put it on blue paper, give it a nice header, do anything to get your piece of paper-that-looks-just-like-every-other-high-schooler’s-resume noticed.
That’s what Corbelli did here: got noticed. In a sea of like-themed stories, this one rose to the top of my reading list solely because the time was taken to make a personalized pitch. (Did you notice the reference to the ‘birds’ near the the beginning? That let me know the pitch was made just for us Canaries.)
So this is pitch rule #1: Know your audience. Is this the sort of pitch you want to send to a top-tier publishing house or agent? Probably not. But is it the right pitch to send to book bloggers who likely see a dozen or so requests a day? Absolutely.
To the rest of you indie authors out there, take note. I’m not saying write us (and other indie review blogs) lyrical verse. That is sure to get old really fast. But do something to stand out. Have a nice header. Open with comments that are directly tied to the blog you’re querying. (Reviewers always like to know their work is being read, too. And vague comments of “I like your blog” don’t count.) Have a shot of the cover art in the email.
And for god’s sake: if you do end up sending a form letter, don’t make it obvious. There is no faster way to get buried in the pile than by sending something that opens Dear Sir/Madam or To Whom It May Concern.
We’re in the business of writing. But don’t forget that it’s creative writing.
Be creative. Get noticed.
Do you have a pitch or synopsis that you’d like to send to the sacrificial altar? Email it our way to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Pitch Article Submission”.