Somewhere a writer is preparing to pitch to an editor. They want to stand out from the crowd, but aren’t sure how to make themselves different. The following poem is an example of how NOT to pitch. It is part poem, part song, and all one big mistake.
I stared back at the editor
and flashed a nervous grin,
and thought about her question
and how I should begin.
“What’s the book about? you ask?”
She nodded so polite.
“It’s about 400 pages,” I said,
“I counted them just last night.”
“There’s lots of words and pictures
and so the story you will know…”
I opened up my leather case
and pulled out my banjo.
“I wanted to be different,” I said.
“And, my pitch, it won’t take long.
You’ll find all of your answers
in the words to this here song….
[I played the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies and sang...]
Come and listen to the story of my bestseller
about a lady teacher and a wine-maker,
who met one day while walking on the vineyard path;
and this is a story I call The Grapes Of Math.
Love it was, purple love, bubbly love.
The next thing ya know the trouble did begin,
her kinfolk said, “Ellie, why did you pick him?”
Angrily she answered, “I don’t care what you say.
I derned proud to be Ellie Chardonnay!”
A grape that is, smushed by feet, for the juice.
Well now it’s time to say good-by to Ellie and Merlot
(that’s the winemaker’s name, I guess you ought to know);
they had a son, as the story will tell…..
and after a toast, the named him Zinfendel.
A boy he was, with big feet, for stompin’ grapes.
Just Book One in a series…ya hear?
[I put my banjo down, then winked at the editor]
She shook her head, her forehead creased;
she swallowed hard, then blinked.
“You might be sick or just insane.
I don’t know what to think!”
I handed her my one sheet,
grabbed my banjo and my straw hat
and said, “You will be sorry
that you rejected The Grapes Of Math!”
I came to a conclusion
as I stood and walked away:
Literature just isn’t ready
for Merlot Chardonnay!
I hope your pitching goes better. Could it get any worse?