Gotta Read It! Book Review #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Gotta Read It!: Five Simple Steps to a Fiction Pitch that Sells

By Libbie Hawker

This month I’m reviewing the writing craft book: Gotta Read It!, an excellent book on how to create the perfect blurb for your book.

Gotta Read It, how to write a blurb for your book

Writing a blurb is hard, almost harder than writing a book. Why is it we can write 40, 60, 80, 120 thousand words, but we can’t condense our story into 150-200 words? Perhaps we’re too involved with our characters. Perhaps our love of storytelling prevents us from leaving out anything. No matter what the reason, we can use help in writing a pitch or blurb for our book.

Fortunately, Libbie Hawker has written a book to make the process easier.

She advises us to think about your book like a publisher. The key to making your book stand out from others in your genre is packaging, which consists of:

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Pitch

In Gotta Read It!: Five Simple Steps to a Fiction Pitch that Sells, she focuses on the pitch.

What is a Pitch:

A pitch, Ms. Hawker explains, consists of five elements:

  1. A character, who
  2. Wants something, but
  3. Something stands in her way, so she
  4. Struggles against that force, and
  5. Something important is at stake.

These five elements are the basic skeleton on which to build your pitch. To build on that skeleton, you need to add three things:

  1. Setting. Give the reader clues so they can form a mental image of the world they’re reading about.
  2. Details. Add details about the main character’s desires and conflicts, as well as clues about his and the antagonist’s personalities.
  3. Voice. The pitch should match the tone of the story. Don’t write a light, breezy blurb when the story is a psychological thriller.

Ms. Hawker also tackles how to write a pitch for a romance and for a book with multiple main characters.

The book is short (52 pages), but it tackles an important dilemma most writers struggle with. I heartily recommend you add this writing craft book to your library.

Gotta Read It! on Amazon for 99¢

This blog is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you can learn! To join, visit Raimey Gallant’s website or follow the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop hashtag on Twitter.

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20 Responses to Gotta Read It! Book Review #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

  1. Adam says:

    While more words often run the risk of weakening the story, fewer words often make it harder to tell a complete story.
    One of the most frequent problems I face is that the story I want to tell needs more words than I’m willing to use (for the sake of submission conventions).
    And as an author we create a story with so much depth and value and complexity, that to try and convey it through a handful of words often feels inaccurate, as if we are reducing it to some proto cliche that doesn’t do the story justice.
    One technique I find helpful is to practice with published stories I read.
    I try to write up a pitch for Harry Potter, Ice & Fire, Kingkiller Chronicles, or what have you, and without sharing anything other than the pitch, see how others react to it.
    The fact that I know the story is strong allows me to focus on the pitch itself. Many a good story can be bogged down by poor pitching.

  2. TD Storm says:

    A nice, clear summary of the 5+3 elements necessary for the pitch! I’ve found that getting writers to create a pitch or logline even before their story is written can often be very helpful, too. It serves as a very clear touchstone that the writer can keep coming back to.

  3. That’s the formula I use when writing pitches for various things. I’ve done it so many times now, it’s approaching second nature, but, gosh, was it hard at first. I can do it for other author’s books with some degree of success now, too. 🙂 Great post!

  4. Great post. It’s something we all need to know how to do — I’ve added the book to my TBR 🙂

    Ronel visiting on Author Toolbox day Things Every #Authorpreneur Should Know for 2019 #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

  5. Pitches always give me trouble, so this post has been really helpful! Hopefully my next pitches will benefit from this great advice!

  6. Louise says:

    This is such a useful formula. Summarising things in a few words (word limits in general!) is my worst nightmare. Having a checklist makes it seem easier 🙂

  7. Thanks for sharing that. I’m going to check it out. I have a logline notecard that has similar advice on my desk at all times.

    Susan Says

  8. Anna says:

    It looks simple until one tries to write a blurb. I work on the blurb, logline, etc constantly throughout the writing of the work. That gives me the time I need to capture what the story is about. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  9. Lee Lowery says:

    Sounds like a great resource. I think some authors are faced with a “can’t see the forest for the trees” syndrome when trying to prepare a pitch. We really do need to pull out the basic elements.

  10. admin says:

    I agree! Sometimes, I’ll write a sentence that’s perfect for the blurb, and I’ll add it to an ongoing file.
    If you’re using Facebook or Amazon ads, you might have to try different approaches to a successful ad.

  11. admin says:

    Her formula can be used for almost every fiction book. I love things that will save my brain from working too hard!

  12. admin says:

    Good luck on your pitch! Anything that makes life easier is worth saving.

  13. admin says:

    I love that it’s only 99¢, too.

  14. admin says:

    It’s always easier working on someone else’s work, isn’t it? If we could all have editors, and blurb writers come in the middle of the night and fix things . . .

  15. Elle Marr says:

    This is so great! Thanks for sharing your review of Gotta Read It! I’m definitely intrigued at how anyone can boil down a pitch into a simple formula, let alone anything less than 300 pages – the fact that this book is 52 pages is impressive. The concept, however simple, is so much harder than it looks. Great review!

  16. Drew says:

    I’ll definitely need to come back and re-read this when I’m ready to start submitting, thank you.

  17. Charity Rau says:

    I agree writing the blurb is harder than writer the book! This is great, and I added the book to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  18. Iola says:

    Sold 🙂

    Thanks for the heads-up. I’m always looking for good craft books to read and recommend.

  19. Thanks for this book review. I’m always looking for craft books to help me hone my skill. This sounds like a good one.

  20. I find the voice the most important aspect. Once I changed the voice of my blurbs to match the story itself, I saw sales increase – especially with my romantic comedies. Interesting read!

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