Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 10-25-2016
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Synopsis: "From #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike comes a truly original new novel—Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette in a near-future world where the residents of Versailles live like it’s the eighteenth century and an almost-queen turns to drug dealing to save her own life.Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take."
Today, I'm lucky enough to have the Aprilynne Pike ,the author of Wings, talking about her new book, Glitter and how to come up with the perfect pitch. Reading the guess post makes me super excited to get my hands on the book.
Perfect Pitch! … Or At Least Okay Pitch …
Let’s be honest, pitching a book is hard. And I’ve never found it quite as hard as with GLITTER, which is quite cross-genre. Usually by this point I have a snappy 15, 30 , and 45 second pitch ready to be applied to the situation.
For example, when people used to ask me what Wings was about. (I can say this in my sleep, guys.)“WINGS is the story of a 15yo girl named Laurel who discovers she’s a faerie and it’s nothing like the storybooks say.”
If they seem to actually be interested, I add:“She becomes embroiled in an ages-old conflict between the faeries and the trolls over the gateway into Avalon which, in my books, is the faerie realm.”
Still interested? I add on:“There are two hot guys—because I think every book should have at least two hot guys—and Laurel has to choose between them and discover what it means to be a faerie and, ultimately, what it means to be human.”
I have literally said those sentences about a thousand times in the last nine years. I like the format of a pitch that builds on itself because you can cut it off or continue it at will, depending on how bored the person you’re talking to looks.
You ready to hear about Glitter?
Uh, GLITTER is about … uh, well it’s kind of feminist sci-fi, but it’s actually a faux historical, I know that sounds weird, but there’s this girl and she gets herself in major trouble and … there’s drugs and fancy dresses.
Can you tell this pitch isn’t really solid yet? How about I talk about creating a great pitch and attempt to follow my own advice by the end?
To start with, there are a couple of pitches you should have ready. The first is the one I most commonly hear described as the Elevator Pitch. It’s a one-sentence pitch that gives the sparsest basics of your story, in fifteen seconds or less. You’ll most often give this pitch to people who don’t actually care, but are trying to make polite conversation. However, it also invites an interested party to hear more … if they want.
The core of any story really is its main character, so I find that a good place to start.
Let’s do some math:
Title + MC + Defining Characteristic + Hint of Central Plot = 15 Second Pitch
So let’s try that with Glitter:
Glitter is about a 17yo courtier named Danica, who gets herself blackmailed into a very bad engagement, and decides the best way out of it is to sell a new designer drug.
Okay, I can live with that. That is the basics. Now, this book is SO MUCH MORE than just that, and I think the most painful part of coming up with a pitch is paring your book down to only the most crucial part. Which is why I start with the small pitch and build up. Because like with most writing, it’s easier to add than to cut.:D
So the person I’m talking to didn’t instantly have their eyes glaze over, and is doing that head-tilted to the side thing that says they are interested. So I get to go on!!!!
Building up to a 30 second pitch:
Further Info About the Central Plot + Context That Makes It Awesome = 30 Second Pitch
Let’s talk briefly about “Context That Makes It Awesome.” This is often your setting, or the ill-fated connection between your love interests, or the MC’s character-specific stakes. In WINGS it’s the gateway to Avalon and the mention that Avalon is my faerie realm. It’s probably that little detail about your book that perhaps isn’t directly part of the story line, but is the seed that made you fall in love with your book. It’s also the aspect that makes your book very unique. For example, with
“Danica lives in a corporate-owned Pocket Sovereignty, at the complex of the Palace of Versailles, where the court enjoys the advanced technology of the future while mimicking the dress and culture of the fifteenth century. The King is also the CEO … and her fiancé.”
Probably this is as far as you’ll get. But let’s say you’re at a book signing and someone asks about your next book in Q&A, and you have a whole audience actually interested in your work. Hooray! You get to go one step further! Now you get to pick your favorite sub-plot, and pitch it!
This is also the place where you can make a “Meets” comparison. But proceed with caution!! The advice I frequently see from agents about comparisons in queries applies here: If you don’t have a GREAT comparison, skip it. Lame comparisons are just lame. I never did find a good comparison for WINGS, so I skipped it. I have a three-way comparison for GLITTER, so go figure.
Fave Sub-plot + (Optional Comparison) + Wrap Up = Full Pitch!
When Danica falls for her dealer’s right-hand man she has to figure out how bad she’s willing to be, and just who she’s trying to save. Think Breaking Bad meets Versailles meets Mr. Robot. No really.
So yay! Now I have a pitch! And hopefully I’ve helped you get started on having one too! Thanks for reading!
Meet the Author
Critically acclaimed, #1 New York Times best-selling author Aprilynne Pike has been spinning tales since she was a child with a hyper-active imagination. At the age of twenty she received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. When not writing, Aprilynne can usually be found out running; she also enjoys singing, acting, reading, and working with pregnant moms as a childbirth educator and doula. Aprilynne lives in Arizona with her husband and four kids; she is enjoying the sunshine.