Help Write a Book Pitch! Be Involved from the Very Beginning!

Posted on December 26, 2007

From 12/24/07:
No carolers tonight, but there is a good shot at my finishing the first major edit of As in Days of Old tomorrow. Since there’s so much else to do on December 25th. [snicker]

Okay, so I need y’alls help here. I need a good elevator pitch. An astounding one. A 25-words-or-less pitch for the book that will cause everyone who hears it to run to their nearest retail outlet (online or off) and buy it.

I wrote in detail about what a formal elevator pitch (EP) is on the MIPA blog, if you want to know details about it and how to develop your own. For everyone else, let’s just say I need to come up with a 10-second (I wasn’t kidding about the 25-words-or-less) riveting, compelling, highly provocative sentence to describe the book without giving away the ending.

So… what is the book about? It’s the second in the Rabbi David Cohen suspense series, a sequel to Destined to Choose, and, if I may be so bold, much, much better. It takes place six months after Destined ends, during the weeks leading up to and during Chanukah. In it…

“Minneapolis Rabbi David Cohen intervenes to catch a violent stalker while his wife tries to become more involved in his career.”

That’s what I have so far. There’s so much more I could say. That’s the problem as the author, you get so caught up in the characters’ lives and the story and all the details that it all seems important.

Like, I could tell you that Arik (Israeli-born Minneapolis cop) has a major role in this book, as does Batya (Arik’s wife/Reform rabbi).

We get to see the story partly from Batya’s point of view, as well as Sara’s (David’s wife).

Eli, who was briefly introduced in Destined, and his wife come out for a visit during Chanukah, and wind up in the middle of a crime scene.

We meet Shimon, an Orthodox rabbi, for the first time and get a glimpse into his and David’s friendship (yes, a Conservative and an Orthodox rabbi can be friends).

And we get to meet members of the larger non-Jewish community as well.

Will you help? I’m thinkin’ there might be something in it for you, too (mention in the acknowledgments, a free advance copy…) My publisher’s marketing advisor, my editor, and others will have some say, too, but I’ve been asked for a pitch with the finished manuscript. I’d love your help!

Leave your comments (they get emailed to me so I’ll be sure to get them) and we’ll continue the dialog. Thanks!

Back tomorrow with updates.

Update 12/25/07: About 20 pages to go and the ms is DONE (with Edit #1) and ready to go to beta readers for their comments, which will result in Edit #2. [Then it goes to my editor for what will result in Edit #3.] I would not be surprised if the ms goes through as many as 5-6 edits all told before publication, but the first three are the big ones.

Already the first chapter has been rewritten and several scenes have been either rearranged or pulled entirely. You know what books need? We need a “special bonus features” thing like on DVDs, where the author can provide commentary during the book and there can be a section for a gag reel and deleted scenes. I wonder if there’s a market for that sort of thing…

I am a little sad. It’s always sad, finishing and having to say goodbye for now. I expect to be done by tomorrow morning, at which time I will need to – without a pause – write a compelling scene from Book #3, the third in the series (and mostly plotted out already). I really hope to get to the point of writing a book a year. This 4-5 years between books is so not okay. (But then I did give birth to children in the intervening years. That’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ with it.)

Wish me luck – tomorrow I’m looking forward to posting a DONE post!


  1. Sheyna

    Benning – no fair! 🙂 Maybe I’ll ask my editor to write it. Heh. Y’know if it’s 350 pages or more, I’m fine with it. Less than 50 words, not my strong point!

  2. benning

    Considering how long it took to write my own blurb – and I KNEW what I’d written – I wouldn’t presume to try it for you.

    As my Mom likes to say, “Hey! You’re the writer! Write!”


  3. Sheyna

    Batya – you are absolutely right. What kinds of things would you want to know that would help you decide if you were interested in reading it or not? (Of course, I hope you will, but if it’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine, too. Your answer is still helpful!)

  4. Batya

    I don’t know much, anything actually, about the story line, but you must make your pitch for new readers, not just old ones.

  5. Sheyna

    Jack – LOL! I do actually have a handful of cops who are waiting for a copy, but not in that way!

    Fortunately, so long as the book passes the editorial board (including three professional book editors), I have a contract. Getting it published isn’t nearly as hard as getting it sold, which will ensure a contract for Book #3.

    Is there an FBI that publishes Jewish fiction? Hmm… Frum Books, Inc.? Freylich Bestseller Institute? 🙂

  6. Jack Steiner

    Here is one you can use:

    Dear Insert name of editor/publisher:

    “Buy my book or live with the consequences.”

    Upside: If they take you seriously there is a good chance they’ll take a seriously look at your manuscript.

    Downside: They may encourage law enforcement to take a serious look at it too. And as far as I know that FBI isn’t publishing works of Jewish Fiction.

    But there is a first time for everything. 😉

You may also be interested in…



I feel like I'm not here. But my body is.The pain roaring beneath my skin, slicing through  my organs, curdling in my...

Skip to content