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Making the Perfect Pitch: How To Catch a Literary Agent's Eye Paperback – April 1, 2004


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Making the Perfect Pitch: How To Catch a Literary Agent's Eye + The Writer's Digest Guide To Query Letters + 2014 Guide to Literary Agents
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871162067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871162069
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Here's a very useful book for first-time writers. Most how-to books for writers deal with this important subject (finding an agent) in a chapter or two, but Sands, a literary agent in New York, shows that there's a lot more to it than one might expect. Drawing on the experience of a variety of agents (plus one copywriter), she demonstrates that finding an agent involves finding the perfect match between author and representative, between material and market. Think it's easy to write a query letter? Think again: agents get a lot of mail, and you only have one chance to get their attention. Think it's easy to put together a book proposal? Try it sometime, but try not to be too wordy, or too self-promoting, or too been-there-done-that. Do your homework, Sands stresses: don't pitch a genre novel to an agent who deals primarily in nonfiction; do know what other books cover the same ground as yours. But, above all, do read this book, which should teach you pretty much everything you'll need to know. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

This book helped me to do that, to inch forward on my own writing journey.
Rosemary C
If you are a writer who seeks to be published by an established major press, then you are going to need the services of a good literary agent.
Midwest Book Review
Highly recommended to anyone making an attempt at publishing fiction, non-fiction, or screenplays.
Parola138

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L Edelen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've read many books intended to help writers get published, but this is possibly the best book I've seen on getting an agent to notice your work. Katharine Sands, an agent herself, has given us a reference that is a must for your writing library.

We've all seen single-source guides on pitching your book, but Sands goes one further by collecting the wisdom of some of the top agents in the publishing business:

* Sarah Jane Freymann relates seven essentials needed in a query letter.

* Robert Gottlieb tells how to stay ahead of publishing trends.

* Michael Larsen give tips on establishing a marketing niche that will appeal to publishers and agents.

* Laurie Horowitz shows how agents can turn books into films.

* Andrew Stuart gives insider tips on paring back queries to their bare essence, packing the most punch on a page.

* Jane Dystel advises the best way to stand out from the rest of the slush pile.

* Donald Maass discusses stand-out settings, memorable protagonists and intractable problems that every novel needs to be breakout-worthy.

There are forty chapters of advice from the best in the business. And while some of it will, by nature, overlap, the info here is invaluable. It's a panel discussion in a convenient book form so beginning writers can refer to it again and again.

If you're considering writing for publication, this book is peerless. Highly recommended.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Magee on August 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm the author of two non-fiction books and am preparing to sell my first novel. In studying and listening to agents, I found that each one required something a little different, which was not only confusing but scary. I had heard Katharine Sands speak about Making the Perfect Pitch at a writers conference and bought it. I felt like I'd been let in on the secrets of the publishing world. The agents contributing to the book explained what they want and what they don't, and while each may want things a little different, the basics are the same. The day I received Making the Perfect Pitch, I read it straight through. This book should be required reading for all writers - first-time or seasoned.

Sharon Magee

Author of Geronimo! Stories of an American Legend

Co-Author of Arizona Goes to War
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Parola138 on October 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
When I got this, I figured it was just another book about writing, submitting, and trying to succeed at writing. This book is very different though. It is very blunt, like so many other books, but somehow it is rarely negative. After reading similar books, I've come away feeling I could never make it as a writer. This book is uplifting, and sort of says, "You can make it, but here are the things you have to nail down." A great book. Highly recommended to anyone making an attempt at publishing fiction, non-fiction, or screenplays.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By W. Terry Whalin on April 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Agents are like editors with their own individual tastes for books to champion. Is the agent lured to your project or do they reject it? Often it will depend on the pitch. Literary agent Sands writes, "You can hire a caterer, a hit man, or a dominatrix. But you can't hire an agent. Literary agents must be enchanted, seduced, and won over to take you on as a client. They must want to devote their efforts to working on your behalf."

The beauty of this title is the different voices from forty top agents. Each chapter reveals some insight into what attracts a particular agent to a particular idea. I used my yellow highlighter often with this book because of great inspirational common sense advice. Here's an example from Sands chapter on Practicing Pitchcraft, "Writing is solitary; publishing is collaborative. The key point to understand: you want to get others excited about what is exciting to you."

A call to excellence in your craft is built into the fiber of this book and repeated often. As literary agent Joseph Regal wrote in his chapter on The Providential Diamond, "No agent is waiting for something that's 'almost' there; none of us are hoping a talented newcomer will send ragged, unfocused writing, no matter how promising. If your instinct is that another pass would make it better, make that pass. And do it again, until you are certain that you have reached a point where there isn't a single thing more you could think of that would make the book better."

Any writer or would-be writer can profit from the wisdom for pitching crammed into these pages.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic. It's clear and easy to understand, and the perspectives are from the agents themselves. After working on my query letter for months, reading everything I could on the subject, and talking to other writers, I still had a mediocre query letter and felt very confused.
This book gives examples of great queries and clear guidelines for writing one that will get the attention of an agent. With what I learned from this book I wrote a query letter that is getting positive responses. I finally feel I understand the submission process and the elements that make a good query letter.
The writer and the agents who contributed to this book have done writers a great service. Anyone serious about being published should definitely have a copy.
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