Writing pitch letters is more difficult than writing a column or an article. Maybe that’s because I’ve already figured out what I want to say in the piece, pushed it through three revisions and coaxed it into something that would catch a reader’s attention. I’m confident enough that I’m putting my best foot froward.
The pitch is about attracting an editor’s interest before they’ve even glanced at my work. If their attention wanders during the pitch, then I don’t have much of a chance of them picking up my writing. I have to hook them on my idea, make it memorable.
At the same time, I’m nervous about over-hyping my piece. I don’t want the editor to be let down when they read it. I want them to know exactly what they’ll be reading, and to be even more excited about it when they finish than when they started.
Searching for that balance means writing half a dozen paragraphs on loose leaf paper in black ink as I struggle with the wording. I shouldn’t be as picky as I am with the letter. I need to trust that what I’ve written will be enough for an editor to take notice.
So I’m going to finish this post and write a draft of a pitch letter that has been frustrating me for three days. I’ll power through it. I won’t give myself a choice. I’ll look at it in the morning with fresh eyes and then send it out. Over and with quick. Like how you’re supposed to pull off a Band Aid.
Do you struggle with pitch letters? Do you have any strategies for writing them?