Seminar: Nail Your Pitch

Seminar: Nail Your Pitch

Who: Laurel Cohn
Monday 15 May, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Full Price: $55; Member: $40; Conc Member: $35
Level: Beginner to intermediate.

In our fast-paced world of communications dominated by headlines and key words, it’s crucial for you to understand how to pitch your project to others as concisely as possible. You may be required to give a verbal pitch as well as provide one in writing. You may be asked for a one-liner or for an extended synopsis. The key to a successful pitch is a clear and fundamental understanding of what it is you are writing and where it fits in the publishing world.

Sounds easy in theory, but in practice, encapsulating your writing project in one sentence, a short blurb or even a 500 word synopsis can feel more difficult than writing a book-length work. This seminar offers tips and tools to help frame your work in a variety of ways relevant to different publishing opportunities. Whether you are applying for a mentorship or grant, entering a pitching competition, submitting work to an agent or publisher, or self-publishing, your ability to pitch your work well and appropriately plays a crucial role in your success.

This seminar introduces an approach to pitch writing developed in response to reading hundreds of blurbs and synopses as an editor and manuscript assessor, as well as researching exactly what it is that agents and publishers are looking for in a pitch. The main thrust is to encourage writers to begin from a single statement of story essence and build from that, adding only what is necessary, as opposed to trying to squish a book-length story into a few sentences or paragraphs.

Drawing on examples of various length pitches from authors whose work has been published (adult fiction, junior fiction, health/self-help and memoir), discover what you need to put into a pitch, and what you need to leave out.

Learning outcomes

  1. An understanding of the different types of pitches required for different audiences.
  2. Specific tools and strategies to write a one-line pitch, a short blurb and a synopsis.
  3. A clear idea of what works and doesn’t work in a pitch.
  4. Inspiration to rework an existing pitch, or write a new one.

Participant Requirements
Bring a completed pitch, blurb or synopsis if you have one, to be used as reference, along with pen and paper.

About the tutor
Laurel Cohn
has spent her working life exploring ways of communicating stories about ourselves and others. As a developmental editor she has been helping writers since the 1980s prepare their work for publication and hone their pitches. Many writers she has worked with have gone on to be published successfully. She spent five years with one of Australia’s top literary agents and four years as Consultant Editor to the NSW Writers’ Centre before turning freelance. She works with individual writers, publishers and self-publishers, and is a popular workshop presenter. As a grant writer she has helped community organisations develop and refine pitches for various projects, securing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of funding over the years. She has recently completed a PhD in Australian literature at the University of Queensland.


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