Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Award for Most Interesting Pitch

A recent query was sent via YouTube video—well, a link to a YouTube video. Interesting. Well, the idea was interesting. I didn’t have time to click on the link or watch the video.

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer a good old-fashioned query.

Jessica

21 comments:

David F. Weisman said...

That wasn't me, but on behalf of all the queriers and soon to be queriers out the - we have a tough crowd! What was the name of that comedian who used to live on tossed salad because they threw vegetables at him on stage?

Nicole L Rivera said...
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Nicole L Rivera said...

It's good you didn't click on it. There have been viruses sent as Youtube videos. I have received 3 on Facebook. They hack your account and send it to all of your Facebook friends. :(

C.J. Ellisson said...

I'm not so sure I'd give them an award for the most interesting -- after all you didn't view it and it was an instant reject, right?

Anonymous said...

I'm just playing devil's advocate here for a minute.

It is an interesting pitch, though not standard by any means. Ten or twenty years ago we didn't have the technology to make pitches like this.

But we have it now and while the whole world is taking advantage of all these new things...enjoying them because they are, if nothing else, differet...I can't even imagine the mindset behind not being curious enough to at least click the link to see whether it's good or bad.

Like I said, I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I didn't send it, I swear.

But with queries being so dull, in general, I can't even imagine not clicking the like just to see how bad (or good) the youtube pitch might have been.

Anonymous said...

You wonder what it is about the word "gimmick" that they don't understand?

As a published author, I have had absolutely endless discussions with wannabees on the subject of writing query letters. It is one of the toughest things about getting a book sold. You are pitching to a class of humans who have already heard absolutely every line, every come on, every gimmick there is. And its not that they're not interested. Agents will fall for a really well crafted query letter, but there isn't a gimmick on the planet that they'll fall for.

Some wannabees understand this, others absolutely will not. Writing is part of their refusal to ever engage with reality. It is their choice. They are a big part of what makes million-to-one odds so durn navigable!

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:36

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Gotta_Get_a_Gimmick

:)

ClothDragon said...

I don't like my computer making sounds at me. Hubby occasionally sends me video links, but knowing me, when he does he swears they're worth it so even without the worry of viruses, I can easily understand why you'd choose not to click.

On the other hand, The Emo Vampire song really was worth listening to. :)
http://www.barelydigital.com/awesome/episode/KA_20091102/twilight-sucks

Tiffany Neal said...

That's interesting considering the fact that even though a query letter does no justice to the possibility of the writing a writer can do, a Youtube pitch doesn't have any writing. Or at least I'm assuming that.

Hm. Interesting.

Natasha Fondren said...

See, that's why I don't watch book trailers. I just don't have time to sit there.

Clara said...

Well, I have to admit that was creative, though. Not very smart, but creative.

Wendy Marcus said...

Hi, Jessica!
Have you ever done a chat room pitch? I did one this morning with an editor from Harlequin Medical Romance. She had writers send in a two paragraph blurb of their completed manuscript and then picked five of us for a ten minute pitch.

Anonymous said...

I've tried some gimmicks that work (which I'll keep to myself because I'll use them again). I don't think the YouTube video pitch was a mistake. The author should have simply done a traditional query with the YouTube pitch. Or, if he's smart, he could wait a bit and sent the traditional pitch to any agent who didn't respond or responded with a form rejection.

Personally, I think it's smart to try different approaches. The fact it didn't work with one particular agent is meaningless. The next agent might love the idea.

Anonymous said...

Jessica,

I'm pretty sure you're referring to a link I send you a few days ago. While the video is promotional for my novel, I have already queried you through traditional channels with the understanding that you would pass or request a manuscript based on how brilliant/engaging my query was.

So I can assure you the link wasn't an attempt at a pitch. I know you're busy, but I honestly thought that as an insider in the publishing world you'd appreciate the humor of the video. I've gotten great responses from other bloggers in the business. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Best,
Joe

p.s. Does this mean I can use "Winner of the 'Award for Most Interesting Pitch'" on the cover of my novel when it gets published?

jjdebenedictis said...

Anon 11:36AM said:
I can't even imagine the mindset behind not being curious enough to at least click the link to see whether it's good or bad.

I can. I skip links all the time when I'm tooling around Blogger or Twitter. A link is not inherently interesting.

As for why an agent might skip a link, Miss Snark once said when you're dealing with hundreds of queries (or anything, really), consistency is better than "thank you".

Meaning: Who wants to switch mental gears when they're trying to get a big job done fast? And a video-pitch certainly requires that, when it's found amid a stack of written queries.

Plus, that query was just one query; if you look at Jessica's status updates, you'll note she can safely skip one query without worrying too much that she's lost out on something she would love to represent. The writer needed to hook her interest, and the link, by itself, didn't do that.

AstonWest said...
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AstonWest said...

See, that's why I don't watch book trailers. I just don't have time to sit there.

As opposed to the time we spend reading agent blogs and the comments therein? ;-)

Amy said...

I, too, am annoyed by book trailers and other internet video. I'm not sure exactly why as I obviously have the time, as AstonW pointed out. Maybe it's just that I can typically finish an entire first paragraph and determine whether I want to read on in the time it takes for a video to load and play through the first sentence. I feel more in control with print. Maybe that's what Natasha meant by "sitting there" - I get the same feeling.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica, I have a question you've likely answered before, but I couldn't find a previous blog post on it. Please excuse me if I just didn't look hard enough!

I was wondering what you think is the most important aspect of a query. I've read a ton of articles which all cite different things and I get the feeling that rather than emphasizing hook over plot, or characters over events, based on an article, I should strive to find out what it is that each individual agent wants to know. (Or is that wrong in and of itself?)

Is there one thing in a book that captures you more than one thing, and if there is, do you want to see that emphasized in a query? Or does balance and concise explanation of the plot outweigh your own personal preferences?

I'm completely unfamiliar with blogs so if posting a question via blog post is bad etiquette, again I apologize!

Carol J. Garvin said...

A video query would seem to miss the opportunity of providing the agent with a sample of one's writing. That doesn't seem very smart to me even if the idea is novel. (I honestly didn't intend that pun!) :)

Jill Elizabeth said...

I feel the same way about news online. I don't feel like clicking on a video when I'm at work and have to put in my headphones, etc. If there's a headline that seems important I just want to scan the article underneath it. if I wanted to see it visually, I'd watch it on TV.