Monday, November 05, 2007

Blog Pitch Workshop (VIII)

STATUS: They’re painting my office lobby today. The smell of paint is really getting overwhelming—even with the windows open. You might get enough of me with the blog but just in case, Women On Writing have posted a recent interview with me.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? (I’VE GOT A GAL IN) KALAMAZOO by Glen Miller Orchestra

Romance. More Romance. Romance all the time. Seriously, it’s worth spending at least another day with this genre mainly because so many romance queries are generic and consequently get quick passes. You don’t want that to happen to you.

So let’s look at another historical romance—this time by one of my authors. Sherry Thomas’s PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS comes out this spring, and Bantam has done a great job with the back cover copy.

PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS by Sherry Thomas
To all of London society, Lord and Lady Tremaine had the ideal arrangement: a marriage based on civility, courteousness and freedom—by all accounts, a perfect marriage. The reason? For the last ten years, husband and wife have resided on separate continents.


But once upon a time, things were quite different for the Tremaines…When Gigi Rowland first laid eyes on Camden Saybrook, Lord Tremaine, the attraction was immediate and overwhelming: she simply had to have him. But what began in a spark of passion ended in betrayal the morning after their wedding—and Gigi wants to be free to marry again. Now Camden has returned from America with an outrageous demand in exchange for Gigi’s freedom—a proposal that defies propriety and stuns his wife. For Gigi’s decision will have consequences she never imagined, as secrets are exposed, desire is rekindled—and one of London’s most admired couples must either fall in love all over again…or let each other go forever.

Now let’s analyze:

1. This back cover copy is 8 sentences.

2. The first paragraph does a great job of outlining the irony behind the definition of a “perfect marriage.” There’s a bit of subtle humor in there as well because why is the marriage perfect? The husband and wife reside on separate continents. It really sets the tone of this work and gives us an interesting back story at the same time. First question that pops to mind is why do they live in separate countries?

3. The next paragraph begins by giving the reader a little glimpse into the answer to that question the first paragraph inspired. They used to love each other. They used to be wildly and passionately in love but a betrayal ends that. Now, the betrayal isn’t revealed and that’s part of what we assume will unfold as we read the story.

4. By the fourth sentence, we are introduced to the crux of the current conflict. Lord Tremaine has made a demand in return for granting a divorce. The demand isn’t revealed (of course) because the hope is that the reader of this copy will be enticed to read on and buy the book (or if you were querying, the agent would be enticed to request the sample pages or the full because the pitch is so intriguing).

5. The second paragraph ends with what is at stake. I personally love the last line because of what is not said. London’s most admired couple (for their perfect marriage) must decide whether they can be admired as a great couple for embracing love instead.

We’ll try some contemporary romances tomorrow before moving on.