How to Pitch Like a TV Guide

How to Pitch Like a TV Guide

First off, Happy Labor Day! Hope everyone is enjoying their day off and barbecue.

Second, in the words of that pilot once abducted by aliens from the Independence Day movie…

“I’m bbbaaaccckkkkkk!”

And this time for good, well until my next possible break in November for NaNoWriMo which won’t nearly be as long. So yes. I’m back. Blogging every Monday at 8. And just in time for the third session of #PitMad of the year which is happening this Thursday on September 8.

If you’re not familiar with the rules visit Brenda Drake’s website. If you’ve participated in #PitMad before or other pitch events and it was a bust, don’t give up hope yet.

A pitch event is a good way to circumvent the dreaded slush pile and have your story sitting in front of an agent. And chances are your story is either not what agents currently want. To find out what they’re looking for, check Or your pitch was not as strong as you thought.

So to capture an agent’s interest in your pitch requires looking at pitches at a different angle.  Your pitch has to do several things and in 140 characters plus hashtags. It must introduce the character, stakes (motivation and crisis) and the genre.

With that in mind, first imagine yourself as the agent sitting before the screen. Scrolling for a manuscript(s) that interests them. It’s no different than channel surfing using the guide function on a TV remote control. But remember the purpose of an agent. He/she represents a writer and their work to publishers, producers, film studios, etc. To negotiate sales and deals.

To gain a traditional publishing deal in this party event, your pitch has to show several things. That your novel is a  marketable investment. It stands apart in its own unique way from and similar to other published works. As well as hint as being an enjoyable read. The core purpose of a book anyways. 

Next, think about the genre and target audience of the manuscript(s). How would you craft your pitch to gain their interest?

Ready to pitch like a TV guide? Well, time for some homework.

You’re a horror writer and your manuscript is everything a horror reader would love and more. And your pitch must convince an agent(s) the same. Then let the TV guide info for horror shows and movies on the Sci-fi and Chiller channel be your guideposts. Take a look at the print screen below. Or tune to the already mentioned cable channels.


As you can see, the print screen shows condensed info about a particular show. The info button on your remote control will do the same. Now you, as an agent, which of the shows has piqued your interest. Why? What was provided in the info that made you consider the show? Which ones did not gain your attention and why?

Knowing what needs to be included in a pitch, how would you craft the movie/show info into a stronger pitch?

The following Criminal Minds episode was much longer. But I was able to condense it into a 140 pitch that introduces characters (agents). The stakes (crime solving and abduction case). The genre using keywords ‘agents,’ ‘crimes,’ and ‘case.’ And using the appropriate hashtags.

Criminal Minds episode:

Child-abduction case has similarities to unsolved 8yro abduction case, leading agents to believe they may solve both crimes. #PitMad #T #A

Some more homework…how would you craft a 140 pitch and hashtag of the following?:

Jurassic World:

Two young brothers visit an aunt who’s an executive at Jurassic World, a theme park populated with genetically resurrected dinosaurs. But chaos erupts when a newly created dino escapes its enclosure, forcing the park’s animal behaviorist to save the day.

From Dusk til Dawn:

Criminal brothers kidnap a family in order to cross the border into Mexico where they are to meet a connection at a rowdy bar that turns out to be populated by vampires when the sun goes down.


Charming bandit Flynn Rider meets his match in Rapunzel, a long-haired beauty who longs to escape the tower where she has been held captive for most of her life. The unlikely pair soon find themselves in the midst of a truly hair-raising adventure.

While You Were Sleeping:

Sandra Bullock is a subway token clerk who loves a yuppie commuter (Peter Gallagher) from afar; when she saves him from death on the tracks and he slips into a coma, his family–including affable brother Bill Pullman–mistake her for his fiancee.


In this installment of the “Vacation” series, the youngest son of the Griswold clan, now grown with a family of his own, sets out to re-create a cross-country road trip from his youth to an amusement park.

Here’s some more Twitter pitch tips!:

Ultimate Writer’s Guide to Twitter Pitch Contests

Twitter Pitching Guide by Dan Koboldt

  • Here’s a top tip: A Twitter Pitch is just the hook so be sure to include the motivation, crisis and the secret.


Hope today’s post was helpful and Happy #PitMad! Happy pitching!

Have any pitch tips of your own to share? Or know any tips that you found informative and helpful?  Not taking part in #PitMad? Then you might try pitching in these events:

#PitchCB on September 30th (and hosted every fourth Friday by Curtis Brown UK)

#SFFPit in December (TBD)

#AdPit in November (TBD)

#KidPit in November (TBD)

PS If you’ve noticed, some pitches also include titles of books that’s similar or has similar themes to the book that’s being pitched. For example, when Dreaming of You is ready to pitch I’d use a pitch like this:

The Best Man + Waiting to Exhale Sharon ex marrying the wrong woman. An enemy from her past wants her. Who should she choose? #pitmad #cr

PSS September 25th- October 1st is Banned Books Week! But I don’t know what I should read. Have any banned/challenged books to recommend? Here’s a hint; I like reading these genres: mystery (amateur and professional detective). Thriller, contemporary/historical/paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Fantasy, literary fiction, etc.

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  1. I haven’t had any luck with any of these Twitter pitch events yet, but I really love your tips. I’m going to look at some of my favorite action movies and see what I can come up with for my MS pitch.

    Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Curiously, I’m better with taglines than I am with loglines. But the inspiration from this post came as I realized the info guide were almost short enough to fit the 140 characters in a tweet. But it looks like it can also help with writing loglines too.


    • I’m between stories that need to be completed and polished first too. And thanks for the warm welcome. At first I missed it and itched to post something but I knew I needed a break after poetry month in April. I’m always spent around that time because there’s so much going on. Of course I kept up with my IWSG montlhy Unicorn Bell posts. But with time though I started to wonder if I should come back to blogging. What if I no longer have anything to write about after blogging for 3 years already? But then it’d always been my plan to come back in September. So as soon as I opened a document to start preparing my September blog posts, 1 draft all of a sudden turned into 4. Guess I wasn’t done after all.


    • You’re welcome. And yes it is. I’d love to take part myself but need a completed manuscript(s) for that. In the meantime, I have no problem cheering on those who are participating.


  2. Welcome back! The sad thing is that I won’t be able to join in with Nanowrimo this year… and I’ve been doing it for so many years in a row now. Oh well, I do have to let my studies come first, and they are what will be taking the forefront this year. I do love how you showed examples of pitches as well as explaining it in this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Olivia. Sorry to you hear you won’t be able to take part in NaNoWriMo this year but studies are important. I’m finally taking my epic fantasy off hiatus and will be a rebel this year by adding/writing additional x amount of new words to it. Yet to win NaNo but given up on that as it’s far more important to me to just get the words down.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kelee. Yeah, I’ve noticed some pitches read more like a summary info dump. Which failed to hook me in at all. Writing pitches is not easy but the trick lies in giving the meat and bones of the story w/o giving everything away. Yet still provide an emotional hook.


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