Friday, October 7, 2011

Agent Sarah LaPolla's One-Line Pitch Critique!

I know, I know. I don't post on Fridays.

BUT this exception is worth it. 

Today I'm sharing agent Sarah LaPolla's critique from Reel YA's first ever contest!

But before I jump into Sarah's feedback, here's the winning one-line pitch from Lori M. Lee:

Title: Harbinger
Genre: YA cyberpunk fantasy

Pitch: To save her brother from becoming a Golem, a cybernetically enhanced soldier, 17-yr-old Kai must uncover the secrets of her dying city and defy its supernatural rulers.

And here's what Sarah had to say

This is a great one-sentence pitch in that I know who the main character is, what type of world she lives in, and what will be at stake for her. What made me pause a little was the mention of a Golem as a cybernetic creature. I’m curious to see where the original Golem myth comes into play, if it does at all. It might make it clearer to say “cybernetically enhanced Golem” and let us know what he is fighting for (or what he’s told he’s fighting for), so we get a better sense of how this story will be different. I love the second part of this sentence. I can visualize a dark, decaying city that’s been taken over by these soldiers. It paints a grim picture, but promises action and a strong sense of character. I also like that the person she is fighting for is her brother, and not a love interest. The familial connection makes her fight that much more tangible for the reader, and I can tell that it will be a bond worth rooting for.

Not only did Sarah offer amazing feedback, but she also requested the first three chapters of Lori's manuscript! Congrats, Lori!! 

One-line pitches are very hard to pull off, but as shown by Lori, it's not impossible. I hope her pitch and Sarah's feedback provide a clearer picture for those of you still struggling with your pitches! 

And in case you're craving more agent feedback, stay tuned for Weronika Janczuk's turn soon! Also, I'm throwing another One-Line Pitch Contest next month, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Now tell me: what's the hardest thing about one-line pitches for you? How do you tackle such a short description of your manuscript without losing your mind? 


  1. Congrats! Yeah, 250 word query is hard...need I say more? =)

  2. I saw her pitch somewhere else a few months ago (WriteOnCon maybe?) and really liked it. Congrats!