Monday, May 17, 2010

One Pagers? One Sheets? Pitch Sheets? Are You Serious?

Have you been involved in one of those icebreakers where the host/hostess asked a question like this: “If you could describe yourself with one word what would it be?”

How good are you at picking just that perfect word that says so much about you? That sums up the entire personality of YOU?

If hard-pressed, I might refer to myself as ‘friendly’, but then that doesn’t really encompass all that is ME. There’s more complexity to it.

A One-Pager/One-Sheet & Pitch Sheet are kind of like describing yourself in one word – except your describing an entire novel with one page. Some can be very plain – just the information, and others can be colorful. I prefer the more colorful, animated kind (no surprise).

So let’s define them. What is the difference between a Pitch Sheet & a One-Pager/One-Sheet/Projects Sheet (lots of names is a bad sign ;-)

A Pitch Sheet is related to ONE novel. You’re highlighting one story.

It usually includes:

- a short synopsis of your book (very short – like a few paragraphs)

- novel stats, such as is the manuscript completed (or projected completion), estimated wordcount, sequel options, maybe some marketing ideas, etc.

- author bio with contact information

- agent bio (if applicable)

If I can figure out how to get the one-sheets posted, I'll put up a few examples. If I can't, you can follow Kaye Dacus' link at the bottom of the post for some good examples. Pitch sheet:

Now, for the One-Pager or One-Sheet.

This document can also be called a ‘projects sheet’ because it is a page that boasts all of your writing projects, both completed and in-progress.

Many of the same requirements should be with this sheet, except your synopsis isn’t about one novel. You are giving a few sentences about each SERIES/project.

Author bio and agent info are still important, but the point of this sheet is to give the viewer, at one glance, all the many things you’re working on.

I hope this info helped a little bit.

I didn’t know anything about them six months ago, but here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

1. Succinct – you only have ONE page.

2. HOOK them with the story, not the message

3. the pitch sheet needs to show your voice. Make it YOU. Each person will pitch their story differently, choose different pictures, write differently. Your sheet should be uniquely YOU.

Here is a site about one-pagers that might give you more information.

Kaye Dacus had a WONDERFUL series on her blog called Manuscript 101. You can learn more about one-sheets here from her post:

So, have you ever written a one-sheet or pitch sheet? If so, what did you enjoy about it, or what did you find difficult?

If not, did this help you get a better idea about them?

Can you describe yourself in ONE word? 


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Great post, Pepper, and very helpful. I have never done one and this clearly paved the way! Thank you! Great links by Kaye!

I thought you were going to share YOUR one pager! ;)

Krista Phillips said...

She's working on figuring out how to post it:-)

GREAT info btw! I hated onesheets at one time, but the more I do them, the more fun they are:-) And mine are colorful too!

Casey said...

Hmmm, never done a one page, but I did do a synopsis for the Genesis contest and that was PURE TORTURE! Condense a 90,000 word novel into one page??? ARE YOU SERIOUS??? Maybe that is why I didn't final. Ha!

And all this stuff we are supposed to have, one sheets, synopsis, first chapter, business card, I-Yi-Yi! It never ends! Whatever happened to just handing the entire thing to the agent and leting them decide??

LOL, if things were run MY way we wouldn't have this problem. ;)

Keli Gwyn said...

I attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in the spring of 2008 and heard about one-sheets for the first time. I went home and prepared one for one of my GH finaling manuscripts and took it to RWA Nationals with me. I plunked that baby in front of Janet Kobobel Grant of Books and Such Literary at my first-ever agent pitch session, and she looked up in amazement. At that time, one-sheets weren't used at Nationals and mine was the first she'd seen there.

Once I'd explained where I learned to craft a one-sheet (and after it became clear Janet had no interest in the story, which I knew in my heart wasn't ready), she asked if she could comment on my one-sheet. I was blessed with a lesson in how to improve mine from a publishing pro. (No big pointers to offer. I was such a newbie at that point that she had to tell me I write inspirational romance, not Christian romance.)

I like using a one-sheet. I'm not forced to remember a pitch at a time when I'm stressed to the max, and I have something to leave with the agent or editor if they'd like a copy.

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

Oooo sounds scary. I, too, have never crafted a one-sheet.
However, after today's post, I understand the need to give it a whirl.
Sleeves are rolled up--here I go!
Thanks so much for a great post, Pepper

Pepper said...

Hi guys,
Just stopping in for a minute. Having a great time at the conference and will tel more later.

Got a picture with Deb Raney and had lunch with Steven James - he's GREAT. His kids go to my kids' school :-) Small world.

Anyway, talk to you again a little later

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I know you are having a blast Pepper! Is your husband getting to relax any?

Casey said...

Oh Deb Raney?? Tell her "hi" from me!! :)