Conference Tip # 2 Prepare a One Sheet

A One Sheet is an important tool for pitching your manuscript. But to a newbie it is a mystery.

A One Sheet is an important tool for pitching your manuscript. But to a newbie it is a mystery.

When I attended my first conference, I didn’t have one of these. I had nothing to really pitch. No one told me about them, and I never saw one before that first conference. If you have a book to pitch, a one sheet helps showcase it and draw the attention of editors and agents.

A one sheet sometimes called a pitch sheet or a sell sheet is a page of information. The most important things about your book and you are available at a glance. It contains a blurb about your book and your bio. It can have artwork or be plain. If you aren’t good at creating flyers, I would definitely suggest keeping it simple. Use a one-sheet for both fiction and non-fiction.

Here are two links for examples. Fiction and Nonfiction.

The simplest one sheet has the book blurb, biography, and your business card stapled to the corner. (This is another important use for that business card.)

Parts of a sell sheet

Personal info: Name, address, phone, email and website and/or blog links. The most common place for this info is in the banner at the top. But it can be placed on the bottom or anywhere it is easy to see.

Hook:

A sentence or two capturing the books uniqueness. You want agents and editors to keep reading.

Blurb

Make sure the blurb is as concise and interesting as you can make it. Look at back covers on your favorite books for examples. It should be a brief description of your book. Like back cover it should draw the reader to your story, introduce main characters, and give a glimpse of the conflict. Don’t tell the whole story or ending. No questions. (You know: How will she manage to resist him?) Save those for the synopsis.

For non-fiction you want to capture the urgency of your subject matter. Again check out the back cover of books.

In both cases you don’t want the blurb to be more than a short paragraph or two. Short being the operative word.

Genre

List the genre, i.e. Mystery, Romance or Romance Mystery. For non-fiction, examples would be Contemporary Christian Living, Apologetics, or Women’s Issues.

Word Count

Fiction must be finished so the word count is specific. Whether it is 50,000 or 90,000 mention it. This lets the interested party see if your word count meets their needs.

Non-fiction may not be finished so write an estimate with a projected completion date.

Biography

A short bio listing any writing credits and a bit about yourself. Any qualifications for writing your non-fiction such as degrees, ministry, and personal experience goes here as well. Write it in third person. Again be concise and interesting. A few lines focusing on you as it relates to this manuscript.

Photo

This photo is optional. If you choose to use one, be sure your headshot is professional-looking. No selfies. Here is where you can staple your business card to your sheet instead. FYI: My one-sheet is of the simple variety.

Check and double check

If you are comfortable adding pictures or artwork, great. These can make your single sheet pop. But a plain white sheet neatly done with no grammar or punctuation errors can go further than a fancy one with poorly written content. Be sure to have at least two others check for errors. Nothing is more blaring than an obvious word misspelled or the use of their when you mean they’re. A well-done one-sheet should encourage agents, editors and publishers to ask further questions. Hopefully, one of those will be: can you send me your proposal.

But I have no book

Create a one-sheet describing your short stories, poems or articles you want to pitch. Or skip the one-sheet all together. There are other ways to pitch your work at a conference and I’ll talk about those in an upcoming post.

Here is a link further explaining a one sheet.

The Pitch-Sheet and One-Sheet http://kayedacus.com/2007/08/28/beyond-the-first-draft%E2%80%94the-pitch-sheet-and-one-sheet/

Those of you who have created one-sheets I would love to hear your tips.

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