PITCH YOUR BOOK AUSTRALIA was a online pitching competition that I ran in 2012 and 2013, judged by Pantera Press.
The competition was simple.
Competitors submitted a two minute book pitch in video format. The winner won $500 for the best delivered pitch that met market demand and was considered most publishable.
Check out the top ten pitches!
2012 TOP TEN
2012 Winner: Knowing Olivia
In terms of the video, it was a great production idea. I loved the use of drawn figures and interaction. This is something we see quite a bit in advertising now, and I have seen great examples of this type of clip working really well for a modern audience. So I think it was a great way to pitch the story and the video was well put together. Unusually, for me, it was more the story line of this book that grabbed me than the video. In actual fact, this was the only pitch that I rated higher for ‘book concept’ than I did for ‘presentation’. The story comes across as really interesting, and very powerful. I do hope that the author submits his manuscript to us.
My only other feedback is that it would have been nice if the author identified the intended audience in the pitch. I assume the audience is YA (15 years +), but that wasn't made 100% clear. But otherwise, for me this pitch was great.
2012 Runner Up: Tempest City
This video was a very very close second for me. I thought the presentation itself was absolutely fabulous. The music was wonderful and very powerful, and it worked so well with the imagery and voice over selected. It was extremely suspenseful – which is certainly in keeping with what you would expect form this kind of book. This presentation hands down would be an amazing promotional trailer to use for the published book. The presentation does a fabulous job of telling us the story line for the book, and it was a great book concept. As I said above, this was one of my top picks, and it was only beat out by Knowing Olivia by a fraction of a mark. I do hope that this author submits his manuscript to us.
2012 Runner Up: Autumn Earthbound
This was a great concept for a presentation. I loved the ‘animated’ story line at the beginning. I thought this was very clever, and as I said above about Knowing Olivia, is a really smart way to promote the book. What I especially enjoyed about this pitch was that not only did we have this promotional element of the story line (that would make a great trailer) but we also got to meet that actual author. I also thought the author was very clever in comparing the book to similar authors – this makes it much easier to get a real understanding for the book as to who it is for, where it lies in the marketplace and so on. Discussing the themes in the book, as well as underlying messages and the story worked really well for this pitch. The author did a fabulous job of presenting his actual book concept, with humour thrown in which was great.
What PanteraPress thought of Haven Town:
This was a very humorous pitch. I really enjoyed the concept behind the presentation. It was an entertaining way to present the pitch, and nice to be introduced to the author. Also nice to have an excerpt read from the book! This pitch gave us great insight into what the book is about.
Loved the very ending, very cheeky and fun! My only feedback would be that for something like this, eye contact with the camera/audience is important. Although I appreciate that to do all of it in one take would be extremely tricky!
What PanteraPress thought of The Reluctant Messiah:
This presentation was a great combination of voice over, musical track and images. It all worked well and was very complimentary. I think this video would make a great promotion for the book, not just a pitch.
The book concept itself was a very clever concept. This is quite a humorous take and it would be great to get an idea if the humour comes through in the writing of the book or if it is just the idea.
What PanteraPress thought of Holywell:
This pitch has fabulous film quality. Very suspenseful. The imagery is very very very strong and wonderfully put together. It would make a fabulous promotional video for the book. It was very dramatic – which I loved, and was of course in keeping with the genre of the book. The voice over for me was not as appealing, and I felt that at that point some of the suspense was lost. That said, the voice over did give us a great idea of the book. My only other feedback is that it would be great, for the sake of a pitch, if we could be given an idea of the intended audience, specifically.
What PanteraPress thought of Kangaroo Playground:
This is obviously a clever concept, and a great idea in that it is very holistic where the book is only one element of a fun and education concept for teaching kids the building blocks for literacy and numeracy. The actual concept is something that would be received well in the market, but it would really come down to the actual execution of the story in the book. In terms of the actual presentation, that quality and execution was not amazing and at times I found the background noises distracted from what was being said (although at other times they were really cute and added to bringing the story across). I did like that we could see imagery used in the book, as well as being shown how interactive the topic is with it’s online elements etc.
What PanteraPress thought of Children of Winata:
The music used as the background to this pitch was very powerful and evocative – it was a wonderful choice. However, I'm not sure that the imagery was as impactful as it could have been. While it was great to have the blurb at the end of the pitch, it would have been great if instead the elements from the blurb came across in the actual pitch as well rather than leaving it right until the end. I really liked that the author included quote s from within the book as well. In terms of the actual pitch, I felt that the words on screen could have stayed a little bit longer, they seemed to disappear a bit too quickly which effected the impact of these strong statements. There were also a few sentences that to me, didn't quite work or make sense – e.g. “they came to take no prisoners” this doesn't quite work as to “take no prisoners” means to do things in an aggressive way, without considering harm they might do to achieve their objectives” but to “come to take no prisoners” sounds like they came in peace with no intention to harm anyway. So wording was a bit confusing, and so meaning/impact was a bit muddled.
What PanteraPress thought of Accidental Sailor:
This presentation was very informative. All the information was there! It was fabulous to hear an excerpt from the book (which is something different, and great to include!). This pitch gave us great insight into the actual contents of the book. However, for me, the presentation itself didn't really have the necessary level of excitement. The voice over was quite emotionless, and coupled with still photos – we really didn't get the vibe of excitement and adventure which is clearly what the book would be about. The photos were wonderful and we do get an idea of the great adventures that must occur in the book, through them – they just weren't gripping.
At the end of the pitch I had a great uplifted feeling – based on the book concept/story line.
What PanteraPress thought of Wolfhunter:
I loved the end of this presentation where the author has said, “For all these under the spell of A Game of Thrones… another world awaits”. This is seriously clever, and a wonderful line. It also helps us define the target audience for the book and more of the subject matter for the book. This is a great way to pitch the book. I also liked that they used quotes from within the book, with was very evocative.
In terms of other feedback on the presentation, for me the words didn’t last long enough on the screen to read properly or give a great impact. I also felt that the pitch didn’t really give enough information on the book subject itself. And for me, this video wasn’t as engaging in comparison to the other videos.
2013 TOP TEN
2013 Winner: Tuesday and Dash:
A great story concept. The enthusiasm of the author really came across in this pitch. This pitch did a great job of showing us exactly who the audience was, giving us a taste for the story, and presumably (hopefully) the humour throughout the story as depicted in the simple, clever and funny pitch video itself. This pitch is a great example that shows us that a good pitch always comes down to a great story, and for something like a video pitch that you don’t need to use fancy special effects – simplicity can work when done in the right way (and in keeping with the story).
Honourable Mention: Frog's Life in the Toilet:
A very well put together pitch. Visually this pitch was sensational. Simple, clever, funny and a seriously high level of execution and production. My only comment would be that the text at the very end giving us more information needs to play for longer as it speeds by too quickly. Otherwise I think this was a wonderfully engaging pitch – and really targets the direct reading and publishing audience of the book.
Runner Up: The Zero Out
Really well put together. The music and tone for this pitch worked fabulously with the story line. It was really engaging, and the story itself seems quite unique. Definitely something that had me wanting to read more.
What PanteraPress thought of Dream Walker:
A great pitch. I was immediately engaged, and keen to hear more (which is a great sign). The story itself was quite unique, and I loved the idea that it was the ‘other world’ psychic ability mixed in with a really relatable world of today, in an every day office environment. I thought the wrap up at the end worked really well- telling us in more detail who the audience is, and I thought the mix of “50 shades meets Agatha Christie” was a great tool. I also liked the “play detective with Ada Summers” it had a great ring to it, and is something that immediately engages the listener/reader to go on this journey with Ada. This is a manuscript I would certainly love to see submitted to us at PanteraPress.
What PanteraPress thought of Death Dancer:
The story was quite interesting. I had trouble processing all the relevant information – I had to watch the video a few times. The text on the video didn't match up with the voice over, so there was lots of information being presented at the one time. I would suggest that when the text is on screen the voice over pauses. I really enjoyed the handwritten imagery on the chalkboard. And I really liked the final line, I thought it ended the pitch on a great note.
What PanteraPress thought of The Water Cooler:
I really enjoyed the story concept. This is something I would definitely love to be submitted to us at PanteraPress. I also loved the video, I think it was really well put together. However, the combination of the two didn't work so well for me. I wasn't 100% sure who the audience for this book was. The description was “light adult fiction” and the tale of the story seems to fit in within that. However the actual video and voice over seemed to be more suited for an alternative/cult type fiction. Something more esoteric.
What PanteraPress thought of I Wish I Could...:
A very humorous concept, and I liked how it all came together in the video. I was slightly confused at the beginning of the pitch when they stories didn't seem to match up together. I wonder if it might be better to have part of the wrap up at the beginning explaining that this is a short collection of stories?
What PanteraPress thought of White Eyes:
Really well done! I loved the combination of the ‘teaser/promo’ with the author chat. I think this was done really well. The story itself was very engaging, and the imagery really strong. And then it was fabulous to ‘meet’ the author and feel her enthusiasm and get a deeper feeling for the book. I think this was a great pitch.
What PanteraPress thought of The Curse of the Shattered Scepter:
A good opening – telling us who the pitch is actually targeted at. The script of this video was great, I think this would be really engaging when written or spoken in a pitch. The imagery wasn't as strong as it could have been in the video, but I think the script itself was great and really did what it needed to do. I enjoyed (and chuckled) at the very ending of the pitch too – a great final note!
What PanteraPress thought of Dawn:
I loved that we got a taste for the actual book here, with the author reading an extract to us. A great and engaging extract, and isn't that what a pitch is all about – drawing readings into the story! I was definitely drawn in.