- by Denise Dietz
This Thursday I fly to Chicago, where I’ll be attending a writers conference called LOVE IS MURDER. I’m scheduled for an editor/agent panel, plus a couple of author panels.
And I’ll be talking to writers who are looking for a publisher.
Therefore, I thought it might be fun to blog an imaginary pitch session:
DENI (making my pitch): In a tribute to Agatha Christie and the Beatles, the protagonist of my novel, GOTTA SING OR DIE, is an alien from another planet who assumes the face and body of a twenty-year-old and tries out for American Idol. Jaya San makes the top 12 with her original renditions of “I Wanna Borrow Your Hand” and “We All Live in a Yellow Spaceship.” A finalist is murdered, then another. Jaya doesn’t want to win the competition by default, so she sets out to find the killer…before she, too, gets eliminated. Think: STARMAN meets THE TERMINATOR meets COCOON meets Simon Cowell.
AGENT: What’s the genre?
DENI: Genre? I guess you’d call it a “fantasy-mystery.”
AGENT: You can’t have two genres. Choose one.
DENI: How about a mystery with fantasy elements? Or a fantasy with mystery elements?
AGENT: We’ll keep it simple and call it a mystery, okay? Now, let’s talk about the future because that’s more important than your book. So . . . where do you see yourself in 10 years?
DENI: I see myself writing a Jaya Say series, 26 books, with titles like GOTTA DANCE OR DIE and AMERICA’S TOP ALIEN. I see myself signing a movie option with Spielberg and appearing on Oprah and Ellen. I see mysel—
AGENT: How will you promote your series?
DENI (taken aback): Promote?
AGENT: Yes, promote. That’s the first question editors ask.
DENI: Oh. Well, alrighty then. My website, of course. Posting on the DorothyL list every day (3000 members), maybe twice a day. MySpace. Facebook. A movie trailer on YouTube. A 52-state tour. A European tour with Lee Child, Harlan Coben and Marshall Karp. Conferences like Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, NINC and Westercon. Conventions like ABA. The usual.
AGENT (looking at wristwatch): Our time is up. Why don’t you send me 3 chapters and a synopsis?
Tick-tock, tick-tock . . . 3 months later:
Dear Mr. Deitz,
Thank you for submitting GOTTA DANCE. While I like the tie-in to that song from “Singing In The Rain”, I’m afraid I’m not enthusiastic enough to work with your book. I did, however, put out a few feelers but Berkley already has a series starring an alien with a green card that tries out for Jeopardy.
Tick-tock, tick-tock . . . 18 months later:
Publishers Weekly starred review: “A fresh, imaginative concept.”
Library Journal: “Recommended for readers who are looking for a good mystery with supernatural elements. Denise Dietz lives in B.C.”
Kirkus: “…Gotta Sing or Die makes you want to sing and…”
Romantic Times: ****1/2. The steamy romance in GOTTA SING OR DIE left this reviewer breathless.”
Harriet Klausner: “Readers will appreciate the part where Jayne Sands assumes her alien shape and Paula Abdul doesn’t notice the difference.”
DorothyL: I finished GOTTA SING OR DIE last night, and while I liked the book I skipped the sex scenes, so my question is, are sex scenes really necessary in a mystery?
DorothyL response: We discussed sex in mysteries 6 weeks ago, and 2 months before that. Check the archives.
2nd DorothyL response: I don’t like mysteries with sex or cussing or dead cats because they can’t protect themselves like humans can.
See y’all next month. Warning: I’ll probably blog with a Chicago accent