by Michael Hauge

With the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference fast approaching, you want to be ready with a powerful short pitch of your novel or screenplay or biography. Here are the seven key elements of a great pitch, as I describe in detail in my book Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read.


  1. Never try to tell your whole story. You’ll get lost; you’ll run out of time; you’ll bore the agent, editor or producer; and it’s impossible anyway. Pick the KEY emotional components and succinctly reveal those: the protagonist and his or her everyday life; why we will empathize with that character; the protagonist’s VISIBLE goal; and the conflict that character must overcome to achieve it.


  1. Don’t hype your story. Don’t tell them how great it is, or how it will outsell Girl on a Train or Avatar. Let them draw their own conclusions.


  1. Don’t begin with your title or log line. Save those until the end of your pitch, to summarize the story in one sentence.


  1. Begin by revealing how you came up with the idea. This will access your passion for the story, help you overcome nervousness, and ease you into the key elements.


  1. Always mention two antecedents – recent, successful books or movies with the same genre, tone, and target market as yours.


  1. End the pitch with a question: Don’t tell agents or buyers how your story ends. Instead, leave them hanging with your hero facing their greatest obstacle. Than pause to take a breath and ask, “Do you have any questions about my story, or would you like me to send you a copy?”


  1. And if they DO have questions . . . LISTEN to exactly what they want to know about your script or manuscript, and then answer each question IN NO MORE THAN 10 SECONDS.


*** Michael Hauge is a story expert, Hollywood script coach and best-selling author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Storytelling Made Easy. Michael will share his unique approach to story, plot, and character arc in a five-hour preconference Early Bird Seminar “Create Compelling Novels and Screenplays” August 15 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The $115 registration fee includes workbook and lunch. Register here.

For information on Michael’s one-on-one coaching, his books and recordings, and to read an abundance of articles on the craft and business of story, please visit his website at