Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Fridays With Agent Kristin: Episode 6 – Pitch versus The Synopsis

STATUS: On plane in just a few hours to head to Italy. There might not be much blogging next week.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? YELLOW by Coldplay

Scheduling this post so hope it works correctly!

I’m going to lay to rest, once and for all, the difference between a pitch and a synopsis.

Okay, that’s a little grandiose but you get the picture.



13 Responses

  1. Andrea Mack said:

    Thanks for this informative vlog! I have a question though. Some agents or editors ask for a 1-2 page synopsis, not the up to 10 pages you mention here. How do I decide what to include?

  2. JeffO said:

    Thanks, Kristin, and have an enjoyable and productive trip to Italy.

    Andrea – what I’ve seen is they usually tell you what they want on their submission guidelines, whether it’s a long synopsis or a short one.

  3. Patchi said:

    I’ve spent days researching this and you summed it up in 4 minutes and 26 seconds. Your vlogs are a great resource!

    Andrea, from what I understand, the 1-2 page synopsis is a play-by-play that focuses on the major points of the novel. You want the story arc to be clear, from beginning to end. And if you can let your voice shine through, you have a winner.

  4. Tex said:

    I was with Andrea up there – 10 pages sure sounds reasonable to me, especially when your actual book is 300+, but (aside from querying on pink perfumed stationery), NOTHING seems surer to get you tossed into the trash these days than over-length on any front – query too long, word count too high, synopsis too detailed. Like Jeff says, though, you can’t ever go wrong with following the directions – the hardest part is knowing what to do when explicit directions aren’t listed.

    But to the subject: great post, needless to say, very friendly and informative. I wonder if the pitch changes at all if you’re giving it in person – I’ve got one of those scheduled in May, and I’m quaking in my boots at the very idea…!

  5. KimberlyReidYA said:


    It’s been a while, but I’ve done a few conference pitch sessions – it’s actually how I landed Kristin as my agent. I found it best to keep the pitch as short as the one or two lines Kristin describes in her vlog. Start by introducing yourself; briefly include your writing history if you think it works in your favor. If you’re a fan of one of the agent’s clients or her blog, let her know. The intro relaxes you and gives the agent a second to transition from her last pitch to you. Then give your 1-2 line pitch. If you’ve been making the most of the conference and meeting people, you’ve probably said your pitch 20 times before meeting the agent, so it should come more easily. Then leave the last half of your pitch session (they typically last 8-10 minutes) for questions you or the agent may have. The agent will usually ask a few about your pitch. These minutes go by quickly, so don’t worry that you’ll have to fill the time. If you do have time left, either ask substantive questions you’ve always wanted to ask an agent, or go ahead and wrap up. The agent will probably appreciate a spare minute or two since they do many pitches, all day long. Good luck!

  6. Tex said:


    Let me go a step past the usual and say that that is without a doubt the most helpful thing I ever WILL read. Thank you so much for taking the time to spell it out for me! I will start hammering those lines out right now, so that by the time I actually get up to the agent, I can focus on the friendlier, impromptu side of things, and just whip this out of my pocket worry-free. Much obliged, ma’am!

  7. Alice said:

    I love this series, Agent Kirsten! You always seem professional and likable in your posts, and it’s lovely to see it confirmed in your videos.

    Thanks for being so invested in writers. We really appreciate the help!

  8. Alice said:

    Typo. Argh. The worst kind of typo, even! Plus, I can’t fix it. Don’t hate me. I promise I know your name.

  9. Toni Adwell said:

    Thank you for posting this. I recently found your blog through the tutorials on writer’s digest, and your information has been amazingly helpful!

    Have fun in Italy!

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