FACT: Spending time perfecting your novel’s pitch in your query letter is the gift that will keep on giving for the life of your novel.
In publishing, simply put, a novel’s pitch is not just used once.
1) Writer creates the pitch for the query letter to get agent/editor attention.
2) Agent signs author, uses the pitch for Agent’s submission letter (or uses it as a base to to create a submit-oriented pitch for editors).
3) Editor loves the pitch, asks for the manuscript, reads it, loves it and now needs to get enthusiastic second reads. Editor will use the author/agent’s pitch to get second reads on board.
4) Second reads love it too. Editor now has to go to editorial board to pitch the novel to decision makers. You guessed it! Editor will use the pitch to generate excitement in this meeting so as to get permission and funding to buy it.
5) Editor buys novel and readies it for publication. The pitch is then shared with the catalog/jacket copy department to write the copy that will go on the book jacket or online for description of the novel.
6) Editor heads to Sales Conference with the pitch in hand. Time to get all the sales reps excited who are going sell-in the title to booksellers & libraries to generate the pre-orders that determine the initial print run and marketing dollars that will be spent on the book.
7) Sales reps hit the road. They use the pitch to get booksellers to read the Advanced Reading Copy (of which they get hundreds in any sell-in period).
8) Booksellers love it. Order copies for their stores. Book gets published and now booksellers will use the pitch to hand-sell to customers.
I think you get the picture. The pitch you are creating in your query letter is the second most important asset for your novel and directly impacts the success of your career. And just in case you are wondering, writing a great book is the number one most important asset.
No pressure or anything. LOL.