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EN 227: AYA Literature & Book Pitches

Follow the Formula

All book pitches follow the same formula, with slight modifications to allow for the type of story you're trying to tell.


The hook pulls the reader into the story's world. The following must be introduced:

  • Your main character(s)
  • Your character's world.
    • This means what your character is doing and how the world functions before the book begins and/or right when the book begins.
  • Introduce your character's want
    • All characters want something.
  • What stands in their way?
    • Obstacles between the character and their want is what creates a story. This is the introduction of conflict.


What Happens Next? The Mini-Synopsis

  • The Key Moment
    • What changes in your character's world.
  • There must be a point of no return.
    • Something changes, and this creates a domino effect your character cannot ignore.
    • If your character can ignore these changes, the story's conflict will not be great enough to sustain reader interest.
  • Highlights the journey your character will go on.


The Stakes/Consequences

  • What happens if your character fails?
    • Otherwise known as the consequences if your character cannot complete their journey.
  • Stakes must be high!
    • If the consequences to the character failing to complete their journey and rise above their obstacles aren't disastrous for the character, they aren't compelling enough.
    • Think about the absolute worst thing that can happen to your character. Usually, it has to do with the opposite of what they want (ie, if your character wants to leave town, the worst thing that can happen to them is they can't leave town.)

Other Ways of Framing Pitches:

  • Who is your main character?
  • What problem do they face?
  • What are the choices they must make in response to the problem?
  • What tension drives the story forward?


  • What does your character want?
  • Why do they want it?
  • What keeps them from getting it?



  • Why will your book appeal to YA readers?
  • Where does your book fit into the market?
    • Do your research to find comps, or recently published books with comparable plots to yours.
  • The industry norm housekeeping paragraph is done in query letters to agents. It usually includes the following:
    • Word count.
    • Category/genre (example: young adult contemporary fantasy)
    • Comps (example: The Hunger Games meets Pride and Prejudice)
    • Personalization/author bio.