Here’s the pitch I used for Girl|Alien at the 2012 PNWA Conference. Out of 12 agents and editors pitched, I got 5 direct requests and 3 requests to “send to this person in my office” which makes 8 out of 12. For the 4 “noes” it was usually that they didn’t represent YA SF or as one put it, “aliens” (even though the “Alien” in the title is a misnomer—Grett’s more of a highly evolved/genetically-engineered human). I don’t feel any rejections were from the pitch or story, it was mostly that it was hard to tell which YA agents sold YA SF so I pitched them all.
We had 3 minutes to pitch our stories, so that gave us about 60 seconds to give the pitch. (Note this is not a query letter and should not be read as such). Here it is:
Hi, I’m Andrew (or some relevant comment if she reads my tag). I’ve written a Young Adult Science Fiction novel called Girl Alien (did not say Girl-bar-Alien :). It’s complete at 95,000 words.
Grett just wants to be a normal, human teenager, to hang with her friends, and to play on the Slapball team at her new school. But there’s this voice in her head that tells her to do things like run into burning buildings and to not “kill” (yes, I did air quotes)—even though she’s part of a warrior clan.
She comes across a boy—the first of her kind she’s ever met—and when they kiss, her powers explode. She gets super strength, she can change her appearance (I wave my hand in front of my face), and her hair grows long and starts doing things on its own. (more waving). The problem is that her alien side has also come alive, and now wants her to enslave her friends and take over the city.
When the rest of the aliens finally arrive, Grett must make a choice: either take her rightful place at their side as eventually conquerors of the planet, or convince her alien side to help defend her human friends from the attack.
I got a variety of questions after that, many about what the world is like, what the society is like, who the main characters are, what age is this for, concerns about the word count, and then the dreaded “what book is this like” and the best I could come up with on the spot was Percy Jackson, although this is totally not anything like that except that the main character has extraordinary powers.
And now here’s the exciting calling card I made for Girl | Alien: (I redacted my phone when I made the image to put up here, not a typo).