Most of Chapter 12 from Story Sense by Paul Lucey is not terribly applicable to novels, however, I found his commentary on pitching brilliant.
Believe in the wonderfulness of your work.
Whew, that might be the hardest part.
-Practice, practice, practice. Pitch to your friends, videotape yourself and watch it, have a friend pitch your pitch to you. You can not practice too much.
-Be on time. Dress professionally. Do not waste the buyer’s time, but be tolerant of interruptions on the buyer’s end.
-Do not sound apologetic or self-deprecating. Do not mumble. Maintain eye contact.
-Do your best to tell the story dramatically. Do not read from a prepared page, be a storyteller.
-Describe the plot arc, the problem, the characters and their motivations.
-The story should end cleanly, unless you’re pitching a series. Then explain where you plan to take book 2, 3, 4, etc.
-Suggest a target audience. A genre this might with.
-Do it all in 2 minutes or less. (Also, consider prepping the twenty second elevator version, which you use to garner a formal pitching meeting with an agent or editor or you use when someone asks what you write.)
-If they aren’t interested, be polite and gracious (you may be pitching in front of them again). They aren’t rejecting you, they just aren’t interested in the particular story you have for them today. Rejection is part of writing.
-Note their comments, you might use them to rewrite or polish your work. But don’t buy everything they say wholesale. Give it proper consideration. Your work is a reflection of the story you want to tell. Be true to it.
-At the very least, you have gone to battle and survived. The next time around should be a little easier.
Tomorrow: my pitch, sort of.