Pitching a sports book can seem like a daunting task to an outsider. Yesterday we interviewed Jason Turbow, co-author of the The Baseball Codes–getting a candid explanation of how he pitched the book.
Turbow revealed how his freelance career (he’s written for The New York Times, SportsIllustrated.com, and mediabistro.com) helped him find an agent, but also shared his research-intensive pitch writing process.
Here’s more about the pitch-writing process: “The pre-preparation in having the idea ready to pitch was key … the final pitch was enormous. We broke down as many of the rules as we could, did pre-research … an ex-ball player agreed to sit down with us and have a very candid conversation about the code.”
He continued: “That turned into the sample chapter for the pitch. Eventually, it turned into the introduction to the book. He told some great stories. And that helped us give kind of an insider’s perspective [in the pitch]. Between a sample chapter and a long explanation of what these rules are–because it gets kind of complex–the pitch was about 40 or 50 pages. Essentially it was all geared toward building excitement.”
Press play on the player embedded below to listen to the whole interview.
Turbow also explained how a combination of professional connections, luck, and tenacity helped him find an agent with his co-author: “We had as fully-formed an idea as we could without putting anything on paper. Then one day we saw a stranger in the press box. We found out he was there writing a Willie Mays book. He was a published author already, he knew people. Immediately, we told him our idea. He loved it and said, ‘I’m going to give it to my agent,’”
Turbow concluded: “He was a real champion for us. He gave it to her that day. Then he sent it to her a few weeks later, and then sent it again a couple months after that. But it wasn’t until we finally had a face-to-face meeting and refused to leave the agent’s office until she looked at our pitch that we had put on paper–then she was like, ‘Wow, this is a great idea.’”