Other terms used for this page are “sell sheet” or “pitch sheet.” Its purpose is to show editors and agents your book is special, and encourage them to request more.
While some will tell you this page can contain a summary of all your works, I recommend a separate “one sheet” for each manuscript, unless you are pitching them as a series.
Remember, this is a professional representation of you and your work. It should be error free. If you show them a “one sheet” with mistakes, they will assume your manuscript (which is considerably more than one page long) will be full of mistakes. You don’t want to give them any reason to pass on your project!
However, if you can create a professional page design (consider using Microsoft newsletter format, or some other professional design layout software such as Illustrator) you will make a positive first impression, and they will want to see more.
To create the best possible One Sheet, include the following information in separate paragraphs or boxes:
1) Contact Information – Your complete name, address, email, links to your website, blog, and social media. If you have an agent, include their contact information here as well, after your own.
2) Image(s) – This should be an object or landscape which reflects your book’s setting, time period, topic, or theme. While your text should be black copy on white paper, consider using a color photo or graphic here.
3) Genre/Title/Word Count – While Romance, Thriller, Horror, etc are typical genres, classify it more specifically if possible after listing your title. Be sure to include an approximate word count as well. Ex. Unmade Promises - YA Historical Romance of 100,000 words.
4) Hook - This should be a powerful pitch that shows your book’s unique freshness, and will intrigue agents and editors to continue reading. It should be no longer than two or three short sentences.
5) Brief Description – Write this like back cover copy. This is sales copy designed to draw readers to your story and main characters or the urgency of your nonfiction topic and make them want to buy your book. Or (for this documents purpose) make agents and editors want to request your proposal.
6) Endorsements – A positive remark about your project by a popular author(s), or prominent professional in the field of your topic, can aid in garnering interest in your book.
7) Your professional author photo and brief bio. Your bio should focus on your qualifications for writing your story or nonfiction topic.
Edit your text to be as concise and descriptive as possible. Be sure to leave some white space between each of these elements for a clean, uncluttered appearance and ease of locating specific information.
Be sure to print out more copies than you think you will need when attending a conference. You never know when an impromptu connection in the hallway or a workshop might occur. Be prepared.
Although I’ve seen one sheets recommended on a few agents’ blogs, they seem to be optional. If you’re more comfortable with a simple document, go with that rather than trying to create something fancy. The purpose is to give you one more tool to use in your effort to entice an agent or editor to ask to see more of your work, and an amateurish one sheet will probably not do that.
Curious what the professionals are expecting? Agent Rachelle Gardner discusses one sheets on her blog today, and has links to several examples her clients submitted. Or try an image search for “author one sheet”.
Have you ever prepared a one sheet/pitch sheet?