What Is a Perfect Pitch? The Answer Depends on Who You Ask
I’m an English teacher, a writer, an editor, and a workshop presenter because I love words, all words. My philosophy is that if one word is good, then five words are five times better.
Yes, I’m wordy, but please don’t hold that against me.
When SA asked me to write a blog post for my workshop Pitch Perfect: Hook that Editor or Agent, Pitch like a Pro, I looked up the word “pitch” in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Did you know there are over fifty meanings for this word?
No, I’m going to go through all of them.
I hear your sighs of relief.
I have chosen three different uses for “pitch,” one that applies to baseball, one that applies to voice, and one that applies to sales.
First, “pitch” as it applies to baseball. In regard to baseball, “pitch” means “a throw” or “to throw a baseball.”
Ask a pitcher, and he will tell you perfect pitch is a pitch that the batter can’t hit even if he swings at it. I don’t think it matters if that pitch was a strike or a ball. It’s a perfect pitch if the batter swings and hits only air.
Nolan Ryan has the most perfect pitches of all pitchers in MLB with striking out 5714 batters in his twenty-seven-year career. It takes three strikes to strike out a batter, so he must have thrown 17,142 strikes during that time.
Second, “pitch” as it applies to voice. In regard to voice, “pitch” means “the property of a sound and especially a musical tone that is determined by the frequency of the waves producing it: highness or lowness of a sound.” Perfect pitch, more correctly called absolute pitch, “is a rare auditory phenomenon characterized by the ability of a person to identify or recreate a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone.” (Wikipedia)
Ask a singer what perfect pitch is and she’ll tell you that perfect pitch is having a good ear of music.
The online article “The Quick 10: 10 People with Perfect Pitch” lists Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Elle Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Florence Henderson, Mozart, Beethoven, Paul Shaffer, Jimi Hendrix, and Yanni as singers with perfect pitch. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/25552/quick-10-10-people-perfect-pitch)
Third, “pitch” as it applies to sales. In regard to sales, “pitch” means “a high pressure presentation to pursue someone to buy something; advertisement; recommendation, plug.” The pitcher might be an advertising sales person pitching an ad to a client, a TV producer pitching a TV series to a network, or an author pitching her story to an editor or agent.
The perfect pitch for any of these pitchers is the one that a pitchee can’t say NO to. (I just created a new word: pitchee, the person who is receiving the pitch.)
If you are still with me, you’re probably wondering what these different uses of the word “pitch” has to do with my workshop.
So glad you were wondering. The perfect pitch for an author is one in which she pitches (#3) her story in such a way that it sounds perfect (#2) to an editor or agent. She pitches (#1) her story, and the editor or agent catches it and runs with it around the bases of publication to a bookstore near you.
That’s a perfect pitch.
About MM Pollard
MM Pollard puts her training as a certified copy editor, her skill as English teacher extraordinaire, and her experience as editor with Black Velvet Seductions to good use in presenting workshops for writers. She has helped many writers improve their language and writing skills through her fun workshops sponsored by Savvy Authors, Writer U, many RWA chapters, and in her virtual classroom. MM is sure she can help you, too, master the fundamentals of English composition.
MM presented her first face-to-face workshop during the Florida Romance Writers’ Conference Cruise in February, 2015, and lived to show pictures! The Greater Detroit RWA wowed her when their program director invited her to give a workshop during their June, 2016, meeting. MM still pinches herself to make sure she isn’t dreaming! She would love to present at more meetings and conferences in the future as well as continue her online workshops.
MM Pollard, the MM in Workshops with MM,
certified copy editor,
editor, Black Velvet Seductions
MM’s Fundamentals of English at http://queenofenglish.wordpress.com