Medical suspense writer CJ Lyons has posted an excellent article on how to pitch your novel. She outlines several types of pitches, all of which you should prepare before meeting an agent or editor. For example, a hook line gets the audience curious and gives an idea of what the book is like. So for my work in progress, a horror novel set in Civil War Missouri, the hook line could be:
A Confederate guerrilla and a Union officer discover there's something more dangerous in the woods than each other.
That might be a bit too long, but I'm only a third of the way through so I have time to work on it.
Oh, and CJ Lyons is a pediatric ER doctor, so don't tell me you're too busy to write!