My latest proposal got a green light, so Darkyn book seven will feature Robin from Evermore as the Kyn protagonist. The working title is still Rob Forever, but that will definitely be changing in the near future. And, if all goes well, it will likely be released in January 2009.
The pitch for this particular novel involved submitting a formal synopsis and taking two phone calls to discuss it. I was very glad I had my series notebook (like a novel notebook, although more like an encyclopedia in format) on my desk while I was talking to the editor. Sometimes series proposals require you to reference back to details from earlier books, something that isn't too tough at book two but can be a real bear at book seven. As a series grows, just keeping correct running character name, status, backstory and appears-in lists is a challenge. Doing it over the phone and off the top of your head is nearly impossible.
I prefer written proposals to verbal pitches because you have time to think things through, work them out and polish them up before you put them in front of an editor. Verbal pitches often fluster me because I'm more comfortable on paper versus the phone. You never know when an editor will put you on the spot with unexpected questions during a telephone pitch, either. You can be talking about book A, and she/he may ask something like, "So who do you see as the protagonists for book B, C and D?"
I know some writers prepare index cards for pitching, and I tried that at a couple of conference editor appointments during my first years in the biz, but I never felt comfortable with handling the cards. Too nervous, I suppose. I always forgot to glance casually at the ones that I didn't drop while shuffling. And God forbid the editor ask me something that wasn't on the cards.
Have you guys any special methods or memory boosters that help you with verbal pitches and/or written proposals? Let us know in comments.