Monday, May 17

A 5 Minute Open Door

Well, I just made my appointments for Nationals. As usual, many of my top choices were long gone by the time I was eligible to register. (But I'm not whining, because the people who can't sign up until next week are far worse off!). I did manage to get in with an agent who would be a good match for my manuscript. Even more exciting, this year I managed to snag an editor appointment.

This is it - my shot! The door will swing open for exactly five minutes to let me talk straight to a publisher. How hard can it be to convince them that my book is exactly what they need?

Well, that's what I thought last year. I managed to sneak in three agent appointments. All three requested partials, and all three slammed the door shut on me within a month. Which is why I'm so excited to have a chance at bypassing the agent route and pleading my case directly to the publisher. I have to have a pitch-perfect pitch. For a book I haven't finished yet (but I will, no doubt). Next to a synopsis, a pitch is the most difficult thing to write. How do I distill the essence of my 95,000 word story to 5 sentences or so? I discovered last year that my pitch led with the wrong slant. Luckily, since I was actually talking to an agent, I was able to change it on the fly and convince her it could work. That experience taught me just how incredibly important it is to nail the pitch.

I'm trying not to think about it yet. Figure I should write the last 20,000 words first. And yet it lingers in my mind like a spectre. Clouding my brain constantly with its ominous threat. Highlight the romance, the comedy, the suspense, the unusual setting.....and of course, a mega-hook. Yikes! Suddenly five minutes doesn't seem like nearly enough....


  1. Christi,
    Agent Nathan Bransford had a post on his blog about the pitch last week. He suggests that you start out with the one sentence, build on that to the two paragraph, and then the five paragraph--I think. He had samples of his own that he used when trying to sell his book.

    And you're right, five minutes isn't near long enough to sell the passion you spent a year perfecting.

  2. Good luck, Christi!!! You'll be fine...if you're up for another pitching post, check out Nancy Warren's Pitch Perfect ... I love that one!

  3. I've shared this before, but at my two and only times pitching, I had a panic attack so bad my friends literally had to push me through the door. It was awful. One was to Leslie Wainger and the other one was to Kristen Nelson.
    I got one request for a full--LW, and one request for a partial from KN.
    The point?
    YOU can do it!
    Good luck, and if you need help, I'm sure crit-me will help!

  4. best of luck christi.....go get 'em tiger!