Tuesday, August 10

Batter up!

As most of you know, I live in the middle of famous sweet corn country! I'm not complaining, I wouldn't live anywhere else. But, as far as writing conferences go, there aren't a lot to choose from. At least not locally. For a few years, a small group of us put on a multi-genre conf, and it was good, but not RWA based.

For me to travel to Orlando isn't practical of financially feasible. Even the Denver groups are difficult to attend.

However, The Heart of Denver RWs is hosting a one-day event in October featuring Christine Witthohn of Book Cents lit agency. I jumped to sign up for a pitch.

Now, I'm panicked.

Even though I've been at this biz for about a 101 years now, my pitching consists of exactly twice--once to Leslie Wainger and once to Kristen Nelson, both in the same day.

I had such a horrible panic attack that I thought I'd pass out. Only by my friends propping me up did I get through it. LW requested the full, out of pity, I think.

I'm kidding, I know she's too busy for pity requests, but it was awful.

Kristen Nelson requested a partial, too. But I had spoken to her several times about the before mentioned conference our group hosted (she came over to it), and I was at least able to form a coherent sentence.

I felt ridiculous reciting my tag line. Maybe it was my stuttering that made it so horrible.

Can I just talk about the book without doing that? Or is it a must?

Anyone out there got any great advice for a pitch for somebody who isn't great at bat?


  1. First of all, if you've written a query letter, then your pitch is already done! It doesn't have to be memorized or anything - you can read it straight off of cards. They honestly just want you to be coherent.

    And yes, you need a hook to start the whole thing. Exactly what would snare people on the back cover of the book.

  2. Ok, thanks.
    I knew you were going to say that!
    Double damn.
    I'm so shy til you get to know me. Hard for a social fool to pitch!

  3. Gotta agree with Christi. You need a hook to start off and, from there, you could use your query info.

    One thing that helps (I do it, too) is to read it to your mirror. Just stand there, read it from your notecards or a piece of paper. Do it several times. Use Brandi...make her sit across the kitchen table from you and pitch to her. Practice, practice, practice...I know you'll bat 1000 (that's good, btw!).

  4. Don't know how I'd do in a face to face with an ed/ag. I've heard a lot about the Elevator Pitch. You should know what that means, but I think if you can sum up your work in a few sentences, you're good.

    Deep breaths, dry palms, and a quick prayer. Confidence in you and your work goes a long way, and translates to your audience. All they can really say is no, and let's face it, we've heard that before. Haven't we?

  5. No advice (I've pitched excactly once--sigh), just empathy. If I could go along and push you forward and say, "You can do it!" I would. So consider yourself pushed!

  6. D'Ann,
    Guess who I pitched on Sunday morning? Christine Whitton! You have nothing to be afraid of. She is great.
    She listens, she asks questions, she asked for a full off of my incoherant."I'm working on YA about a 16 yo short boy who is relocated through witness protection because his mom's boyfriend is blown up and comes to find out the entire town is a witness protection town." Yep, didn't go with the pitch I sweated over for a week and half, just winged it, because like you I get too nervous. She asked for a full from all of us at the table, except the guy who at 700 page norse mythology story, but she was kind even to him, telling him when he edits it down to keep her posted. I figure asking for a full when it's email queries isn't that big of deal, if they don't like it, they hit delete or return. No harm, no foul. But at least, it's a cut in line.

  7. Thanks for coming by, and giving advice, all.

  8. sorry, never pitched (yet) but I'd definitely be practicing...it might come out as Swahili once I got there, but practice practice practice!