My First

I’ll be having my first pitch experience this spring when I get to attend (for the 2nd time) the Storymakers Conference in Utah.
I’m not nervous yet, but there’s plenty of time for that. 🙂
And really, I’m not even sure what story I’ll pitch. I have a number of manuscripts sitting here and May is a long ways off. And I also started thinking, would it be okay to throw a couple pitches out at one session or is that not right? Something to think about.
Anyway, I got very lucky after making a stupid mistake. I’d did my time conversion wrong, Central to Mountain, and I actually registered an hour after registration opened. All pitches were filled at that point. But I got an email in asking to be on the waiting list and I got in that way.
What probably happened is that some people signed up for a pitch session AND a manuscript consultation with their agent of choice, and since they got the ms consult, they didn’t need the pitch too. So they dropped out of the pitch list.
Yay for me!
So what I’m wondering is if you’ve done a pitch, can you tell me about your experience. And any advice would be welcome. 🙂

4 Responses

  1. I’ve pitched at three conferences. It gets easier each time, of course; as the saying goes, practice and all that. A friend of mine writes her pitch down and has it with her. She tries to memorize it but keeps the notes handy just in case. I don’t like to sound rehearsed, so I just make sure I have it in my head that I know the core of the story. Think of it like telling someone about a book you’ve read—one you really like and you want them to read it. They say, “What was it about?” And you say . . .

  2. I should add your answer to the question should NOT be a blow-by-blow of the plot. Always start with the broad picture then fill in details. For Peter I start with, “It’s about a British spy in the 1960’s whose lover is accused of espionage. Peter saves him, but then they have to leave the country, and then Peter begins to suspect Charles is really an enemy agent and starts investigating.” Then I’m ready with a couple of comparisons: “Sort of like John Le Carré in tone.” They’ll usually ask questions that allow you to elaborate on any part of the plot that interests or confuses them. I was once asked, “Why the 1960’s?” And I admitted, “I didn’t want them to have the current technology. I wanted an older vibe, and to be closer to the Cold War era.”

  3. Wow, that sounds scary! But I’m sure you’ll be fine. I would’ve thought focussing on one story will show that you are dedicated to working with agents/editors in making it the best it can be better than throwing lots of stuff into the ring (and mean you can concentrate on making it sound good), but I’ve never done anything like this, so I wouldn’t know!

  4. Here’s what I’ve learned from my pitching experiences at conferences. Have one solid pitch but always be prepared with a backup!!! Maybe even a third backup to that. Hone the main pitch but also be prepared to give a really good pitch for the other works. My first time pitching, the editor said it wouldn’t work for her line because my heroine was too old. (I think she was 32?–that particular publisher only had heroines in their 20s, which I’d never noticed even after reading that line voraciously.) Had I not had another idea ready to pitch, I would have walked away from that session empty handed, but she liked the second idea and asked me to send it to her.

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