I’m counting the days until the RWA National conference. I go almost every year. I learn a ton from the workshops, have a great time with friends, discover new authors at the booksignings, and generally recharge my writing juices.
Then of course, there’s the event which we all sweat — the pitch session.
Can you hear the low murmur in the air? That’s authors practicing their elevator pitches. Three magical lines that will open the door to the “requested material ticket.” I actually got published as a result of a pitch session (though it was at my local conference. Go Central Ohio Fiction Writers!)
I have yet to work on my pitch for national — though I assure you I will<g>.
If you’re a novice pitcher, let me say first, relax. Editors and agents are just people. He or she probably got up in the morning in the same hotel you did and went through the dressing ritual same as you. She (though probably not he) worried about the run in her stocking and the chip in her toenail polish, or that she grabbed the navy shoes instead of the black.
If you fumble around it’s ok. You’re not being graded on your public speaking. The editor or agent will probably lead you though it if you need it, and if they are not understanding and helpful — you probably don’t want to work with him or her anyway.
Second, remember the basics: Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Popular fiction is not about two people struggling to love themselves and accept love. (Most of my books have this theme at their core, but that isn’t what sells a book.)
The pitch for STARJACKED IS: After the murders of his wife and unborn child, (M) an undecover operative burns to erradicate every piece of pirate scum in the galaxy, (G) but when his life is saved by a beautiful space pirate, he finds himself falling for the very person he’s sworn to destroy. (C)
Look at your pitch. If you can’t indentify the GMC neither can the editor or agent.
Third, relax. Editors and agents will usually request at least a partial. That’s why they’re there after all.
Fourth, smile. It will relax you.
So all you pitchers out there, got some advice or want to share your short pitch? I’d love to hear them!
And please feel free to suggest captions or send pet pix to the non-humanoid support crew page!
See you in DC!