Do you ever have those moments where you’re going about every day life and then it’s like you’re awakened to reality? I was driving down the road the other day and I looked through the rear view mirror into the back seat and I was like- WOE! There are three kids back there! When the Fuzzy French Fried Fritters did that happen? How did I get here? It’s like I woke up one morning and….BANG- fifteen years of marriage, three pregnancies, a couple of houses, a college education and two career changes just happened in a blur of fast forward motion. That’s sort of the way I feel about this whole writing thing. It’s like I woke up in a pile of manuscripts one day and realized I’d written two novels and don’t even remember doing it.
The time has come in this strange and rapid journey to take the next step. I’ve queried my little heart out and attended some small writing conferences – all good steps toward building confidence as a writer- but now it’s time for something a little bigger….THE AGENT PITCH. That’s right, five minutes with a real live agent, make that three agents, to pitch my latest novel. Am I nervous? Um, yeah, I’m nervous! I’m also giddy, excited and slightly nauseous – all the feelings one might get from bungee jumping. My biggest concern is that I don’t want to waste this opportunity. I want to be prepared. So I have been researching my average sized, slightly curvaceous fanny off to be prepared for what could possibly be five of the most important little minutes in my career as a writer. No pressure.
Here’s what I’ve done to be prepared: I’ve consulted with two very successful published authors about my pitch. One had me re-write it several times to make sure it was concise, SHORT, in close third person and that it remained in that tone throughout. Did I mention that it was short? One paragraph, that’s it. The other author recommended a short pitch line that compares the story to something the agent may be familiar with to catch their attention. Something like, The Titanic meets Twilight. Also, I’m holding a dinner party where I will pitch my book to random strangers, invited by a mutual friend. Finally, I’ve read pitches of familiar stories so I understand what information a pitch should include.
One great resource I found was found on Wow-womenwriting.com. It talks about how agents are people with dreams of making it big too. They come to writer’s conferences with the same hopes that we do: selling books. This site explains what agents dislike about the way author’s handle themselves at conferences. They realize that not all writers are good speakers but become very uncomfortable when someone shakes and cries while trying to pitch a book. Oh, please don’t let me shake and cry…PLEASE! They suggest heavily that authors practice their pitch and don’t decide to change it at the last minute. One of my favorite quotes from the blog was this:
“I wish writers would see the agents more as an equal—when there’s too much desperation in the writer’s eyes, agents tend to de-value them. If a writer is confident, I know that they don’t need me so much as we need each other.”
Maybe you’ve attended a pitch session recently. How did it go? Did you get positive feed back? Representation? Do you have advice for this bungee jumper on her first decent? I’d love to hear from you.