The Art and Chaos of the Live Pitch

Hello Hopefuls,

As I said in my recent posts, I attended the Northern Kentucky Writer’s Conference last month and it was an eye-opening and incredibly humble experience to say the least.

Soooo, let’s start at the top.  In this post I will be talking about the live pitch, which in essence is when you attend a conference and pay an extra amount to sit with a real live agent and pitch your book.  You have roughly ten minutes to bring your manuscript to life and pique their interest without losing your nerve and babbling like an idiot.  Trust me, it is one of the toughest things I’ve done in my life up to this point.

I pre-selected my agent of choice and flirted with the idea of 2 more pitches, but when I went back to sign up their schedule was full.  I couldn’t get a sit down with them, but I did have an appointment in the afternoon with an agent from the Seymour Agency.  But this blog isn’t about that live pitch, it’s about the train wreck that I laid out early that morning.

I went to register at about 8:30 a.m. after about 4 hours of what I would loosely call sleep.  I tossed and turned, still trying to get my live pitch down in my head, but I couldn’t see through the fog – couldn’t nail down what I wanted to say in my ten minutes of fame and glory.  But hey, I can ad-lib, right?  Do it all the time for work.  I would just use the lunch hour to write down my thoughts and be primed for my 1:40 meeting.  No doubt I would knock it out of the park!  As they say, the best laid plans often go astray – and that was certainly the case.

As I said, I arrived early to register and noticed an agent that I really wanted to pitch to leisurely sipping her coffee.  She was early and I decided to cease the moment and introduce myself.  Being cool and collected, I said hello and explained that I wanted to pitch to her but her schedule was full.  All I wanted was to put my face to a name and hopefully make some type of impact so that she would ask to see my work and possibly represent me as an agent.  It ABSOLUTELY backfired.  She was incredibly gracious and kind and said, “well I guess it’s a good thing I’m early, why don’t we sit and you can tell me about your book?”  Time froze and I’m pretty sure all of the color left my face, not to mention my knees nearly buckling out from under me.  After mumbling an obscenity I decided to give it a whirl.  How bad could it bed?  Besides, it would be great practice and surely I could wing it.  WRONG!

I sat down, proceeded to massacre the pitch, allowing verbal diarrhea to spew forth like an idiot.  I was mortified. She understood that I was nervous and graciously asked me to send her the pages – even though she was likely being polite. When it was over, I tried to recant the meeting and it was all a blur.  I don’t even think I gave her the title of the manuscript!  I was ready to pack my bag, skip the 1:40 pitch I had scheduled and start drinking at 8:45 a.m.  Needless to say, the day got better and I learned a lot during the seminar (more to come on that in later posts), then I drank wine over dinner.

Moral of the story: if you go to a conference and intend to do a live pitch, make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected.  You never know when a chance encounter might land you on a couch with an agent – and you better have your shit together!

A picture is NOT worth a thousand words

Hello Hopefuls,

I’ve recently been asked, why don’t you add pictures to your blog?  The short answer is that this is a writer’s blog designed to help fledgling authors like myself.  Even though my first novel hasn’t been published yet, I HAVE gone through the trials and trepidations of trying to give birth to my novel for the last two years.  Okay, cue the ranting monologue.

In this world teens and twenty-somethings insisting that everything be visual, that reading without pictures takes way too long, I have one word  – de-evolution.  Allow me to explain.  As a species, we have evolved from our Cro-Magnon ancestors who drew on caves in the absence of a unified language.  However, in today’s world of Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook Live, Youtube and God knows what else, we have become a society of images, not words.  When we evolved, we learned to navigate the pitfalls of language; to string together eloquent elongated words that formed a web of mental imagery.  We told stories about our heritage, wrote huge novels about magnificently epic stories that remain classics some 100 years later.  But now, in this new world of clicking, tagging and posting, all we do – or seem to have the time for – is look at images to convey messages.  De-evolution at it’s best.

I am a writer.  Whether or not I ever get a book published is irrelevant because I am still and will always be a writer – a lover of words and imagery, similes and metaphors that force pictures into the imagination.

So, in closing, IF this were a gardening blog, or a carpentry blog, pictures would certainly be appropriate – but it’s not.   This is a writer’s blog so it is and always will be full of words.

Gone Fishin’

Hello Hopefuls,

I have been away from this blog for a year, trying to finish my manuscript and it has been challenging.  I’ve decided to dedicate this particular entry to the emotional side of what we do – or try to do – because it can be crazy making!  I do promise to write more frequently and not ghost any possible followers (not that I have an abundance of followers at the moment, but hey – quality vs. quantity, right!)

Little bit about me, I am in my 40’s (ouch!) and run a local catering company in the Midwest, so I’m well versed on running a large company, talking to clients and even public speaking.  Which brings me to the most interesting part of this whole process.  People at work, acquaintances and even my close friends know that I like to write, hell, some even knew that I was writing a book, but when it came to me explaining what my book was about I froze up and damn near wet myself.  I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.  I can stand up in front of a couple hundred people and talk about the wacky world of catering, or how to plan an event, but talking about my book made me feel like that awkward teenager that I left behind in eighth grade.

Interestingly enough, I attended the Northern Kentucky Writer’s Conference (https://kentuckywritingworkshop.com/) recently and found myself amidst a group of people that were in the same boat.  A surgeon writing a medical thriller, someone who works in D.C. writing a romance novel and a Midwest mother of 4 writing a Sci-Fi/Fantasy series – all of them had the same feelings of inadequacy.  It made me feel close to normal again, made my anxiety dissipate and allowed me to give my in-person pitch without tossing my lunch (more on my in-person pitch in my future posts).

Moral of the story: as a new author you have to become comfortable with your material – no matter how personal it might feel.  I didn’t want people who knew me in a professional capacity to find out that I was a paranormal freak; that I LOVED ghost stories and supernatural thrillers about “what happens next”.  They might think I’m nuts, or at the very least – strange.  But if I’m gonna put my heart (and about a year and a half of my free time) into a manuscript, then I better be ready to put it out there to the universe and be PROUD!

I am a horrible blogger!!

Hello Hopefuls!

I can’t thank you enough for your amazing comments and kind words. Writing is not for the faint of heart, and blogging isn’t easy either, but I started this blog to gain a platform.  Everything I had researched with regard to getting published was about having a social media platform or a blog so I did it – come to find out that having a platform is far more important when you’re trying to get a non-fiction manuscript on the market.  At any rate, I haven’t written on this blog for about a year so I probably have no followers at this point.  Who follows a blog with a ghosted writer, right?  Your comments inspired me to continue writing and I will be sure to write a blog at least once a week.  I’m not so concerned about a platform anymore, but knowing that my trials over the last year may be able to help other fledgling writers makes it all worth while!

Little bit of housekeeping now.  Many of you asked about my blog platform and I have to be honest, I don’t know crap about web sites, graphics or programming.  However, I am VERY fortunate to have a great local company that agreed to design my site and make it “idiot proof” (my words, not theirs), so I can’t take much credit.  It is a word press platform but they have made it SO user friendly that even I can’t screw it up!  Thank you Mikey and Andy!

Secondly, there were questions about my research being accurate and I want to state that EVERYTHING I write in this blog is based off of my own research, and based solely on my own experience.  IF I have used information from a source, it is put into my own words and in my unique writing style, so it’s all original content.  Everything I write in this blog is intended for new authors trying to navigate the pitfalls of getting published, and if someone can triumph from my tribulations I am THRILLED!

Lastly, I just attended my first writers conference in Northern Kentucky and I have A LOT of information to share!  LOL.

Stay tuned my Hopefuls!