Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Verbalizing your Vision in a Pitch Session


Since we're heading into the heart of writer's conference season, let's talk pitching! Because if you thought that clicking send on a query while sitting at your computer in your nice, comfortable home was hard, it's nothing compared to pitching in person! (Not to scare you or anything if you are about to do it for your first time.)

But first, a poll! (And fail on my part for the poll! I didn't think to put a valid option in the second question if you answered no on the first question. So if you answer no on the first, just guess how you'll be when/if you ever pitch. M'kay?)


Me? Um.... I may have been a little nervous at my first pitch. I may have told about my story in a speeding bullet voice, and finished 30 seconds into the pitch. It's a safe bet to say I didn't ramble. Definitely not cool and collected. I have debated whether or not to post this picture, because the body language tells pretty much how I felt.


Nervous hands? Check. Fake laughing to cover up the nervousness? Check. The conference photographer (wanting to get a picture of a pitch session or two) in the room to witness it? Check.

But that's me. And that's Sara. (Isn't she adorable?) And I had absolutely no idea at the time that my fumbling / shaking / speed-talking with her would one day mean I could call her my agent.

But I can't say I didn't learn anything! I'll have you know, though, that the next time I pitched, it went 1000 times better. Tomorrow, I'm going to post about what I WISH I would've known before I pitched. Because life is better if you know a few things before you pitch.

So what's been your experience with pitching? Are you pitching to an editor or agent anytime soon?

29 comments:

Tonja said...

They serve alcohol at conferences, right?

Valerie Hartman said...

Now that was funny. Hehe.

Anita said...

Thanks for an interesting post :)
I actually had no idea what pitching was, so had to look it up first. I only write on my blog, so have no experience of this, but can imagine it must be nerve-wracking!

K.D. Storm said...

Great post. I haven't pitched to anyone yet. It sounds a bit frightening :)

http://kdstormclutteredmind.blogspot.com/

S.P. Bowers said...

OK, maybe I'm just being technologically challenged again but I couldn't submit the poll. I haven't ever pitched in person so I answered no on the first question but couldn't answer the second question because it all pertained to answering yes on the first question. And it wouldn't let me submit without answering the second question. So anyway, now you know what my poll was. Cause I know you were dying to know.

I can't wait to see what you have to say though, this is definitely an area I need help with.

JeffO said...

Same as S.P.

I haven't done an in-person pitch. I haven't even developed one or practiced it, which means I'll get a call from an agent, who will say, "Give me a thirty-second pitch for this book of yours that I just read; if I like the pitch, you're in!" Better start practicing....

Krista McLaughlin said...

If I had the money to travel to a writer's convention, I'd pitch my book to an agent. :)

Jaime Morrow said...

I get nervous and a little bit queasy just thinking about it. I would definitely be the shaky voice, shaky hands pitcher. O_o

Lauren S. said...

I'm afraid I'd be the type that would ramble on and on and on...

I've pitched to my sister before ("Come here and listen to this pitch and tell me what you think." "Do I have to?" "Yes.") but never to an agent or editor. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Too funny! Your poll doesn't have an option to finish and submit you answered no. Which I did. lol

Carrie Butler said...

I've never had the opportunity to pitch in person, but I think I would prefer it to querying. (I'm weird. I know.) I love the photo! :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

I'm glad it worked out for you, but I know that would be my worst nightmare. Give me a email query any day!

Delia said...

The agent I pitched to had my query and first ten pages ahead of time and I still managed to ramble on and on and on. Gah.

That is a very cute picture.

SharleneT said...

Hello, Fellow Challenger, from #398 - aka Rockin'Chair Reflections! Having years of stage experience, I rehearsed my pitch for a few days before the actual meeting. It wasn't to be repeated exactly as memorized but to fix in my mind the points I wanted to make and have them naturally flow. Come visit when you can.

Janet Johnson said...

Okay, just saying, the back of you doesn't look like you AT ALL. :)

But yeah, I get WAY too nervous. The last one I did, however (3 weeks ago) actually went well. I was cool and calm and collected just like option #3. It helped that I'd met the agent earlier at the conference and had a chance to chit chat and get to know her a bit. If that's ever an option, I highly recommend it! ;)

Guilie said...

New follower from the A-Z challenge, and sooo wish I'd found your blog earlier in the month. You'll never get rid of me now *evil cackle*.

The pitch, oh yes, the pitch. Did it for the first time in February at the San Francisco Writers' Conference (my first conf, too). Got to say, I thought it would be much much worse. I didn't have a breakdown, didn't puke on the table (or, God forbid, on an agent's shoes--or briefcase), got seven out of nine pitched agents to request my MS.

And *then* I decided the MS wasn't ready.

What a waste, eh?

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Never pitched before. However, I hope to have the need to do so one day soon.

ScribblesFromJenn
Happy A to Z-ing!

Nancy Thompson said...

I wrote out my pitch and was starting to prepare for my next conference. I asked the coordinator if they were doing pitches and she said NO! I was so disappointed. Then I got a book deal and I didn't care anymore. Whew! I am so glad cuz I don't think I could manage very well.

Julie said...

Hahahaha! Love this pic! What's that saying... a picture is worth a thousand words! So true ( :

And I'm totally not laughing at you... I'm laughing at myself!!

But lookie, lookie! You got an agent! And that's happy ( : Thank goodness THAT part is over, eh?

E.D. said...

Great post and picture - thank you for sharing. Nowhere near making a pitch. Writing / submitting from home is one thing, but speaking / presenting? Scary!

Cynthia said...

I've pitched before at conferences. Though I know that pitching is part of the process, I'm still not the kind of person who is accustomed to jumping in front of an industry professional to do this. =)

Leigh Covington said...

Oh my goodness! I get butterflies in my tummy just thinking about it! You rock girl and you scored the dream agent too! So, I may need a private coaching lesson when I get to that point! okay! ;)

Nicole said...

Nice tale! I haven't pitched in person yet, and I'd like to think I'd do fine...but I'd be shakin' on the inside. :)

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I would have chosen options 1 and 2 together - nervous, hand and voice shaking, forgot what I was going to say AND rambled on hoping I might stumble on it :)

Francene Stanley said...

I know my voice would shake. I've never pitched to an agent in person, but I have got two contracts from publishers through an email pitch. Blog on!

http://francene-wordstitcher.blogspot.com/

Coleen Patrick said...

I am kind of terrified of pitching. It feels crazy that I can write thousands of words and spend hours with my characters but then be completely clueless as to how to sum it all up. I have some fears to work through!!
:)

Z said...

I'm still trying to finish my book so I CAN pitch it...getting there, I swear I'm getting there!

But as for the nervousness--no stranger to that one! I did a TON of theater growing up, and a person typically goes to a dozen auditions for every one play they get to perform in. Auditions are a lot like pitch sessions, except you get the luxury of pretending to be somebody else when you open your mouth!

Libby said...

I've never had to do a real verbal pitch BUT I have to do it every time someone asks me what my novel is about. I feel like this is something I need to get better at.

Angela Cothran said...

That pic is awesome!!! I can't wait for the tips. I NEED them :)