For writers, there is nothing so exciting and terrifying as the pitch session. For non-writers, the term will generate a "huh?" so a moment to describe.
"The Pitch" - Writers need to approach agents and/or editors with their writing and any good writing conference offers short little interview-type sessions for authors. These can range from five to fifteen minutes (times vary from conference to conference) however, the level of terror does not.
At conference Pitch Sessions, authors select the agent/editor that they hope will be most interested in their current brainchild. Then, at the appointed time, heart in throat, notes in hand, they sit down across the table and offer their most concise and eloquent summary of their story.
Think Job Interview distilled down to its most intense moments.
The James River Writers 2012 Writers Conference provided not only Pitch Sessions of seven precious minutes, but also hosted their Second Pitchapalooza with The Book Doctors and this year's guest agent, Alec Shane of Writers House.
Writers signed up and names were drawn randomly. The fortunate stepped up to the mikes and were given ONE MINUTE to pitch their book. In front of a full auditorium, no less. Afterwards, The Book Doctors, David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut, and Alec Shane would offer critiques on the pitch.
Every year, I sit in awe and breathless support of the brave pitchers and gobble up all the helpful advice offered in a kind & generous manner by the panel. Here are a few things that I gleaned and need to apply to my own pitch:
- Lead with action
- Your Protagonist must be named and their stakes explained.
- Your Antagonist should be uniquely identified
- Tease us with the worst thing that could happen/what's at stake
- Give a solid example of your "fabulous voice and particular story"
- Offer comparative titles to help identify your genre/audience
If you're interested in learning more about The Book Doctors follow the links I've embedded and consider their book - The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published
Thank you, James River Writers, for producing yet another spectacular event and I look forward to sharing more tidbits over the course of this week.