Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pitching the Pitch

The upcoming RWA National conference in Atlanta will be the first conference I've attended since joining RWA at which I will not be pitching (or trying to corner in a convenient location) an agent. Having one changes everything.

I won't be up late the night before rehearsing and rewriting my pitch to perfection with willing friends (who are also in the same boat). I won't walk around the morning of my appointment with sweaty hands, nerves of jello and the inability to stop reading my pitch cards every five minutes. I won't be sitting in the hall, waiting with all the other pitching attendees, staring at the wall mouthing my pitch or smiling nervously at the person next to me, wondering if they'll get a request but I won't.

This year when I meet agents throughout the conference, I will be my normal outgoing self. Will I schmooze? Sure, on the behalf of Romance Divas. But on a career level, I will simply see them as people, not as minor deities in possession of some magical key I desperately crave to unlock a door I desperately want to pass through. (Yeah, I used desperately twice in one sentence. Do you think I didn’t want an agent?)

I’ve pitched numerous agents and editors and had numerous requests for both partials and fulls because of the appointments. Did anything come of those requests? No. Nada. Zip. Do pitches ever result in anything more? I’d love to hear from you if you found your agent or editor that way. I’m sure it happens, just not familiar with anyone who’d had success going that route.

Does that mean if I were still agentless, I wouldn’t be pitching? Heck no! I’d be pitching like an MBA all-star. I’m the last one to turn down an opportunity. Don’t you recall the time I handcuffed Harlequin editor Tracy Farrell to me? If you don’t believe me, ask Diana Peterfreund. She was there.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this year’s conference with a sense of calm I’ve never had before.

7 comments:

  1. I'm thinking that pitching, even if it doesn't result in a read, is good practice for querying and so on. Plus, it's that name recognition. That's my unpubbed, uninformed opinion. LOL.

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  2. I don't know if it's useful or not. Last year I found an agent I DIDN'T want, based on a pitch session....so I guess that was useful. My choice of editor wasn't there, but 6 weeks after the conference, I got my revision request on the book. It might have sped things up. Hard to say! Enjoy Nationals this year...I'll see you there!

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  3. I have a friend who signed with an agent two weeks after pitching her in San jose. It does happen. I have never had to pitch as I signed with my agent way before I went to my first writer's conference. Am very relieved about that.
    teri

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  4. Wait, I'm supposed to write something down? Take notecards? LOL. Actually i've done pitching at local conferences, but never a BIG one like Nationals. I wonder.. maybe I should brush up on my pitching skills.

    Then again I may cancel the agent appt. Which is with someone from the Knight Agency by the way! I just don't think I'm what they're looking for right now.

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  5. If you're not what they are looking for then what are you, Shelli?

    I know what you mean Kristen (and about more than the handcuffs!). RWA National Conference last year was -- wow, amazingly breezy. I wasn't looking for an agent or an editor, I had nothing to pitch, I just went and soaked it all up. Still did a lot of pitch practice though, because I was helping friends, and even pitched a buddy's manuscript for her to my agent (You remember Maureen, who got an offer from TKA at the STAR conference?)

    I think, if i hadn't signed with someone else first, that one of my pitches was about to result in an agency offer -- a year later. But it probably would have resulted just as much in an agency offer had I queried the agent normally. It's not about the pitching. It's about the right story, right author, right place, right time.

    I used to ahve a really good wriitng friend who was the QUEEN of pitches. Really phenomenal. She'd go to a conference and come home with about twenty manuscript requests (every person there would end up requesting three or four things from her). Never sold. Her books weren't there. Often, her books never even got written.

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  6. Jen, I agree.

    I pitched to two editors at RT. Both of them requested material from me, but I don't hold out much hope they'll buy. If anything, I'm just hoping that if they continue getting submissions from me, they'll remember me.

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  7. I think I'm too erotic, Diana! LOL. There aren't a lot of agents taking on erotic romance writers. Unless I'm an utter moron and missing them. Actually, I could be just that :)

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