A few weeks ago my hubby gifted me a writers conference as some much needed stress relief.
It was a rushed drive to American Fork and a late registration, but I made it. Let me tell you as a side note, that this "little" three conference strong event was simply amazing. It was well organized. The teachers were great and every class was exactly what I needed to hear. I also won the grand prize (a 2011 Writers Market) which I am so stoked to use.
That isnt the real reason for this post tho.
The very last class of the day was open to "pitches" to the newly formed "AF Arts Council Press". I wanted to go to the "How to Write a Series" class but decided to see what an open pitch session was like. I'm glad I took that chance even if nothing comes of the pitch, I learned some valuable stuff.
We were invited into a nice office and asked to give our concact infromation.
Then one by one asked questions about our manuscripts. "What is your book about?" etc.
I only attended the afternoon pitch session so I don't know what the other session was like. But I will tell you what I saw and learned from my hour.
First, finish your book before pitching it. Stories and characters change as we write the book and might morph into something completely diferent before you type the end and then edit it.
Second, know all the "info": genre, targeted audience, word count, etc. Do the research it's worth the time.
Third, have an all ready established web presence (website/blog/facebook/twitter etc.) and know what goes into modern day marketing of books. Have marketing ideas thought out and a marketing plan in place. If you're going to have a platform, have it ready and know your subject.
Fourth, bring your stuff with you. I knew that pitches were happening at the conference but I thought they were reserved and an extra cost, which they usually are. I was also taking Eli with me and in the interest of "stuff" (baby, stroller, sling, diaper bag, and my pack) I only carried a notebook for notes and a few pages incase I found time to plot or had an idea. I was asked if I had any of my MS with me and I didn't. I gave my pitch from an old paper that had my old pitch paragraph from my query on it and I had to think hard to alter it to resemble more of what my current "rocking" query sounds like. I did at least have my business card with all of my web addresses (blog website facebook etc.) on it. From now on I will probably have a manilla envelope in my bag with the first three chapters, a synopsis, query letter, and business card. You can't be too prepared.
Fifth, be calm, drink some water (not too much) before the pitch, eat a few mints and relax. It's only your baby you're presenting to someone who has the potential and audacity to say they might be ugly. :)