Tuesday, November 5, 2013

To Pitch Or Not To Pitch

This weekend, I’ll be joining hundreds of mystery writers and readers at the annual New England Crime Bake conference held in MA. This will be my fourth Crime Bake.

Although Mystery isn't my main genre, it’s a large part of what I write. Both of my books, the Paranormal, A Trace of Evil, and the Fantasy, The Watcher Clan, keep the reader guessing until the end. I haven't found genre to be a problem because most Crime Bake workshops are specifically geared to the writing process.

This year, I’m looking forward, albeit with a little trepidation, to one of the most helpful aspects of the conference, the Pitch session. Here is where the writer has a chance to pitch his book to agents and editors. Although the idea is wonderful, the reality is terrifying. In five minutes, the writer has to pitch an evocative summary of his book and be ready to answer questions about the whole thing.

During my first pitch session, the agent listened to my summary and then asked about the plot points throughout the book, including the ending. I tried to tell the whole story in what was left of the five minutes but kept forgetting parts I thought she needed to know. I felt sick.

But, here’s the good news. Agents/editors are not looking for the writer to fail. They want us to succeed because they’re looking for new writers. When I finished my pitch, the agent gave me a great deal of positive reinforcement and excellent suggestions. She then asked me to send in a chapter of the book.

To be successful, all I have to do is prepare. I've been trying to list out the high points in the story that will give the best overview. The whole exercise has my nerves singing. This will be the fourth time I’m pitching and it feels as scary as the first. When I signed up for this a few months ago, it seemed like such a good idea. Now, a few days away from the reality, I’m having second thoughts.

Despite my previous brave words, I’m beginning to feel the angst. I guess the process of pitching my baby to someone will never be easy. I’ll just have to rely on the fact that I've done it before and lived to talk about it.

How about you? How do you feel about pitching?


  1. As you know, I won't pitch. Call me a woos, that's okay. I'm not as brave as you are and I prefer to pitch my work through a query letter (not that I've ever written one). My first five minute pitch was almost my last, but I gave it another try. I could barely speak.

    So, while you're pitching, I'll be relaxing in a cushy chair by the fireplace.

    1. Oh boy. A chair by the fireplace sounds pretty good to me right now. It's a good thing thatI made the choice to pitch so long ago. If it were up to me today, I might chicken out.
      I'm grateful, however, for this chance to discuss my work with a real person. So, I'll be standing in line with all the other writers on Saturday, shaking in my boots!