Friday, June 22, 2018

Who Are You Pitching To?

I try to post on something like this every year right around conference time. I think it is always a good reminder for those of you veterans who are pitching and certainly a great word of warning for you new authors.

Pitching is a tough thing. I am, in no way going to argue that this is a great experience. You have 8 to 10 minutes to convince that mean old scary editor or agent on the other side of the table that your story is the best thing ever. Not easy.

Now, many organizations such as the Romance Writers of America are trying to give more authors the opportunity to get their work in front of those editors and agents using a "Speed Dating" approach. Now you have 3 minutes and you just run from one editor to the next to pitch.

OPINION TIME... I am putting this in a color to really stress that this is just my opinion. This is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. 3 minutes is just not enough time to get names out title of book and a single log line. To add to this, ever time I have done this, we just see authors who run to any open spot and really have no clue who they are pitching to. And then they wonder why they get rejected???? Snort...

OK, back to the previously scheduled post...

The first thing to remind authors of is that a pitch is a job interview. This is your chance to sell your story and your writing. With that said, you need to treat this with the same respect that you would any other job interview.

Now, when you think of a job interview, you always go in prepared. You have taken the time to read all about the company. You know their slogans. You know their work models. You know where the company is heading in the future. You also take the time to know something about the person you will be interviewing with.

Why do we do this? To hit the right buttons. To be able to shape your work experience, your skills and your education into something that fits with the model of the company. You want to show that you are a component of the company.

With your writing, you do the same thing. You want to demonstrate that your writing and you, as an author are a perfect fit with the editor and agent.

I heard Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks describe her approach to finding authors in one of the best ways. She stated that she is signing the author and not the project. She wants a complete package and the book just happens to be the link tying it all together.

I really don't care if you are going to use the speed pitch opportunities, regular pitches, or planning on using the query approach, it is important to take the time to know who you are pitching to. If you have no clue who the person is you are talking to, or who you are sending that project to, you are doing nothing more than throwing darts.

1 comment:

  1. I experienced my first pitch in Portland, Oregon last year. It was a very good experience for me. I was new. Pitching placed me outside of my comfort zone and I felt it was good to challenge myself.

    It is also the last time I will ever do it. There is no way an author or an agent can connect in ten minutes. Lets be honest, it's less than ten minutes. Pitching is a cheap version of speed dating.

    But for those who are new to conferences I feel it is a great experience. Just don't break the bank. It's $25 per pitch. I did three. That was enough.