Monday, May 27, 2019

Why Prepping Elevator Pitches Is A Waste Of Time

Once again it is summer conference season. And, once again, "experienced" writers are prepping workshops for their writing classes, writing articles and drafting blog posts on how to put together the "killer elevator speech."

And, as usual novice writers are buying into this myth the same was as many buy into that guy who calls from Microsoft saying you have a computer problem, or the U.S. general electorate bought into all of those informational posts on social media.

And, as usual, these authors are wasting their time.

The myth of the elevator pitch really is just that. It is a myth.

Remember, here is the way this is "supposed to work" based on those experts. You are at a conference and in an elevator, walking down a hallway to your next session, or just casually sitting in a lobby. Then "out of the blue" like some apparition in a paranormal or fantasy novel, your dream editor or agent appears. Now is the time to pitch that story. You have rehearsed this bad boy speech, you confront that agent or editor, you pitch it, and you immediately, right there get a request for a full manuscript.

I call Bull....(fill in the blank)… and here is why:

NUMBER 1 - Authors are too terrified
You fear rejection. You can talk a great talk, but when it comes the time to "pull the trigger" you have a ton of reasons why you cannot do that. I know that I have done this as well as a ton of other agents. We tell you at those national conferences where we are at and please, come and visit us. What really happens is that we spend the entire time talking to our editor and agents friends, or our clients, and watch you, sitting across the bar or the lobby looking lovingly at us, but cannot walk across the room.

NUMBER 2 - Authors don't know what the editors and agents look like
I don't often have this problem at the RWA conference since I am one of the only male agents who
show up. I know of some others, but they are very distinctive. I don't have a beard like Gordon Warnock and I certainly do not look like Steven Axelrod. The problem is that the majority of the editors and agents who are there accepting pitches are people who you only know in name only. Many don't even have their picture on their social media. (hint: This is me...). Add in the fact that most of us do not wear our name tags out in public and the only way you would potentially know we are in the industry is that we are carrying a bag from the conference.

NUMBER 3 - The editors and agents are on the way to somewhere important
Ready for this? We are generally booked from breakfast to post cocktail - bar time. If you did approach us, the odds are, we really are going to meet someone and will not have the time to chat. Good try, but this pitch is not going to happen. Look, we have a hard enough time scheduling time to meet with each other so adding in a random author is not going to happen.

NUMBER 4 - The editors and agents are hiding from you
Here is the deal. For most of us, this is a working weekend. If we have not meetings, we are back in our room, shoes off, Judge Judy on the TV and editing manuscripts. Good luck finding us.

So, the reality of the situation is this. Quit looking for the quick solutions to launching your career. IF the editor or agent you want to meet is at the conference, and IF that person is accepting pitches, and IF you are really ready to pitch, then sign up. If not, go through the regular channels. You might have better luck.

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