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Intern Files – Pitch-a-Palooza at RT 2012

Hi Everyone!!

I hope you are having a fabulous week! I’m trying to get back into the swing of things after the RT convention in Chicago last weekend! Whew, it was AWESOME but wow, it totally drains you. Am I right? It was my very first conference so I learned a ton! I had so much fun and met so many great people. I FINALLY got to meet my sista-from-anotha-motha Brenda Drake. AND I got to meet the lovely agent I’m interning for Louise Fury! I also got to hang with Shannon Duffy and Rachel Harris. AND I bonded with my separated-at-birth twin, Cecily White ;o)

Anyhoo. It was amazing, fantastic, unforgettable. The panels were helpful and provided me with enough insight to power through revision fifteen-million-and-forty-two. No, really. It feels like that some days…

So, I was lucky enough to be asked by awesome agent Louise Fury to sit-in on some pitches with her at the Pitch-a-Palooza (that is not as easy to spell as it looks and also, there are a lot of paloozas out there, just sayin’)

It was an excellent experience and the pitching writers were wonderful, brave souls. I thought they all did a great job! There were several times I leaned over and said “I want that one! Can I read that one!” There’s some great stuff out there, folks ;o)

Now, I’m going to share what I saw. A total unbiased look at pitching from the perspective of an intern sitting next to a wonderful agent with a nice long line of eager writers. This is so subjective, so keep that in mind. This is my opinion and mine alone. Take some of my advice, leave some of it. No worries, I’m here to share what I’ve learned through the process.

So when pitching you may start out looking like that picture over there. Nerves in your throat, palms sweaty, stomach churning. It’s okay, I totally get it.

This may cause you to blurt out your entire query instead of just talking to the agent or editor. If you do, that’s okay, just know, you’ll have to repeat everything again, because we can’t understand you when you talk that fast. Trust that agents and editors are people too, and they WANT you to succeed, so slow down and draw them into your story.

Also, and I can’t stress this enough. PLEASE have your manuscript complete before you pitch. Agents and editors are looking for completed work. And we all know a story isn’t even close to done when you type in THE END. So if you’re pitching something that’s not even at that point, you have a LONG way to go. The end is really the BEGINNING of revision. 

Try to make your pitch conversational. It’s kind of strange hearing a pitch where it sounds like you’ve written it out and your reading it off a page. Which I do understand, cause I forgot stuff too, but I liked the writers that pitched their story, but said it in a way that sounded like we were having a cup o’ coffee.

Know the genre’s the editor and agents represent. Do your homework. This is your chance to SHINE!

Know the PLOT of your story and where the CONFLICT happens, even the chapter. Louise asked several times WHERE something happened in the story. And I have to admit the ones where the plot and hook weren’t stated were the ones that had me scratching my head. I know two people fall in love and they’re better for it, but WHAT HAPPENS to them during this love. What outside influences come in to try and tear them apart.

It’s good to know your plot, but don’t say everything that happens. Agents and Editors just want to get the meat of your story, not every sub-plot and character flaw. You know your story so well by the time you pitch it (or you should) know what gets people hooked and concentrate on that. What do people always comment on when you tell them about your story? Is it your premise? Your main character? The inciting incident? Those are what will sell your story to them.

So, after pitching you may feel like the picture over there.

Have no fear. It is HARD to know what someone writes like from a pitch. VOICE, writing quirks, style, those are all things that could show in the writing and not the pitch. If you write a great story, don’t worry about flubbing a pitch. You’ll get the next one. Or you’ll get an agent/editor through a query or a referral. There are other ways ;o)

Then you can look like the picture below when you get that agent, or sell that book, or get the movie deal. Whatever happens. WRITING trumps it all. It just does. But you knew that already ;o)

How do you feel about pitches?
So, this is a new thing, these intern files. Do we like it? Am I just talking out my ass? 

Have a wonderful rest of the week!!!

<3 Er

Pic credits: miceheight.blogspot.com
freestockphotography.com.au
onecraftymother.com

10 Responses to “Intern Files – Pitch-a-Palooza at RT 2012”

  1. charletha says:

    You just inspired me to go to my first conference this year! Now all I have to do is finish this manuscript! ;O)

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, sista! I already felt we knew each other for years. I love this post – such great information! <3

  3. MC Howe says:

    Erica, I wish I’d known you were there. I was too, although not for the conference. I was simply laying over at that hotel for work. Crazy right? We coulda had lunch.

    Still, it wasn’t the first conference I’ve crashed and I did encounter Kristin Nelson in an elevator.

  4. Suzi says:

    Great information. Sounds like you not only need to practice your pitch, but also the other parts of the story. It would be easy to stumble over the plot structure, even though you know it well.

    I don’t know anything about the RT convention, I’ll have to google it. Would you recommend it for an aspiring author?

  5. Great Information Erica. I’m signed up for my first pitch sessions at an upcoming conference in June and trying to prepare.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Linda G. says:

    We like it! We like it! Thanks Erica! Keep ’em coming.

  8. Thanks, guys!! I’m glad you’re getting something out of it ;o)

    Charletha, LOL! Story of my life, right?

    LOVE you, B.

    AHHHH MC, NO! If only we’d known. Two ships passing in the night… LOL Next time, eh?

    Suzi, Yes, yes and yes. LOL. You’d love it!! It’s a great place to meet writers in all stages AND excellent publishing peeps ;o)

    Good luck, Eric!!

    Will do, Linda!! Thanks ;o)

  9. Ack;
    I just have to say, “THANK GOD THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO GET AN AGENT!”
    The thought of pitching my ideas live and in person gives me hives (which might be why I’m a writer…written communication just works better for me).

  10. I hear ya, Teri!! I was sitting there on the sidelines and I was nervous ;o)

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