Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pitch Pointers

I've never been to a writers conference. But now, my best friend has. And the night she returned home from her conference, we talked on the phone for hours. I picked her brain, asked tons of questions. And you know what she kept coming back to? This business is SO subjective.

I know, I know. The form rejections explain the same thing. So does the websites. And the books. But, when we see fellow writers receiving multiple offers of representation, a little part of us asks, is it REALLY as subjective as they say it is?

Yes. It is.

My friend told me about the first night at the conference; there was a pitch practice session. When she had decided to go, she thought the folks helping to perfect writer's pitches were fellow writers, probably of the published persuasion. But, then she walked into the room, and very quickly texted me.

There was a panel of editors and agents at the front of the room. They were the "helpers" of pitch practice. She did get up and pitch (I'm so proud of her), but that's her story to tell, not mine. But what struck her, is as the other writers pitched their work, the feedback from the professionals was all over the board. Some wanted one thing changed, some thought it was perfect, others wanted something completely different changed. And she experienced this subjective-ness all weekend long.

So, I wanted to offer that encouragement. There is no magic formula. And if she learned one thing about pitching to agents and editors (besides the fact that it's all very subjective), it's to just tell them about your book. Make sure you're not rambling, and you're behaving professionally, but other than that, tell them about your story with all the excitement and interest you'd have when sharing with a friend.

Oh, and if you're a kidLit writer, I suggest you stop by WriteOnCon. The forums are super helpful and the free online conference starts on the 14th. :)


  1. That is good to hear. Nice to know agents and editors are as varying with their opinions as us writers. And unless my kids don't allow it, I'm going to try and hit WriteOnCon, maybe I'll see you around.

  2. Writeoncon also has great contests - like this one! http://writeoncon.com/2012/07/money-money-money/

    Great post, and your friend is very right. Publishing is subjective, sometimes frustratingly so. All that matters is finding that right agent/editor who believes in your story as much as you do!

  3. A good point here. Also, it really speaks to the fact that it's up to you to have the pitch down so that what truly matters in your story is what you present, rather than a jumble of nervous ramblings. Practice makes perfect, but it has to come naturally, which is a hard balance.