Pitching in baseball is where the catcher and the pitcher try to outsmart the batter and either make him swing when he's not supposed to or fake him out so he doesn't swing at a perfectly good pitch.
That's not what we are talking about here. But it is similar. I am throwing a potential home run to a potential catcher...wait, I think the metaphor just fell apart. At any rate, I've got something, they might want to catch it. They call it pitching.
We're talking about Industry Professionals: Agent and Editor pitches. Face to face. Just the story.
Before going to the conference, I researched some pitch strategy because I really didn't know what the heck I was doing. The best one, I thought, said to build a relationship of trust first. We had five minutes to 1) introduce ourselves, 2) talk about our book 3) ask or answer questions 4) exchange information for further contact. There wasn't a lot of room for building trust.
But I tried.
So after my experience with the page 1 (see last post) and they all didn't hate it, I actually changed my mind as to who I wanted to pitch to. One of the agents, (we'll call her L) seemed to really "get" my character and what I was trying to do. Afterward in the hall, I just tapped her on the shoulder and said, "I like you, but I didn't sign up to pitch to you." And she asked why not and I simply said, "I don't know. I didn't think you'd like my story." But then the girl who was next to me wanted to ask a question, so I lobbed the attention that a-way.
Guess what I did? I switched around my pitching appointment to L--the very first one of the day. I felt pretty confident going in there because I knew she already liked my first page AND I'd already talked to her so she didn't seem so intimidating. So I went in and she asked me after my pitch if we had read the page 1 the day before (She remembered!) and asked for a full.
The second pitch, went well and we had extra time, so I asked her what she was reading.
Now we only got two pitches but I hovered around the front sign in table and asked if there was anything open. They had two minutes left in a "round" and they said someone canceled and I could jump in and pitch. Since my pitch was short and because I asked, I got an opportunity to pitch a third time. There's a life lesson in there somewhere...
I read a startling statistic somewhere that most people who go to conferences and pitch don't ever turn in their work. That made me sad.
There are so many opportunities out there, if we are prepared, watching for them, asking for them, and follow through we might just be able to make our dreams come true. Now that sounds like batting.
Next week, I'm going to talk about the Passport to Romance and I've got a picture of me with a bunch of male models.
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