STATUS: Just when I finished one contract, in comes another. I guess that’s what happens when you sell a lot of books in a short period of time. As you can probably guess, contracts are time-consuming. Analyzed some royalty statements too. I’m awaiting one more and that’s it for the spring sheets. Setting up my appts. for New York next week. Lots of lovely editors to talk to.
What song is playing on the ipod right now? MAXWELL’S SILVER HAMMER by The Beatles
Since I’m back from Dallas, I feel the urge to dispense some more little tidbits of nonsense or wisdom—depending on how you see it.
As I mentioned, it was a great conference. The writers of DARA number something like 160 and they have many already published authors. These gals (and a few guys) are quite savvy. So I haven’t got an inappropriate bathroom tale to regale you with.
I did have a person come up to me and pitch a work I had already rejected once. Not sure why. Maybe he/she thought meeting me in person would change my mind about the material but the truth was, and I told the writer this, that the work wasn’t right for me. I admire the writer’s courage though in trying again. Persistence is certainly 80% of this game if not more.
But back to my little wise tidbit.
I had some great pitch sessions while at the conference, and I wanted to distill why. Here’s what I noticed.
The best pitch sessions were
1. begun with a personal comment or observation to create rapport. A couple of writers mentioned that they read my blog and what they found helpful. (Even if you read it for the first time the night before, I’ll never know. Another hint: Mention or compliment one of my authors. Even better, if you can mention one scene you loved in one of their novels, I’ll be even more impressed because then I’ll know your compliment is genuine.)
2. concise and well-prepared. The writer boiled down her story to one pitch paragraph on a little note card and didn’t ramble.
3. done in 2 minutes—leaving the other eight minutes for questions—either mine or hers. I had some great, memorable conversations during these meetings because of this.
4. relaxed. A writer can be nervous and that’s fine but at least stay open to being put at ease. Your career is not riding on this meeting—contrary to popular belief. If you write well, you’ll find that perfect agent match even if you don’t pitch in person.