STATUS: First day back in the office is always a mess of paperwork that needs to be handled. And aren’t we supposed to be a paper-free office? Ah, the irony
What’s playing on the iPod right now? OUR LIPS ARE SEALED by The Fun Boy Three
As many of you know, I was at the New England Chapter of RWA writers’ conference this weekend. What a good time. I got to hang out with four of my clients (two of which I met for the very first time) and my good agent pal Deidre Knight (whose terrific third book in her series comes out tomorrow—PARALLEL SEDUCTION. I’ve got my copy. Can you say the same?)
Also managed to live through a whole morning of pitches! Actually, I’m kidding. One of the things I love about RWA is how well they educate and help new writers. Our queries from RWA members are always pretty top-notch.
But I did glean one insight I wouldn’t mind sharing with the general populace when it comes to pitching in person at a conference.
Some writers would like to have their written pitch in front of them because the whole concept (and the doing of) the pitch can be nerve-wracking—despite my best efforts to put the writers at ease.
So, here’s my tip. I’m fine with the written pitch if that’s what makes you comfortable. My only suggestion? Make it short and sweet. It shouldn’t be the whole query letter—just a short pitch paragraph that shouldn’t take you more than a minute (maybe 2) tops.
Why? Because of the Glaze Effect. Despite my best efforts, it can be hard to concentrate when someone is reading to me—especially after the tenth pitch of the morning. My eyes get that glazed expression. I’m sure I’m not the only agent to start daydreaming by accident during a pitch—and that’s not what you want.
So it’s okay to read. Just make your pitch paragraph a short and punchy one. I’ll still ask questions and get more details about the story; I promise.
Now for some fun shots.
Here I am with my authors. From left: Marianne Mancusi, Becky Motew, Me, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Jennifer O’Connell