Monday, June 19, 2006

Practicing My Pitch

I didn’t get as much time to work on my work-in-progress this week as I would have liked, but I have no regrets. I stumbled over a Yahoo group, created and moderated by Dorothy Thompson, that brings in bestselling authors to answer questions about publishing, success, writing, you name it. But this week was something different. This week literary agent Kristin Nelson of The Nelson Literary Agency was the guest, and she spent the week on the loop, answering all kinds of questions.

That, in and of itself, was extremely valuable, but then on Friday, she agreed to do a ‘Pitch Slam’, such that any of us who wanted to could offer up our pitches and she would respond with feedback. My current manuscript wans't really ready to pitch (not being complete), but what a great opportunity! I decided to give it a shot.

So I spent my allotted writing time on Thursday and Friday working up my pitch, getting feedback from other authors on the loop, and offering them feedback of my own. Then on Friday, fingers crossed for ourselves and each other, we let loose all the pitches. 'Agent Kristin' was inundated with seventy pitches! Her email crashed, and she postponed all feedback until the weekend. Finally, on Sunday night, after checking back on the Yahoo message board ten or twenty times over the weekend, I saw her response to my query.

I’m happy to say, it was positive. True, I wasn’t one of the lucky authors of whom she requested thirty pages, but then, I wasn’t really ready to offer them up if she had. I tried to keep the pitch brief, with minimal details, but evidently she wanted to see more and thought I was too fuzzy on too many plot points—something to take note of for the future. Still, she said my pitch was ‘promising’ and my premise was ‘cute’…

Now all that’s left to do is make sure my writing lives up to its premise…

The experience was invaluable: reading the many and varied pitches from a talented, generous group of authors, sharing constructive criticism, learning a bit about how one very well-respected agent thinks and what specifically she is looking for… Now I just need to get back to writing until the next guest appearance on the loop.

But it’s Sunday night…I’m just gonna relax and read some more of The Second Summer of the Sisterhood.

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