Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Writer's Digest Pitch Slam

I haven't been to a writer's conference in many years and I decided to go to Writer's Digest Conference in New York Jan 21 -23 when I got an opted-in email in November.

The weather was bitter cold. I didn't pay attention to the exact temperatures, however being a Floridian, any city that has snow piled up on the sidewalks is a foreign land. I borrowed a winter coat and real gloves from my sister-in-law, bought some cheap mittens and knit hats at Target in December for layers and being a scarfaholic, I was as prepared for a fashionable freeze.

The main reason I went was for the "Pitch Slam" featuring about 55 literary agents who are looking for new talent and titles. I figured this was a great opportunity to see how agents would view my latest novel. You had 90 seconds to pitch and 90 seconds to answer questions before a bell would ring and you'd have to move on.

I have heard of speed dating and this speed pitching is like selling. So I thought of this as presenting and a positive response would be a close of sorts. Though I know in publishing the deal takes forever!

Anyway, the crowd wasn't as loud and ego-driven as the sales conventions I have attended. And I was surprised to see so many people in charcoal and black attire. I felt like I didn't get the memo. I was wearing a lime green three quarter length knit top with jeans and exercise sneakers and everyone else looked like they were going to a job interview. But hey, someone's got to stand out and why not the heavy blonde Florida author.

I don't know why, but I just couldn't seem to bond with the attendees. We talked polite, but I would soon regret hearing one man's intergalatic pitch. I didn't want to know about the imperial force and the fall of the dynasty and such. I just wanted to hear the guest speakers and meet the agents

The good news: 4 out of 5 agents liked my pitch. The bad news: they liked the latter half of the book more than beginning. Not sure how that's going to work in the scheme of things.

I also learned the term "steampunk." Just Google the term steampunk, its the opposite of cyberpunk and both are futuristic young adult themes but one with Victorian steam powered periods and the other with more advanced technology.

So in my spare time, I am now trying to get my writer/platform building/time-crunched mind in gear. Thank you to my nephew Erik Williams, horror author (see his blogspot) and Writer's Digest for inspiring me!

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