Last week I came across this blog post from aspiring author Mercedes M. Yardley. In it, she describes her experience of “pitching” to me and makes me sound pretty nifty. Much more nifty than I actually believe I am. Actually, it’s a great firsthand experience of pitching and learning, so you should read it.
Anyway, since I am currently publisher agnostic (my new favorite term I’ve coined recently. My second favorite is Restless Reading Syndrome), but was committed to attending KillerCon in September, they asked me if I’d be willing to do pitch critiques instead of actual pitches (since I have no way of publishing anything pitched to me).
Now, I must be honest, I don’t like pitch sessions particularly well. I’m always offering to do other things at a conference in exchange for not doing pitch sessions. I’ve had too many experiences of terrible pitches, fantastic writing, and vice versa. I just want to see the submission and the writing. Also, it’s painful for me to be pitched by someone who has no idea who I am, who my company is or what we publish. And that happened a lot. But pitch critiques (which I only reluctantly agreed to do)? I found that I actually enjoyed pitch critiques a tremendous amount. So much so that I’d really love to turn it into a workshop and wish I could do pitch critique sessions for other conferences.
The feedback from those, in addition to Mercedes, who had the benefit of the pitch critiques, was excellent. Universally, I could see a lightbulb moment during our 10 minute session, where something I said connected, though it was different for each of them. And almost all of them told me later that they’d used what we’d talked about in later pitches. Seriously, it was almost as rewarding as acquiring and publishing a book. I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’m a fan of new and aspiring authors, and pitch critiquing was a new way for me to help them learn a part of publishing that can be incredibly intimidating and overwhelming.
I think I’ll look more into this idea, maybe there are some groups/chapters out there interested in an online workshop based on the idea, but I’ll also put together a blog post on it if there seem to be people who want one more blog post on querying/pitching (I know there are a sea of them out there!)