Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pitching? No Problem

Wondering how to get your book "out there"? Try this.

Go to a conference. Spend 30 bucks. Sign up with a bunch of strangers to talk to an agent in a windowless room. Show up way too early for appointment. Sweat. Get called in like at the dentist. Find a seat next to the six strangers. Sweat some more, look hungry around a banquet table with a really bad tablecloth. Hmm, hungry is not the right word. Desperate, or maybe, pathetic.

Agent, who could be old, young, man, woman, introduces the egg timer. Announces the process. Flips the timer for three minutes and points to first writer. You may not be able to hear what the writer is saying because he/she is nervous, too, and aren't speaking up, but it goes something like, "I've written a 75-thousand word .... " or "<Title of book> is about ... ". All the while you are trying to determine what the hell you are going to say. Although you've practiced, right? Of course, you've practiced.

Within a minute or less, the agent will have: 1) asked you a question you didn't expect; 2) told you he/she does/doesn't want your sample chapters and, maybe, why, or 3) listened and said nothing. All of which make you sweat more. Someone tries to make a joke between pitches. You try not to crawl under the bad table cloth or jump out of your seat when you are done and run out. Turn over.

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