Monday, February 14, 2011

Pitching the Woo-- and rejoicing in Brown Wednesday

So, it's time for me to take it to the next level. I have to take what I call "my novel" and pitch it to an agent. That's the next step (after my final rewrites, which I'm procrastinating until I get a couple more critiques back and see if there's a consensus about which spots need revamps) after finishing the book.

Another option, of course, would be querying agents. But I'm lucky enough to be attending an upcoming conference at the end of this month, where several agents are taking appointments with writers, and heck yeah, I signed up to meet them. It sounds SUPER DUPER STRESSFUL, but it also sounds like a great way to bypass the slushpile. I mean, it's kind of like getting junk mail versus getting a letter from a friend. Which one are you going to read first -- if at all. If I were an agent and I could (at least vaguely) put a face to a name, I'd be waaaay more inclined to read a submission (especially a requested one) than one from a stranger. Just seems like human nature to me.

That said, I know it's still not a guarantee that my pages will get requested by an agent from this conference. I am okay with that, totally. The topic will be kind of like what Bob said in "What About Bob" when he spoke of Neil Diamond. "There are two types of people in this world...those who love Neil Diamond and those who can't stand him." I'm paraphrasing. But, still, my book's subject is definitely in the realm of "no middle ground" on whether a person/agent/reader will be interested or repulsed.

So, I'm getting all psyched up for the pitch. Trying not to psych out. Trying not to pitch the breakfast I just ate. Or the lunch. Or the entire pan of "brownie edges" I just ate before delivering the heart-shaped brownies to the Kindergarten class this morning. Don't you love the edges? Well, I hope some people don't so there are more for me. Anyhow, the pitch-practice begins. I have to write a pitch that reflects the tone of the book, that has my book's "voice" in it, that is exciting and tantalizing. I hope that can happen. It could turn out pretty lame. And unprofessional, and silly. But...that may be the TONE OF THE BOOK. So, hey.

On the note of Bob, I think I must mention corn. And on the cob. Is this corn hand-shucked? There has been a lot of rumbling about corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup lately and how bad it is for you. In fact, I just sipped (don't tell my husband. If you're blog-stalking me, Gary, forgive me!) a Pepsi-Throwback, the kind that is made with *real* sugar instead of the high fructose corn syrup. I didn't get a caffeine rush, as evidenced by my immediate snooze through the episode of Chuck we watched on Hulu, so it wasn't a LOT of Pepsi Throwback. (Have you heard the recent study about why women fall asleep watching TV? I'm not alone.)

I'll make a true confession. It's all sweet to me. I'll take it. Corn is getting bad rap. I mean, it's all probably bad for us, let's be honest. Whether it's empty calories from sugarcane or sugarbeets or corn or whatever. It's never going to be as healthy for us as spinach or celery or even plums. But those nutritious things will probably never give me that euphoric rush I can get from a nice big handful of cherry jelly hearts (I love Valentine's Day candy.)

With V-Day in mind...I just have to note that I love it when they refer to the day after Valentine's Day as "Brown Wednesday." All the chocolate goes on sale. Big nod to whomever thought of that moniker. BUT the bad news is...I went to my local Mao-Nart (we call it that around this house for various reasons) and found the shelves all but EMPTY. You all bought your chocolate by the crateload early this year, folks, and there's going to be nothing left on the big morning-after sales. Maybe at the grocery store. Safeway is always a good place for Brown Wednesday. I think I'll head over there.


  1. Okay, I'm working on a pitch too and just reading about yours is making my stomach a little pitchy. Are you writing something for it? Are you going to read it, memorize it, what?
    I'm having a hard time knowing what to do. It seems weird to look at someone face to face and recite a query.
    Yes, very stressful. Where's my chocolate....

  2. @Melinda-LOL. Exactly! Seriously, I don't know what I'm going to do about the memorization thing. I'm with you. Reciting a query? Ew. And yeah. Very stressful. Maybe I'll just make myself memorize a general list of the things I *need* to include and try to pitch it as naturally as possible. ??? What are you going to do?

  3. I'm thinking that next time I'm going to write a book about panic attacks, that way when I have one in front of the agent I can call it my pitch. : )
    Actually, I honestly don't know. I like what you said about making a list of things that you need to include. Something professional, but sociable, that captures the tone of the story and makes it impossible to turn down. All in a few short sentences.
    Should be perfectly easy. Right?

  4. Jennifer, if you need another beta reader, I'm available and could probably have feedback for you be Sunday or Monday. And Melinda, you crack me up! Pitching a book on panic funny!

  5. PS. I'd check Walmart the night of, not the day after...many W. stores close out their candy the night of instead of the day after. Just be careful with your wrappers. Last year I bought rasberry Hershey's kisses for 68 cents a bag, but one of the bits of foil got sucked up into my printer and it hasn't worked the same since!

  6. @Sandra-thanks so much for the offer! I need to incorporate the changes I'm making now, but I might have that ready by tomorrow night...That would be FABULOUS. I'll email you. Oh, and I just love the image of the writer, leaning over the computer and printer, Hershey's kisses in hand, wrappers flying everywhere, getting sucked up into the printer. That could TOTALLY happen over here.

    @Melinda-I am SURE you can do it. If you want to call and pitch it to me over the phone, I'm available to be your pretend agent pitchee.

  7. I'm going to practice ptiching to someone , probably Jennifer. Next, I'm bringin' note cards to study & possibly use during the pitch session. (Side note- I can't stand Neil Diamond or Barry Manilow either.) Also, I'm going to bring my IPOD to keep me relaxed and not stress too much over this ordeal. If they like my story (or stories), then it's meant to be...if not, then I will set them free. (I stole that from someone).

  8. Brown Wednesday? Ahahahaha! But hey, it's Tuesday. Whatever. Anyway, your book will be a flaming success! Especially if I'm mentioned somewhere in it~preferably the "Special Thanks/reason for living and writing" zone. I'll do the same for you. On my blog. :)

  9. @Stephany-Great idea. Let's practice on our drive there! (And before if necessary.)

    @Lisa-wuhl, duh. You're right. Brown Tuesday it is. I'm going to plead vacation jet lag for the mix-up in days of the week. I'm not sure this is the book where you want to be featured, Lis. Sumo? Seriously?

  10. @Lisa-but feel free to mention me on your blog. Being on your blog doesn't imply I'm fat. (Even though we all can see these truths as self-evident.) (Considering the candy intake could be measured in tonnage by this point in my life.)


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