Day two at the New York Pitch conference.
Her name was Jackie and she was an Executive Editor at the Berkley Publishing Group. One by one in alphabetical order, we pitched our stories to her in front of our group. While I didn’t throw up during the practice round the day before, I had another chance to do it right here in front of a real live editor. Although with my racing heart, I was hoping that I’d pass out instead. If I was going to make a dramatic impression, I’d prefer the cleaner option.
Our chairs were arranged in a semi-circle stemming from the hot seat area, and I counted each person off as they went…The inspiring woman with the spinal cord and brain injury turned whirling dervish, the preacher’s wife who pulsed with personality and light, the girl who looked like sunshine and whose characters were named Orion and Graffen, the mother writing about mothering a bi-polar child, the bra-tender, the unassuming woman from Singapore with the beautiful prose…
They all took their turns along with many fascinating others, and I while I was slowly learning some names, I began to associate them through their stories.
Jackie listened attentively to every one of them. She took her time, re-reading the pitch page put before her, considering her words and advice carefully. She was kind; suggesting cuts here or there, asking clarifying questions, offering gentle critique.
“I am completely unintimidating,” she said, and as proof showed us her glasses which had been scotch taped together. I did breathe easier in her open, unassuming way, until I considered that she was one of the four people we would see in this conference who held our dreams in her hand.
I was number 10 and when my turn came, I walked to the seat next to her and smiled. I forgot all about the 17 other people watching me as I introduced myself and my novel. I dove into my pitch, channeling the practiced voice I reserved for elementary class readings and my old advertising copywriter days.
When I finished, I gave a brief account of any relevant writing experience, flashed a broad, hopeful smile and then sat back relieved it was over and knowing I had done as well as I could.
She said nothing and I watched nervously as she re-read the presented copy of my pitch and bio. It was one of those extra-long movie minutes where you’re holding your breath, gritting your teeth and waiting on edge for the climax.
Finally she looked up at the class, turned my paper around towards them and said, “This, people, is a perfect pitch.”
Cue internal fireworks and champagne bottles popping. I beamed, giddy with pride and happiness. I wanted to take the moment and frame it. I could go home now. There was no topping this. I was done. Thank you very much.
“This is really great.” She said, leaning back in her chair. “I have nothing to ask you.”
Kvell. Blush. Glow.
“Well you can ask to see my manuscript,” I joked.
And she did.
Woo hoo! That book deserves to be published!
ha! thank you. i did well. which of course, just to be realistic, doesn’t mean much except that i have a shot at a few editors maybe reading it… which is better than where i was at before, so… 🙂
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Whew! I’m so glad this ended happily for you. Your cliff hanger was killing me! Woo hoo! I’m going to the wine rack to celebrate with you.
thank you!! all good… now i get to stress if anyone will actually like it.
I have been reading your posts leading up to this. So happy for you! Well done! Congratulations!
thank you! fingers crossed! 🙂
thanks. it was a good moment. 🙂
Congratulations! I have my fingers crossed that she agrees to publish your book! I have a manuscript that I’ve been trying to find an agent to get it out there to publishers – it’s such a slow process!
it would be soo great. a few other editors actually asked to see it as well, so at least there’s a possibility of someone reading it which is more than i had before. trying to get an agent cold is almost as hard as trying to get an editor.
My manuscript has been edited but getting it published is the issue. I just need to find a way to break through. Lots of publishers don’t want an unpublished author but how do you get published so your no longer unpublished??? It’s a vicious circle!
no i mean a few other editors from publishing houses… 🙂
i’m in the same boat with you but this conference allowed me to meet publishers directly to hopefully get their interest. it’s like climbing a mountain but you just got to keep taking those steps.
Excellent!!! I have the biggest smile on my face!!!! xox
thank you!! me too!!
FIREWORKS AND CHAMPAGNE! Huge congratulations to you! \(*^O^*)/
thank you! of course, it’s just step one! but i’ll take it!! 🙂
Fireworks and champagne are appropriate at every stage.
thanks!! it’s good and my fingers are crossed but still realistic
Homerun, indeed. Nice work!
i’ve decided that i’m milking the good feelings from that conference for at least a week or two. a few more editors showed interest, so there’s some hope… hopefully… 🙂
Yay!!!! Can’t wait to hear more!! You must feel great!! Fantastic!
I am so delighted for you, enjoy the moments. I would have been terrified to do that.
each of the four times i did, i was a wreck.
Congratulation! I think I would have been in tears after being so nervous. And thank you for including the pitch! You just reminded me that I should add a bio to the novel I am blogging. I am glad I started following you.
yes, that’s what they said. your platform – if relevant – is also important.
Yes, I have learned so much in a short time from my current blogging group: The Women of Midlife. Of course, I need to build a whole new platform for my novel, but I will never forget the women warm up my writing chops. 😉
This is so exciting! Congrats and be sure to keep us posted! Happy 4th of July 🙂
thank you!! i’m waiting for this holiday hoopla to settle before sending stuff out.. 🙂
Well done , what an accomplishment
Sounds awesome to me.
thanks. i hope it turns into something really awesome! 🙂
Woo hoo!! Nice! *cyber hi-fiving you*. Well done, Mama!
thank you! hopefully it all leads to something good. 🙂
I hope so, too!!
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I absolutely loved everything that led up to your last line when you asked her to read the manuscript. Not only did you have the perfect pitch but a strong “close” to boot!
You will have to keep us posted on what happens next!!
thank you!! i never even looked it that way. i’m realistically hopeful.. 🙂
HOT DAMN WOMAN!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
haha! woo hoo!!! 🙂
YAY!!! And good thoughts and prayers and good vibes!!!
thank you!! i’ll take em!
Holy cow, that’s fantastic!! Way to go!
Congratulations!!!!!! How nice!!! Can’t wait to hear about it when I see you!!
I’m trying to decide which conference to attend this year. Would you recommend this conference? There’s one in September. Maybe you’ll blog more about your experience? What happened to your manuscript requests? Did you get any feedback from those editors? Thanks for sharing your experience, and congrats!
this is the only conference i have attended, so i can’t really say. if you need to hone your pitch, this was extremely helpful. and it also give you real face time with real editors. i’ve sent in 3 of my 4 requests (one is still on vacation) and have heard nothing but it’s been less than a month. i didn’t really expect to hear anything for at least 2 -3. hurry up and wait.. that’s the way it goes.
So true about “hurry up and wait.” Thanks, again!