I have the exciting and nerve-wracking joy of gearing up for my very first writer’s conference at the end of February. The DFW Writer’s Conference, hosted by the DFW Writer’s Workshop, has dozens of agents and publishers scheduled to attend, and I have anxiously submitted my request for which agents I would like to spend my 5-minute pitch session with (I get 1 session). And the keynote speaker is *drumroll* Sandra Brown! That’s right, people. THE Sandra Brown!!!
I have a lot of the big stuff already taken care of. I’ve registered, paid, have a finished manuscript (woohoo!), and perused the list of workshop titles I’d love to sit in on. But I begin the strenuous task of creating my ‘pitch.’ I have 5 minutes with an agent/editor. They suggest you make your pitch no more than 1-2 minutes, leaving the rest of the session for questions and/or feedback. Essentially, I need to create an elevator pitch. All sales folks know what an elevator pitch is. But for you non-sales-oriented-folk, an elevator pitch is simply this: if you’re in an elevator with the 1 decision maker on something you need, you normally only have about 4-5 floors of their undivided attention. So you have 20 seconds (or however long it takes to go up 4-5 floors) to make your point. Summarize your story in a gut-capturing way that makes it impossible for them to turn away. (Meaning, you make your pitch irresistible, not physically hold them hostage in the elevator- that just makes you creepy.)
So I need to shove my 71,000 word novel into a 2-minute teaser. Sound easy? It’s not. At least not for me. One of my biggest attributes is using 40 words to say something that should only take 10. So that’s what I will work on over the next few weeks- my pitch. And try to keep my skin from itching all over the place with anticipation for my first conference.
Writers conferences are a priceless wealth of information for all aspiring authors (and current authors). The advice and real-life stories we get from others who have broken into the cutthroat publishing industry is more valuable than any self-help book sitting on my shelf today (according to those who have been to a conference). I’d really love to go to the Romance Writers of America conference in New York in late Spring, but there’s no way I can afford that. But can you imagine all of the visibility available at that conference? Where most of the publishing industry is headquartered??? Oh that would be so wonderful!
But alas, *sigh* my dreams are big and will take time. Small steps… and keep writing.