Saturday, January 22, 2011
Well, the pitch slam is over
And I'm still alive. Sort of.
I had a tough day, culminating in my calling my wife two hours before the agent pitch to tell her that I had decided not to do it. My pitch sucked (it really did; people told me so), and my confidence had swooned.
Naturally, she tried to talk me out of it and -- even though her roller derby team is bouting tonight and she had every reason to think of herself and no one else -- she rolled her sleeves up and wrote me a brand new pitch idea. It was good.
Then I stepped outside the hotel (all right, fine. I had a cigar. Quit looking at me that way) and bumped into the managing editor of Writer's Digest -- the guy who had critiqued my manuscript all those months ago and told me it was good. While we both agreed that being a good pitchman shouldn't be a requirement to get your manuscript in front of a top agent, it remains the reason for the weekend.
So I reluctantly agreed to go ahead with the pitch slam. I rewrote my pitch using my wife's fine idea and took a deep breath and waded into ...
... a freaking zoo! Holy crap. Hundreds of writers lined up 15 deep before each agent, many of whom looked exhausted and a little shocked. Long story short, it's damned hard to pitch a complex novel in 60 seconds to a bored NYC literary agent. It takes every damned ounce of whatever it is that gives us that extra boost when we need it most. For reasons known only to the angels, I had it today.
I only had time to pitch four agents (my top target had to cancel at the last minute due to a family emergency; hope everything is okay there). Four agents who rep my genre. I watched writer after writer leave their tables looking a bit ashen. There were the occasional looks of relief, so some folks were getting bites. But it was nerve-wracking, believe me.
I will spare you the gory details of my pitches (some went well, some didn't), but I will say that when push came to shove, I lost my case of the nerves. I don't know what happened, except I guess I got it all out before the pitch slam. But I was calm and collected and actually enjoyed myself.
And the results? Not bad, actually.
Four agents pitched. Three partial requests. One full request.
Thank you to everyone who supported me on the blog, Twitter and Facebook. But most of all, thanks to my wife, Jennifer.
I could not have done this without you, babe. That's the stone-cold truth.