Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis
Coming to Thunder Bay

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pitch Perfect, Day 2.

Today I pitch to three agents. I am allowed ten minutes with each. I have to verbally sell myself plus my novel, and hope they want to see the manuscript.  A pitch should be short, contain the name of the novel, the genre, the number of pages and a quick summary of the plot.  I also have to do a quick verbal CV to convince the agent I have some writing chops.

The day starts with a panel of participants who have already published books. Of the eight books described, five are self published, two using CreateSpace, the Amazon department which, for a fee, helps authors self publish.  Only two of the books are fiction, one a YA (Young Adult) and one historical.  Others are memoir and self help. Some of the authors hired publicists and marketers to market their books. Everyone had hired an editor, or more than one editor, to critique and check over the work.

Most of the panelists use their time to pitch their books to us, the audience, and later, at lunch, the books were on sale. I bought a  historical biography, "The Quack's Daughter" by Greta S. Nettleton. I love historicals and this book is based on the diary of the author's great-grandmother. It was self published through Lulu.

Agent Lori Perkins of the L. Perkins Agency, and Riverdale Books. Lori seemed to like my pitch.

The morning ends with a panel of the agents. They emphasized again and again that the pitch must be perfect, succinct, and stress the main aspects of the book, the most important plot points first. I felt rather daunted and began to mentally rearrange my pitch and, eventually, while they were still speaking, wrote out an entirely new one.

 Authors also have to build a "platform," to become known through their other writing, social media, reviewing and public appearances.  After the book is published they have to sell it through readings, bookstore and media appearances. They have to work Facebook, twitter and other sites as well as produce a blog and web sites and e mail newsletters.  Now everyone is feeling daunted and someone in the audience asks how an author gets time to write if they are so involved in marketing.

Katherine Sands of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency who was lukewarm to my pitch.

More tomorrow. I'll post the pitch and you decide if you would read the book.  Then I'll tell you about the reaction of the three agents.

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