Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Perfecting Your Pitch

Last weekend, I was persuaded by my critique partners and twitter friends to attend the GenreCon - sponsored by the RWA - at Parramatta in Sydney. I'd been 'umming' and 'aahhhing' for a couple of weeks, trying to decide whether to attend or not. It was quite expensive for it included not only the convention costs but accommodation at the hotel where it was being held. And the longer I delayed, the chances of my obtaining an early-bird ticket was looking slimmer as well.
But, in the end I caved.
What the heck, I thought, I'll shove it on the visa card and not think about it till the statement arrives next month!

I went online, purchased the ticket and printed off both receipt and program. I noticed there were pitching sessions. The last time I did one of those - with an audience, before a panel of four publishers - I was asked for my submission, but nothing came of it. Since then, I was determined never to allow myself to go through such a humiliating procedure again.

Famous last words, as they say! I blame it on the electric atmosphere generated by my fellow writers in their enthusiasm to pitch their manuscripts to the many publishers who were present. So, having nothing to lose, I signed on as well. I then checked out my pitch to make sure it contained all the elements necessary to convince a publisher or agent to take me on.

1.   It has to be no more than five minutes long. That's all the time we were given. It's roughly a little over a page.
2.   The opening statement MUST be a one sentence outline of the story, followed by a brief synopsis.
3.   Include a comparison to other books in the same genre. Where on a store bookshelf would my book fit? Next to which other famous authors?
4.   How is my book different from others in my genre? What makes it stand out?
5.   Know my audience. Who is my target age-group and why?
6.   Sum it all up with a convincing argument, but NEVER, EVER say it'll be a best seller! Be humble.

I had two pitches and only one chance with each of them. And the result? Both asked for the complete manuscript! One publisher was from Harlequin and the other from Penguin - Destiny Romance.
Needless to say, I left the room floating on a cloud.
Now, the only question I have to ask myself is, do I continue on my route to indie publishing, or go traditional if I'm offered a contract?
I'll just have to wait and see!

If anyone has any view on this, I'd dearly love to hear it. Please, leave a comment. I love reading and responding to them.


Lynda R Young said...

congrats on get full requests. GenreCon was brilliant. I had an awesome time.

Quixotic Taylor said...

I say go Indie and if your book gets picked up, then that's a bonus. Mind you, I'm bias as I want to continue being your 'freelance publicist' :)

Tima Maria said...

Hi Lynda,
I really enjoyed Genrecon as well. So glad I was persuaded to attend. Can't wait for the next one.
Got an email from Haylee at Harlequin yesterday saying they're prioritising my manuscript for reading.
Just have to wait and see now. I'm not exactly the most patient person.

Tima Maria said...

Hi Claudia,

Lol! Yes, you can be my 'freelance publicist' for as long as you want. Especially since you charge in blocks of chocolate!
But, I'll wait a few weeks to see if I get offered anything.

Madeline Ash said...

Hi Tima, congratulations on your requests! Even if you decide to continue down your indie pub route, the fact that you piqued the editors' interest says a lot about your writing. Glad that you floated out of the pitches!

Also, thank you for contacting me, I loved your email!! It's wonderful to know that other romance writers relate to my posts. If you choose Destiny over indie, we'll get to be e-shelf buddies! :) Good luck with your requests!

Madeline x

Diane said...

That's great, Tima, though I did hear that Harlequin requested the MS in the raw (so as to speak) as they want to be able to later 'fix' it to their own needs. I would be very wary about such a 'deal'. The integrity of one's book is very important, so I probably agree more with Quixotic, and I would go it alone...

Tima Maria said...

Hi Dianne,
I agree with you on that entirely. actually, I did some research on Harlequin and their royalties are very low. An author couldn't live on them. So, I've decide to retain control of my manuscript and go indie instead.

lindsayjpryor said...

Hi Tima. Huge congrats on your requests! That's an achievement in itself. You've certainly been piquing a lot of interest. I know you've been agonising over what to do with Bloodgifted. I wish I could reassure you what is in your best interests, but at least you've been able to make a decision - indie it is! I'll get that review sorted. :-)

I.J.Vern said...


Congratulations on the requests :).

I've written posts and commented a lot on indie & traditional publishing.

IMO, there is no "right" path. The right path is what suits each author. Some do both, having books via traditional route and other books on indie, which I think is a good combination. Others retain the e-book rights.

The only advice I can give to someone is be very thorough about any contract to be signed, so that there is no surprise later.

Tima Maria said...

Hi Linds,
It's such a relief to finally have made a decision. And, I know it's the right one for me. I have a fabulous graphic artist who did the cover and that would probably be lost if I signed with a trad pub.
We'll see how it turns out.
Thanks for all your support, Linds.

Tima Maria said...

Hi I.J.

It's nice that nowadays authors have the chance to choose the path which best suits. It's no longer 'one size fits all.'Luckily for me, one of my best friends is a lawyer. I don't sign anything without her checking it first!