Monday, August 9, 2010

Winding up to Pitch

Everywhere you look these days, you see American Christian Fiction Writers practicing their elevator pitches on their family, friends--and enemies, for that matter.

Okay. Not really. But if you happen to wander across my path, I will buttonhole you to hear my pitches for Up the Rutted Road and The Second Cellar. Practice may not make perfect, but it sure can't hurt. The more familiar one is with the pitch, the easier (theoretically) it will be to deliver with confidence to agents and editors.

In just over five weeks (EEK!), hundreds of us, representing myriad genres, will gather at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis for the biggest event of the ACFW year. Hugs, squeals, and jitters will abound, as will clusters of writers practicing those pitches right up until the last minute. We've been testing our one-sentences and one-paragraphs online for nearly a month now.

Finally, my elevator pitches are honed and toned to where I can live with them. (I'm not sure that a writer ever is totally satisfied with his or her work.) It's nice to know that the editors and agents understand our angst, since many of them also write.

A multi-pubbed writer friend told me that she read her pitches. "I knew I'd be too nervous to do them justice," she said. "I'd forget something important." Makes sense to me.

I've given up on the one-sentence pitches. My first manuscript is essentially an episodic-narrative hybrid (think Little House on the Prairie, Mary Poppins, The Wind in the Willows, Huckleberry Finn, and many other classics of children's lit). The second has a plot and sub-plot. A paragraph pitch consisting of three or four sentences that can be presented in 15 - 25 seconds works well for me.

Gotta run! I see someone who . . .

Excuse me! Excuse me! Could I have a moment of your time? Sure. Go ahead and order your grande bold. Sugar? Two percent? Two pitches?

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