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Nerves of steel…Pitching experience.

June 28, 2010

The clock rang five minutes before. Sweating hands, mind racing, I picked up my folders and quietly left the conference room. Each step, each raise of the foot, my heart started to pound. I slowly pulled the door open and slipped out. My feet trudged across the carpet, down the hall to the reception desk.

The woman greeted me warmly. “Good luck. You’ll do fine.” She lifted a hand and pointed at the table across the room.

I swallowed hard and forced my feet to move. As I approached the table, dark brown hair peeked over the high back chair. A stack of business cards and a notepad with the hotel pen sat on the shiny mahogany table. The editor stood up and smiled.

My heartbeat skyrocketed, sweat ran down my neck, but I pasted a smile on my face and held out my hand. “Hi, I’m Clarissa.”

Pitching at conferences are scary. I don’t care what people say, but everyone has jitters before each session. I did my first pitch at the Capital Region RWA annual conference the beginning of the month and it was the best experience ever. As a writer and editor myself, I don’t get out of my little cave that often. Okay, never really, but with my travels, I forced myself to attend this function since I was home visiting the parentals and I am so very glad I did.

I walked to that table, shoved on my business thinking cap and got right to business. My hands were shaking, even though I felt power in my newly pressed professional gear. Not one to public speak or get out of my pajamas, I admit it, I was stuttering like an idiot, but the editor was so nice and pleasant. She EVEN tried to calm me. It’s different when doing pitches online in live chat rooms compared to being face to face with a live person. It was great. Now I have an image of the editor and the editor knows I’m also a real person.

After a successful pitch session, I realized I was glad I didn’t chicken out and not do the pitch even though I was tempted to. Pitches are great opportunities to get yourself in front of editors, to allow the editors the chance to get to know you. I had always thought the big New York editors are scary people, but no, they’re just normal people like you who are doing their job, helping you become better writers and giving you a push in the right direction in your journey to publication.

So if ever attending any event that offers the chance to pitch, grab it. AND BE PREPARED. Dig out your power suit, look presentable, and have your pitch memorized until you can recite it naturally. Whether it’s an elevator pitch, a live online pitch or even a face to face pitch, always be prepared. You never know. The big break you’re looking for may be right there.

For those who’s pitched, what has your experience been like? And what have you learned?

Summer is pitch time, so get those pitches ready and make it happen!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2010 3:23 pm

    I’m gearing up for my agent pitch at Nationals, and I know that no matter how much I psych myself up, I’m going to be ready to puke. 😉 Congrats on going through with it. I’ve heard a lot of people are no shows, so you’re already ahead of the game. You make a great point. No matter who you’re pitching to, they’re just people like us, doing their job. Thanks for the reminder!

    • June 28, 2010 6:30 pm

      LOL. Don’t puke. You’ll do great. I’m so jealous you’re going to Nationals. I think if my first pitch was there, I’d puke too. LOL. Good luck!

  2. July 23, 2010 5:56 am

    Being in the UK, it’s that much harder to even find anywhere to pitch in person. Frankly, I don’t know anywhere, at all.
    The conferences here tend to be open only to published authors (i.e. RNA) or not happen at all.
    So for me, I don’t get to pitch, unless I want to spend oodles of money and go to an RWA conference. (Which so won’t happen, since I don’t intend to be a member.)
    But I get jitters during online pitches. 🙂

    • July 24, 2010 8:55 am

      Awwww, Silke, you stopped by! Pitches can be fun, but they are so nerveracking. But the opportunities they offer are too hard to resist!

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