Today, I woke up nauseated. No, not from too many roller coasters or too many drinks. It's because I have pitches this morning. Back to back pitches. Like ripping off a band-aid, I guess I should be pleased its relatively early (10:20 and 10:50 AM) and will be over quickly. Of course, that will just leave me time to worry about my workshops tomorrow. :)
I've worked on my pitch ad nauseum. I'm pitching the same book to both an editor and an agent. Hoping my quirk will catch their eye. I've reviewed Instigator's Pits of Pitching Hell article. Now all I can do is get dressed and wait in the lobby with all the other high strung people.
Here's a couple tips I have for pitching:
1) Don't arrive too early. You don't want to be late, by any means, but arrive exactly 15 minutes ahead of your appointment as instructed. If you're nervous about being late, go almost to the area, but not inside. Inside the waiting area is worse than the lobby of the free clinic. Everyone is panicky. Everyone is nervous. The energy in there is awful. The longer you sit the more you'll absorb. Just arrive 15 minutes ahead, check in, get a seat and review your pitch cards. Don't let it all get to you.
2) See if anyone you know has a pitch around the same time. I think Angel or her sister have a pitch right around mine. We can sit in the waiting area together and chat. It helps the nerves and if you wait for eachother after the pitches, you can share your good news after its done.
3) Schedule yourself some free time before and after the pitch. Mine is early, so I've pretty much written off going to any workshops before. And right after, I'm going to either go back to my room and collapse on the bed in an adrenelin crash, or I'm going straight to the bar. (Yes, I know it will be 11AM.) Don't rush out of a workshop, pitch, then run to the next event. Give your brain some space.
4) Remember you've got 10 whole minutes. They will manage to crawl by and fly by all at once. My point is that you don't have to shake hands and immediately launch into your spiel. Introduce yourself. Thank her for seeing you. Ask how her conference is going. Tell her a little about yourself and your writing. Then go ahead with your pitch. Let her ask questions. When the business is wrapped up, if there's still time left, thank her again, and gift her with the extra two minutes to do whatever she needs to before the next person comes. Being courteous and friendly will help her remember you.
5) It's just a pitch. The editor knows you're a writer, not a public speaker. She knows the pitch could be great and the book could be awful. She also knows an awful pitch could still mean a good book. Do your best, but remember, in the end, its the product you send her that will make or break the book. You could have a stellar pitch that makes them leap for joy and request the full, but if it shows up and its obvious you've spent more time on the pitch than the manuscript, you've got trouble. Once you get home from conference, you really need to focus. If you haven't already, get that partial or full to shine. That, more than anything you say or do (short of vomiting on the editor's shoes) will make you memorable and get that project some forward momentum.
Ok, hope that helps everyone. I need to take my own advice and chill out for a while. I'll post later with my results. If you're pitching today or tomorrow, share your good news and we can all squeee together!