The more that time marches on, the more I find that I want to do odd things like put glitter on my face and go to a calf roping. I think it's because writers draw on their experiences and it's essential to make new and interesting memories. Lately, I find myself with a yen to go to a church with a snake handling service. Rattlesnake handling and strychnine drinking are against the law but it goes on and I'm curious. Unfortunately, I can't get anybody on board with me and I do not hanker for this experience so bad that I am willing to go alone. I guess I'm going to have to be satisfied to read Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia by Dennis Covington. I'll let you know how that goes.
I know you can't tell from that lead-in, but I am going to talk about pitching to editors or agents.
Thanks to the fabulous training of the Queen of Pitches, Harlequin Blaze author, Kira Sinclair, and our own Katherine Bone, who can write a pitch like nobody's business and helped shine ours up, Stephanie and I are ready for our appointments. I'm not going to tell you how to pitch. I can't do it better than Kira. Go over to the Writing Playground and read her article. It says it all.
Kira's Pitch Article
I'm also not going to give you a pep talk and talk about confidence and state of mind. I am going to tell you a few things that ought to be common sense but refute actual tips I once read that are supposed to make the pitch go better.
Pitch appointments are not the place to wear a costume, even if we are at Disney.
Inasmuch as I believe it is important to get out of the comfort zone (i.e. the snake handling), do not do it at a pitch appointment. If you write westerns do not wear a cowboy hat to your appointment. If you write erotica, do not priss yourself up in there wearing a bustier and carrying a whip. They will think you are nuts.
Do not take the industry professional a gift.
That's just creepy and they will think so too. So no mouse ears. No Hershey's kiss. NOTHING, except your business card—and don't write a personal message of any kind on it
Don't take a good luck charm—especially if it is distracting.
Okay, if you've got some lucky earrings that are not flashing skulls, go ahead. But don’t go in and lay a rabbit's foot or a lock of your dog's fur on the table. Last year while we were readying ourselves to go pitch, I put on my charm bracelet. Like most southern women, my charm bracelet was started for me as a child. The bracelet itself has been replaced but I still have my first charm and every single subsequent one that has been added over the years to mark special occasions or just because I thought it was precious. As you can imagine, it jingles a little from time to time. Stephanie said, "You are not wearing that bracelet. Take it off." I whined a little. I pointed out that it was my lucky bracelet and that I have had a more enduring relationship with it than I have had with most people in my life. It didn't do me any good. "It rattles," she said. "It sounds just like a rattlesnake. Take it off." And she was right.
Don't take a rattlesnake to your pitch appointment, even if you are certain the agent or editor likes snakes.
This is the only point that is not in response to advice I read. I just couldn't help myself.
Tell us about your pitch experiences. Anybody pitching for the first time?
Note: Stephanie, Katherine, and I will all be at conference the rest of the week. Cheryl will be a little out of pocket too. The blogs will be business as usual and we will check in. Your responses to our blogs are very important to us and we will answer you. We may even tell you a little about what's going on with us. But forgive us if we don't get back to you as promptly as usual.