Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Pitching terror!

One of my main reasons for wanting to go to the RNA's summer conference is the opportunity to pitch to a M&B editor. But recently I've started having early symptoms of pitching terror. It's only starting with a vague sense of unease that my one chance of making an impression could be a total and utter disaster but it promises to steadily progress to severe stage fright/full-on panic attack proportions.
You see I could write a pitch, no problem, but thinking about saying it makes my mind go blank.
I might have found a hope of a cure though - Laurie Campbell has written a really useful pitching guide which I plan to study and cling to like a life saver ;-)
Any advice from anyone who's pitched before? How did you survive and how useful was the experience?


Joanne Cleary said...

I LOVE Laurie Campbell, I have done an online synopsis class with her and also a Plotting via Motivation class. Her way of explaining things really works for me.

I, too, want to go to the RNA conference. Desperately actually! I may have to have a word in my parents' ears about babysitting and an interest free loan. I so don't want to miss out. :-)

And just imagine what all us British blogging girls will be like when we all get together!!

Lucy King said...

I went to the RNA conference last year and had an appt with an editor. To be honest pitching hadn't even crossed my mind so I panicked a bit when everyone else started talking about their pitch.

I went with a couple of detailed rejection letters that the editor had sent me because I wanted her to explain exactly what she meant by her comments.

She did, and then she asked what I was working on at the moment. Umm. Luckily I had started the story which turned out to be my Feel the Heat entry so I managed to burble about that!

Suzanne said...

You'll be fine, Lorraine. Take lost of deep breaths. And practice. They do a lot of public speaking at my daughter's school (I think they do in all schools these days) - saying your words out loud before the event really helps.

Fingers crossed for you (not that you'll need it).

Am also desperate to go - but have babysitting issues. Maybe next year.

Lacey Devlin said...

I confess to being terrified too. I'd rather make a speech and then make a run for it... bet the editor would remember me if I did that ;)

Jackie Ashenden said...

I did last year, Lorraine. I pitched to Jenny and it was soooo NOT what I had expected. I had a whole little speech prepared and the first thing she said was 'Did you get my letter?' This was referring to my first rejection. And then she asked whether I was okay with it and did I understand why they rejected my story, etc, etc.
It was a little weird because by the time I had got to the conference, I was over the rejection letter and had moved on!

But then she asked me what I was writing at the moment and so I told her and she asked me questions about it and gave me advice about the direction and things to keep in mind. Soooo useful!

Basically it wasn't as formal as the US ones seemed to be and she was so damn nice that I kind of lost my nervousness. I would just try to relax, concentrate on telling her just the setup and internal conflict for your story, and then ask if she has any advice. I would have a synopsis with you in case you need to refresh your memory about where you want to take the story and in case she asks you any left-field questions.

Lorraine said...

Thanks for all the feedback, it's good to know I could just ask questions about my current project if I can't manage a formal 'pitch'.
Now it's just fingers crossed that I'm in better health by July (am seeing neurologist in June), can't believe how quickly the year is going!

Judy Jarvie said...

I share your fear Lorraine. I've never pitched and the thought makes me tremble. But I'd force myself if I got the chance.
I am also going to the summer conference so hope to see you there!

Romy said...

I'm a little late giving my opinion, but what I would do is research from people who've pitched at the RNA conference before to find out what actually happens. Then prepare for it by thinking what you want to talk about and rehearsing with friends.

Tell a few people who know nothing about your story what it's all about. Soon enough you'll know which points you most want the listener to hear that encapsulates your story.

Lorraine said...

Hi Judy, hope to see you there :-)

Thanks Romy, that sounds like good advice.