I recently pitched at the Writer’s Digest Pitch Slam in NYC. I pitched two novels, separately, to agents and editors, The Traveler’s Blade and my new project, Blood Planet. The Traveler’s Blade was pitched as middle grade to young adult epic fantasy, Blood Planet as adult sci-fi.
To prepare, I took feedback from my writing group and revised a pitch that had already been through the wringer from another conference. Within a week of the Writer’s Digest conference I focused my efforts on memorizing and practicing the most recent pitch. A few days before pitching to agents and editors I pitched to my girlfriend, and also to a friend and colleague. Critiquing myself from webcam recordings and receiving feedback from those I pitched to were very helpful. By the time my one hour pitch session rolled around on Saturday I felt like I knew what my weaknesses were, had worked on them, and had some really good suggestions. They say that practicing makes you less nervous, but I also think practicing in front of others, particularly people who will be really honest with you, gives you a better idea of what it’s going to look like to agents and editors.
Not to say I wasn’t nervous when it was showtime . . . the first pitch I bumbled, but after that my nerves were relatively diffused, and I ended up getting manuscript bites. Of the eleven I pitched to, five agents and one editor were interested in reading some of the manuscript. I pitched Traveler’s Blade more than Blood Planet, but my new sci-fi project still got the (positive) attention of one agent. All in all, it was a good day for me.
I’d have to say that the whole process underscored something I’d already suspected–feedback from others is perpetually very, very important, both when it comes to pitching and crafting the novel itself. Simply changing something to “a twist on” in the introduction to my pitch, which was one of those suggestions I’d received, had a noticeable impact on the agents and editors I pitched to.
Check out Victor’s Pitch for The Traveler’s Blade here
I’m a graduate of Rice and Marshall University’s English programs, but I use none of what I learned on my construction day job. That’s okay because my alter ego has more of that to spend on its writing addiction.
I’m a cat person without any cats. I’m a night person who does better work in the morning. When I’m not trying to figure out how to squeeze more writing time out of the day and night you can usually find me reading and/or eating.
I’m mainly into speculative fiction, but–having been forced in college to read a ton of literature I otherwise might not have read and finding out how much I actually enjoyed it–I’m also into the literary stuff.
You can find me at: https://vsweetser.wordpress.com