|You can pick this up from Rainy Day Books|
Pitchapalooza allows you one minute to share your book idea. I know some conferences expect you to give a one-liner. Always make sure you know how much time you have and what is expected if you have a chance to pitch, which leads me to the first thing I learned.
Practice and time your pitch! There were a number of participants who got up there and just started talking abstractly about their books. Many had interesting ideas, but didn't put their minute to use effectively. Others talked lightening fast to get as much plot as possible into their pitch, often getting cut off when time ran out. Read your pitch out loud several times while timing it so you know if you need to cut or add.
On that subject, use your whole minute. Several promising pitches cut off after 30 seconds, leaving me wanting more!
Write it out. I had my pitch memorized but for this type of presentation, note cards function as a lifeline. Use them to keep track of where you are in the pitch, but don't just read off them. Glance at them and then look up and make eye contact with the panel. If you get so nervous you freeze up, your note cards will save you. Also you're presenting an idea not performing. Using notecards conveys that.
Do your research. I was a bit surprised by the number of people who didn't know what to expect or came without a prepared pitch. Why? Because there is fabulous info on how to write your pitch on the Book Doctors website! I used their info combined with info from the Querytracker blog on writing a query to build my pitch. You may naturally be able to sell your book in casual conversation, but it never hurts to have a strong written and rehearsed pitch going in.
Remember everyone is nervous. The people waiting to see if their name will be called. The people on deck to pitch, and especially the people pitching. When I gave my pitch, they complimented me on my composure and I laughed and said how nervous I was. I was sure they could hear the tremble in my voice or the slight shake of the notecards. Apparently not. You can be nervous and still give a good pitch.
|My awesome critique partner |
came to cheer me on!
Plus, you never know, you might just win. I know, because I did! My pitch won the contest, and I'm still shocked. It was surreal, humbling, exciting. Writing can be so isolating and it was a huge boost to my confidence to get great feedback, plus I get to talk with David and Arielle about my book and get their expert help.
If you have an opportunity to attend a pitch session like this, do it! The feedback is invaluable and you get to meet your kind of people. To see if pitchapalooza is coming to a city near you, check out their calendar here.