Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pitching the Publisher...

So, I polished and practiced and today was the day. I went off to Victoria Park to Word on the Street. those of you who have followed this blog know I really like this festival. It is just plain wonderful to hang around with people who love books. It was back on the street after being held indoors (at the piers) the last several years and that was great. Meant that folks could actually run into it by accident.
Ron dropped me off and the first thing I did was run into a publisher I'd met the evening before at the Gala Awards of the Writers' Federation. She had a writer giving a reading so I sat in the tent and listened to Chris Benjamin and Russel Smith . They were wonderful AND I was antsy with my red folio and three copies of submissions so I left as soon as I could to find the tent where the Pitch was happening. It was the t'other end of the park up on a bit of a hill. The children's and YA writers were doing their thing. I stayed for a bit to get an idea of how it might go and then went off to find some food - back the other way. Stood in line to get a dog and some chips - the dog finally came but I gave up on the chips and told the woman I'd get them in a bit because time was running out! Ran back up the hill, settled in a chair and wolfed the sausage down. Obsessively checked my teeth for bits, looked at my pitch for the twentieth time (as if the words would slide off the page). My pal, Sue, a writer working at the Fed snuck away so she could cheer me on and they called the first name. It wasn't me. Then it was. I stood and delivered and the three publishers gave me very helpful feedback BUT none of them publish genre fiction. Dang. I had found out at the beginning that they would be choosing the best pitch and that all pitchers would receive a gift for being brave so I sat and listened to ten more pitches. It was interesting AND excruciating. Some were good, some not so good but it was wonderful to hear people be brave about what we are often so private about.
Then the three publishers conflabbed to choose a winner AND, dear readers, it was me!!!

It wasn't luck. I'd worked hard to make it as tight and appealing as possible. I'd gotten feedback from folks I trust and I'd acted on that feedback. Also, I have no fear of speaking in public - I love it in fact.  All to the good. Having the book polished up and ready to go out again was also to the good but gearing up all of this to pitch to those with no interest in the genre- not so good. We just don't have a big pool of publishers in this region and I think they are all wonderful to take a day out of their lives to listen to people prattle on to them about their books but I might have rethought this if I'd known there wasn't even one that published mysteries.
I do love winning though. I just love it. Back in the day, when I was a young hippy instead of an old one, I would've never said that. But now I know it is true. I have many competitive bones in my body.

And so, it is back on the horse with me - sending out queries for The Rock Walker and finishing this revision on True.

oh - the pics - a few years ago, my dear fella and I took the truck to Labrador. We went across Nova Scotia, up through New Brunswick and stopped the first night in Saint Olorion in The Gaspe.  While there, just down from our B&B we found this mad house. Our host said the owner wouldn't stop adding bits even after his wife left him! There is something about this kind of insanity that I quite like!


KarenG said...

Congrats for winning the pitch contest! I hope the prize was something good! These pictures of the house are incredible, amazing to think this is a real house and not a cartoon. It looks something out of a Roald Dahl book.

Mason Canyon said...

Congratulations on the win. Way to go.

Love the photos of the house. There was a guy in Georgia (USA) that did this and also painted the same way. He became famous. He was Howard Finster, a folk artist that did album covers for rock bands and had paintings in the Smithsonian.

Thoughts in Progress

Clarissa Draper said...

Oh, I'm so happy for you. What did you pitch? The Rock Walker? I'm glad you won. The chapter I read was extremely good. Well, actually it was two chapters... but nonetheless.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

It is sad they don't publish mystery, but it is AWESOME that you won. Way to go, Jan.
*big hug*

Cruella Collett said...

Congratulations! Even if these publishers don't work within your genre, they know the playing field, so I should say it's a very good sign that they liked your pitch. Good luck with the querying :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Congratulations on winning! That's fantastic. I'd have been really scared to pitch in front of people...sounds like you were in your element!

Gorgeous pictures, too.

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks Gals!
I did feel pretty good.

Karen - the prize was a book by a local author (the Pitch the Publisher is put on by the Atlantic Publishing Association so...) And I agree with the Roald Dahl comparison. I love this sort of obsession to bits.

Mason - I'm going to look Finster up when I'm done here. Nova Scotia is famous for its folk artists and they are wonderfully bizarre.

Clarissa - yes it was The Rock Walker which is why I was so thrilled to have your crit!

Natasha - yep, well I'll keep on keeping on and if my pitch is good someone will have a look. And if they like their look they'll have another and soon I'll be published! I realized I was starting to sound like that book 'if you invite a mouse to tea' or something like that!

Mari- that's exactly what I'm hoping. I just plain wanted to come back home last night with a firm bite but I at least I got some positive strokes for tying a mean fly. (fishing analogy snuck in there)

Elizabeth - I'm sure you would be fine. What I learned when I was acting and also being a promoter was to trust the product and put myself behind it. I like this book and I want others to like it too. In other words - it ain't me - its the book!

Helen Ginger said...

That's an amazing house. And you are amazing for getting out there and pitching your book. Such practice will really help when you do it in person one-on-one. Congratulations for being chosen as the best one!

Carol Kilgore said...

Congratulations! I love winning, too.
I'd love to see that house in person.

Hart Johnson said...

Jan, that is FABULOUS! It stinks they don't do your genre, but it is wonderful to know your pitch is ready and well done--it's a huge step in making sure once you DO find the right hands, they will want to see all of it!

(and I love that house too--hubby would DIE and threaten to burn it down... it is the defining difference between us... his need for order and my love for eccentricity)

Michele Emrath said...

CONGRATULATIONS, Jan! What a wonderful thing to win. I hope we get to read some of your writing soon.

And the pictures are fascinating. I want to go there right now. Right now! Definitely Roald Dahl-esque. Great comparison, KarenG.

So happy for you.