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!