PWF Day 1, Publishers Seminar, Session 5. THE PITCH.

What we’ve all been waiting for, and on the day, the Pitch session was mentioned throughout, with info about how it would work. This is how it worked:

People were invited to put their names into a box and we were told they’d be pulled at random, and possibly up to ten or so would be heard. There were 150 people in the sessions through the day, and of those 45 names went into the box. Each person would get three minutes.

Remember, the publishers had given some tips earlier on what to do, and what not to do. Luckily no one said their book would make a great movie. But a few did tend to either make it all about plot, or all about themes. A few managed quite well but it was tense, sitting there, listening. Some had clearly prepared, some seemed to be winging it. The publishers were amazingly professional, encouraging and respectful. I took notes and I’ll share some of what I wrote (but it’s best to focus on the publisher feedback rather than what I’ve written as the pitch. I’m trying to be respectful and also not share what people gave away about their much-loved projects.) Remember, these things tend to draw out the brave and the mad and the both. I did not put my name into the box, no freaking way. Michael Heyward said something funny and kind. He said don’t worry if your pitch doesn’t ignite us; I’m the man who turned down Stig Larsson. That was sweet and encouraging.

Seven males and three females pitched, and of the three women two mentioned underpants. What does this mean? Anyway I found it nerve-wracking on their behalf and thought they were really brave. I wouldn’t do it, I’m so chicken with that sort of thing.


2 thoughts on “PWF Day 1, Publishers Seminar, Session 5. THE PITCH.

    1. I’d find it really hard even with lots of preparation. I can get up in front of very large crowds and talk about sex education, kids, parents, whoever, and once in Japan I worked a large ballroom with microphone, filled with women who wanted to be air hostesses BUT to talk about my work, when all I want to say is “just read it, then you’ll see what it’s about” is something I’m happy to avoid doing. Luckily I’m not having to pitch, having an agent makes that particular problem go away (but when I’m asked what my book is about, even by friends or other writers, I struggle to casually explain it.) This is something I want to get better at, and sitting in on these sessions helps. Seeing people like Andrea Goldsmith, who is so good at it, do her thing, helps. From talking to a lot of people who write, it seems it’s a common area of struggle. Thanks for reading!

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