How do I know if I should pitch or not? My stomach just ties into knots even thinking about trying to sell my stories to an industry professional. So, I decided to reach out to one and get a scoop on whether I should pitch or not.
Jill Limber has been an acquiring editor and taken many a pitch at various conferences throughout the country. In 2015, one of her author’s was up for the prestigious RITA in Paranormal Romance, Be Careful What You Kiss For by Jane Lynne Daniels Boroughs Publishing Group Jill Limber, editor.
Her experience as both an author and an editor made her a perfect source for my questions.
Should I pitch my work at the conference?
There will be nine editors and agents at the California Dreamin’ Conference who will be taking pitches—the opportunity to pitch is included in your conference. It’s an opportunity to get your work in front of an industry professional.
How do I decide if the time is right for me to pitch my book?
Is your book finished? Polished and buffed? Almost finished? If the editor or agent likes the sound of your story and asks you to send them your manuscript, can you get it to them shortly after the conference? I would recommend waiting until you can answer yes. With that said, if you are not close to finishing a manuscript, but still want to pitch for feedback be sure to be upfront with where you are in your writing.
Why should I pitch?
Yes, it is a nerve racking experience, but you can get the above mentioned feedback—editors and agents can see the strengths and weaknesses in your story. Their advice will give you an opportunity to make changes that will strengthen your writing.
How do I choose who to pitch to?
You get to list your top three choices of editors and/or agents. Go to the agents’ agency website, or the editors’ house website and check out the choices. See if they represent or publish your genre, and keep in mind, the editor or agent participating in the conference might not represent what you write, but if their company does, they can recommend you to a colleague.
How do I structure my pitch?
Tell the editor or agent a little about yourself—such as how long you have been writing, if you have more than one manuscript, if you have self-published or published with another house. If you have special expertise in the subject matter you write about, be sure to share this. Give a synopsis of your story, including the time period, setting, describe the main characters, and explain the main conflict.
What if I forget my own name when I’m nervous?
If you think you will be too nervous to remember all the information, write it out. Editors and agents will not mind if you read your pitch. They are there to find books to represent and books to publish. They want to hear about you and your story.
So, take a deep breath, choose your editor or agent and sign up for a pitch session!
Thank you Jill for your expert advice. I’ve got some decisions to make, but I’m now armed to make them.
She’s one of the founding Committee Members for the California Dreamin’ Writers Conference and a member of the San Diego RWA chapter.
Jill’s favorite pastime is to gather friends and family for good food, conversation and plenty of laughter.