The Writer’s Digest Pitch Slam is a can’t be missed opportunity to get your work to agents.
On Saturday morning, I had moths chewing through the wool of my stomach. Serious nerves. Anticipation nerves.
So I lined up early. 50 minutes early. I was third in line for the central Park East room.
Three hours to the pitch slam, but the agents were alphabetically split up into 4 separate rooms.
This presents a problem because all my agents are ranked according to fit for my book, but agent choice 1,2,3 are in 3 separate rooms, which forces me to break order and hit whoever was on my list in that room for expediency.
I lined up to go into Central Park East. Met two lovely writers ahead of me. Luckily, we were each targeting a different agent, so no blood shed over our first pitch.
As soon as Chuck Sambuchino gave us the okay we raced to our first choice.
I’ll be honest, I was nervous but I was excited to finally pitch this book.
I had written my pitch a month ago so I went through it pretty well. The agent didn’t like the paranormal element and said to query her.
Instead of debating or arguing, I accepted her response with a polite okay and thanks.
I moved on to my next agent. People were still pouring into the room. I was number 9 in line. Ugh. 24 minutes until I got to pitch.
The other writers were awesome. We chatted and joked our way up to the front.
This agent said strong pitch but not for me.
For some bizarre reason this isn’t ruffling my feathers. I anticipated this book would be a hard sell because it’s a mixed genre book.
I check out another agent in that room but her line is 10 long and I don’t want to miss out on other agents.
So I head into the next room, Central Park West.
I get in line for an agent I think is a great fit. Six people in front of me which means 18 minutes waiting. I strike up a conversation with Kim, the lady in the line next to me. We make the best of the wait, cheering each other on.
This agent and I click. We are laughing at my pitch together. She seems to really enjoy the story. She requests the partial. I start to get up and she invites me to stay and chat since my 3 minutes aren’t up yet. I manage to make her laugh a bit more.
The other agent I wanted to hit in that room has a long line so I decide to circle back. I race out of the room, road runner down the stairs and gallop to the other set of rooms.
I have several targets in Empire West. The top pick has a long line but I figure I have time. The line flies by with the help of a Jessica from CT. We exchange cards.
This agent also likes my pitch and requests the partial.
I jet across the room to an agent who tells me telepaths aren’t for her. Mind you I flubbed my pitch and got tongue tied but i did manage to recover. But valid point. With a polite Thanks, I head for my next target.
This Agent has a long line. Like 9 people. Ugh. But I’m good on time. So I get in it.
When I pitch her she makes eye contact the whole time. I don’t drop my gaze to my notes. Thank God I memorized it!
She says it’s not for her, but then gives me two referrals to agents who would like it. That was so unbelievably kind and above the call of duty.
Only bad call I made all day was sucking on sour candies to keep my mouth from drying out. I stuck the candy in my cheek like a chipmuck to talk and it dissolved between my gum and cheek. This kinda burned that area of my mouth. I alternated sides so both ache. Next conference I’ll stick to mints.
I hit my next agent. Her line is only 4 people. Still good on time, so I wait.
She requests a partial too.
Now it’s a race down the hall back to Central Park rooms to try and snag my next agent. There is a huge line 10 people for the agent in CPE I wanted. That will eat up most of my time left. Shoot. So I check the agent I want in CPW.
Her line is shorter so I go in for her. She is absolutely lovely and asks a few questions even after she requests the partial.
I’m grinning from ear to ear. But when i return to CPE, the agent line i wanted now has a last pitch sign given out. This means the person with that sign is the last pitch. Darn.
Like a New Yorker at rush hour, I speed walk and dodge people trying to get back to the Empire rooms. In Empire East, the agents I want all have writers holding last pitch signs. So I skedaddle into Empire West. I find two agents that don’t have big lines. So I jump in line and pitch one. Get my sixth request!
I have ten minutes left. One agent has no line, but I already have a cold query partial out to her agency. Darn. I scan the room. Everyone has last pitch cards. I race next door. Same situation. I fly down the hall. Same situation. The ones without lines don’t take my genre or already rejected me via cold query. Ugh.
So I stop at 9 pitches with 9 minutes left to go.
I’m helium balloon bouncing on the ceiling. Adrenaline is pumping. Mind is firing on all levels.
I go upstairs, get my stuff and head back to A’s apartment.
Out of 9 pitches, I got 6 requests and one referral. That’s more than I dreamed possible.
Thank you to Writer’s Digest for making this possible.
Also a huge shout out to Emmie Mears who is a delight to hang out with in NY and an awesome fellow blogger. So glad we got to meet and actually have a couple meals together.