In my jeans and tank top, gargoyle tattoos hanging out, mowhawked hair and my hastily scribbled notes clutched in my sweaty hands, I went to my first pitch appointment with an editor of a big publishing company. I was ill prepared. I’d had just left a pitch workshop an hour earlier and heard the stellar pitches given by well-prepared women in snappy business suits. The message I’d gotten from the workshop was dress well, be professional. Um… zero for two. The rest of the information didn’t get past the loud ringing that developed in my ears.
Why had I signed up for something so stressful?
Oh wait… I hadn’t.
Leia Shaw, one of my writing partners-in-crime, had signed me up without my knowledge and was urging me to try, even though I had no idea how to explain my book. Apparently self-deprecating humor isn’t acceptable pitch fodder, so I just stuck to trying to explain what it was about in my notes.
I was directed into the room, trembling and short of breath, and directed to sit across from an elegant young woman who was probably fifteen years my junior. She smiled kindly, probably hoping I didn’t pass out on her table or throw up in her lap.
I was introduced by name.
My name was my big opening line – I had nothing else prepared!
I’m um-ed for a moment then repeated my name like an idiot parrot, since deviating from my notes had made me stall. I read them to her at light speed, desperately trying to slow down and failing miserably. She nodded sympathetically a few times and I was glad she didn’t look completely terrified of me, at least. I had the feeling that I was coming off a little – intense.
When I finally slid to a halt at the end of my spiel, she paused a moment and asked if there were any sexy bits in the book.
Um… had I neglected to mention that the book was erotic bdsm lgbt polyamorous during the hot bits? Oops. I got through that short explanation, and her smile broadened. She gave me her card. The company had a new digital imprint that was willing to take risks on cross-genre and edgy books, and she would be happy to see the first fifty pages whenever it was ready.
I stammered my thanks and staggered out of the room (trying to look composed and nonchalant), clutching her business card. Leia was waiting for me outside the door, grinning, and she admitted she’d been eavesdropping.
Even if this contact goes nowhere, or I decide to self-publish this one, too, it was an interesting experience. Because it had a relatively positive outcome (although I know most people who pitch get a similar response) I didn’t have to spank my co-author for signing me up. Although if I *had* gone to the other pitch she signed me up for with the editor looking for inspirational romance…