What I learned after pitching my book to Agents
What I learned…
This weekend I attended the League of Utah Writers Fall Conference and pitched my book to some local publishers and agents. MAN… did I learn a lot!
When I sat down in my first pitch session, which I purchased and only lasted 10 minutes, I was so nervous I was shaking. Then a random spider came down from the ceiling on its web… no joke. And I became even more scared. I hate Spiders! The black creepy crawler just hung there right over the table that separated me and an Acquisitions Editor who worked for a Local Publishing company. I pointed the spider out, and the Editor calmly smashed it so I’d be able to focus again. As soon as I found my words, I went right into my pitch which lasted maybe a minute. After I was done, He leaned back in his chair and said he was intrigued by my pitch and that he’d get my query letter to the top of the pile!
I was on cloud nine as I left that room. My confidence grew a foot, and in the second pitch session I had with a Senior Editor at a different Local Publishing Company, I gave the exact same pitch. She said NO!
What? Really? How can that be?
I was so glad that I had the first experience first. I didn’t let her “NO” get me down. I went on and practiced my pitch for the next half hour with a friend, who is a very good listener and gives very good feedback. She told me to shorten my pitch -LIKE A LOT. The final pitch was maybe five sentences long. And she gave me the names of two books for comparables to tell the agents. I practiced for a while and later that day I pitched my book to two agents and another editor. I received a “yes” from each of them.
The very last pitch I gave, I ended up crying while explaining the reason I wrote this book. I feel very strongly about the purpose of the book and am passionate about it, and then add all my nerves with pitching and you are bound to get some tears out of me. The agent said, “Oh I’ve made a lot of people cry.” After I finished with my pitch, the agent said she was very interested and asked for my entire manuscript. I left her room as happy as I could be and mentioned to a friend that the agent I just pitched to said for me to e-mail her my whole book. Her jaw dropped and she said, “Agents don’t do that!”
Now the pressure is on! Whatever I send to these agents and editors has to be good, or they’ll reject it and I’ll be back to pitching again. I am so excited, I can hardly stand it! To have agents and publishing companies ask for my work is a dream come true and is the next step in revising and polishing up my story.
When I periodically am overcome with nerves and start feeling butterflies in my stomach, I ask myself, what is the worst that can happen. I could fail. But I know that failing is never the end. I could send my work to them, but even if I get rejections from everyone, that is very normal when sending out a manuscript for the first time. Even if that were to happen, what would I lose? Nothing. I’ll gain so much more. I’ll gain valuable feedback from people in the business who read manuscripts for a living. I’ll gain experience with working with agents and editors at publishing companies and I’ll be even more prepared the next go around.
Now, of course, I’m going to give this shot my best, and I’ll work endless hours on polishing up and editing my book. I learned a few new things at the conference that I will add to my book to help make it even better. I will simply do my best, and hope that the agents who read my work will see the potential.
I want to share this story of my weekend with you, to share this message: Failure is never the end! It is only a new beginning. I could have been devastated with my pitch that said no. The Senior Editor wasn’t really that mean, but “No” is a hard word to hear while striving to achieve your dreams. Don’t let it stop you. Just keep trying and don’t give up on your dreams.