Last year around this time I was not thinking about publishing my book. In fact I had put it away in a safe place on my computer and it was gathering dust after being revised over nineteen times and sent out and rejected seven times. So when Lea Schizas advertised the Muse Online Writers Conference, which takes place the first week in October online, I thought I'd go and participate in the workshops. Then Lea said she was adding a pitch session to this year's conference. Immediately the wheels in my head started turning.
I thought of all the publishers there that I hadn't encountered and suddenly a wild desire to have my book published overrode any sense I had. I was going to pitch my book to an independent publisher who appreciated my story. So I told Lea about pitching my book and sent her the list of the suggested publishers she had given to us. Now here's the part I hadn't expected. She told me that she had started a brand new publishing company and she would really love it if I would pitch my book to her company! This made me realize that I knew the publisher and maybe if she liked it, then maybe, just maybe it might be published!!!
Ecstatic about the possibility of this I raced off the perfect my "elevator pitch".
As you all can see from these blogs, I have a tiny problem with summarizing things and writing a pitch is all summary. So I wrote and rewrote and rewrote until I thought I had it right and I would post all of it here, but then you would see the ending of the book. You have to give a synopsis of your book, including the ending, in a pitch. Actually, my blurb for the book is very similar to my pitch. I can post the pitch with the ending removed so you can see:
Carolyn Samuels starts freshman year in high school with Jennifer Taylor as her Math partner, the girl who tormented her all last year. After fainting in gym Carolyn needs Jennifer's help to keep it quiet, so she does Jennifer's homework for her never realizing this would lead to more and more lies to cover it up from her friends as Jennifer, on the track to be an Olympic gymnast, befriends her, teaches her how to tumble and how to dress, and until Carolyn, basking in the glow of being Jennifer's friend, finds out the truth. Jennifer has a secret she has kept from her parents and her best friend and tells Carolyn, who must keep Jennifer's secrets on her brain like "sandbags” because she needs Jennifer's help to become a cheerleader and wants to be close to Jennifer's hunky junior quarterback boyfriend Brad on whom she has a crush. In the process of learning too much about Jennifer....
Here is the blurb:
Carolyn Samuels’ freshman year becomes a series of lies to cover Jennifer Taylor’s terrible secret in return for popularity.
Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. Hyperventilating when she gets nervous doesn’t help. When she is paired for a Math project with the girl who tormented her in middle school, Jennifer Taylor, she is sure it is going to be another year of pain.With Carolyn’s crush on Jennifer’s hunky Junior quarterback Brad her freshman year in high school looks like a rerun of middle school. After Jennifer’s the only student who knows why she fell in gym class, Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework in return for Jennifer’s silence. Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can’t be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. When Jennifer invites Carolyn to sleep over to make her over and teach her to tumble, Carolyn learns Jennifer’s secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and become popular? Does she continue to keep Jennifer’s secret? Or will she be a target of this mean girl again?
You can see the differences. In the pitch everything was straightforward. You have to give the ending too. In a blurb it's more detailed and of course the ending is left out of it. The blurb is there to help the reader decide if they want to read your book. The pitch is to editors and publishers who only want to see if the book fits their needs.
So once you have your pitch, how do you pitch online? This was how I had to pitch my story last year. If you are thinking about doing it this year, make sure you are good at cutting and pasting, because that is how you are going to pitch. There is a big open chatroom where you are basically in a waiting room with other writers who are waiting to pitch. I was extremely nervous and could barely type at one point while I was waiting. You are called to the waiting room before it is your turn so you have a lot of time to see people move in and out and either share the joy or the sorrow when you find out if the pitch was successful. If they like your pitch you are asked to submit part of your story and then you wait. If they don't they tell you immediately. That was what I didn't want to happen.
When it was my turn I went into a very private two person chat room where my now editor and publisher were waiting. I had to paste in my pitch after an initial welcome and then I waited. They read it and I went back to the waiting room to await my fate. They liked it!! In fact, the both of them said they loved it!!! I sent my three chapters and waited. The next day they asked for the whole manuscript. So I sent it and waited some more. Then the miraculous night, actually, arrived. I was checking my email when I saw one from Lea. It said the magic words I had been waiting to hear for five years!! She was offering me a contract and there it was. I was on my way to being a published author!!
My YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is now available from MuseItUp Publishing at The Muse Bookstore, Amazon, Kindle. Soon to be available for Nook.
In closing, I hope you will all consider attending The Muse Online Writers Conference. Registration closes on September 25th. It could change your life.:) Until next Saturday, hope you all have a great week!