Miss Crankypants is old enough to remember rotary dial telephones, tin foil rabbit ears on the black and white TV set and SASEs. Back in the writing conference good old days, we met with editors or agents and smiled a lot. We whispered that if the agent wanted an exclusive, we had–get this–spirited our entire manuscript into our hotel room and could hand it over before the agent headed back to New York City. This was before airlines charged for checked baggage.
At today’s writing conferences, we still smile until our poor little cheeks ache. But after we pony up a small fortune for a 15 minute session, we’re expected to PITCH our projects. There are several ways to approach this ritual, which mostly makes writers feel compelled to do anything–ANYthing–to get noticed. Whether a writer comes to the pitch dressed as a period character from his novel set in Neanderthal times or gets nervous and upchucks, the pitch is the thing.
- Recite a memorized pitch with as much enthusiasm as if they were saying multiplication tables or the Gettysburg Address.
- Practice in the pitch practice room. Any writer who’s ever been in there knows it’s worse than karaoke night a half hour before last call. In the pitch practice room, you’ll be on stage for everyone to mock, minus enough alcohol to lessen the sting and make you not care.
- Write cues on a note card now limp with sweat, or one’s own palm.
The obvious question is: Why aren’t writers having Tee-shirts printed with their pitches? The pitch would not stutter, belch or pass out during the golden 15 minutes. Your pitch would not forget itself back in your hometown 3000 miles away. You could walk around the conference, literally a walking billboard, and never have to regurgitate the dreaded “one sentence test” to the agent you stand next to in the dinner line.
Trust Miss Crankypants: The Pitch Tee is guaranteed to attract attention for your project. If it doesn’t, just whisper that you’d be happy to run out to your car and get your1000 page romantic sci-fi vampire inspirational novel.
By the way, be sure to thank Miss CP in your book’s acknowledgements–you heard it here first. And if your book doesn’t sell? Hey, at least you got a shirt.