Tag Archive | writer’s conference

Preparing Your Elevator Pitch

Writer’s conferences are right around the corner. Have you been writing? Do you have a story you think is ready to pitch to an editor or agent?

The elevator pitch is the shortest, quickest sell for your story. You imagine you are in an elevator and only have a few moments of someone’s time and attention to snag them with the brilliance of your tale. How do you do that?

Have your story written. Revised. Critiqued. This can seem to take forever and time is a good thing for wine and fiction. Take J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He wrote that trilogy over a 12 year time span. (World War II was going on and might have had some impact). So take your time and make it sparkle.

"One ring to rule them all. One ring to find them. One ring to bring them all. And in the darkness, bind them."

“One ring to rule them all. One ring to find them. One ring to bring them all. And in the darkness, bind them.”

Write your synopsis in several versions. Sometimes this can seem harder than writing the entire story. Why several versions? Because some agents and editors want one page and others are okay with as much as five. They want to see the story arc and themes. Writing it longer and shorter will also help you cull the basics of your story down so you are ready for the next part. . .

Write what would be a back page teaser for your story. Most readers will read this to determine if this is a story they want to read. This also shows up on bookseller pages. You want to capture the reader with the uniqueness and wonder of the story you want to tell. This kind of thing can make or break your story. This will also be what you would put on a one page (along with your bio and why they should take a chance on you as author). This might also serve as your elevator pitch.

Can you summarize your story in a sentence or two? Seriously. As short as you can. These can also appear at times on the back of a book as well.

This is a painstaking process but the better you know the nuts and bolts and can write and speak about your story without getting sucked into all the fun details that you hope will keep your reader engaged once they start opening up your pages.

Make appointments and meet as many editors and agents as you can . . . but not just to sell your story. Remember they are all human people. We do not have super-powers. Ask questions. Get to know these people and what they do have a life outside of the conference. At one conference I ended up sitting next to an agent at breakfast. I wasn’t going to pitch to him but we had a fun conversation and I learned a lot, about his journey and the industry. Maybe that agent or editor won’t be a good fit for you and your book – but someday you can point someone else their way. Or, they might remember you down the road too.

This is not a way to “work the system” but it is practical. You want and editor and or agent that you can really work with. Not to be a diva, but not everyone is going to be a good personality fit for you. Be yourself and be honest about what you want to grow in and ask those questions. I’m more willing to work with an author who is a learner more than someone who is vainly believing they’ve already achieved perfection.

Practice. Practice. Practice. The best pitch I ever got, the woman had me almost believing that the story she was telling me was something that had really happened to a close friend. Her energy and enthusiasm was fortunately evident in her writing style as well. She’s got her second book coming out this summer.

Have courage. You’ll be great!

 

 

Why Attend a Writer’s Conference?

Attending a writer’s conference is hard if you are trying to write. After all, how many people say they want to write a book and never do? But you are out there, trying and learning and maybe even overloaded by the wealth of resources on the internet telling you how to do it and what the rules are.

What are they again?

The one thing you’ll consistently see is “Get Thee To a Writer’s Conference!”

Sure. I’m struggling to pay the bills and writing is earning me nothing and to get ahead I have to spend money to go to a writer’s conference. I could self-pub for free without leaving my cozy home and spending hundreds of dollars. 

I hear ya. Boy, do I hear ya.

I wrote for years and started connecting with some other writers in my area and that was great. But I longed to get to a conference. I had no means to do it.

Somehow I did it. And here’s what I learned.

1. They get me there! There is a community and support like no other when you attend a writer’s conference. Especially a Christian one. Wow. These are all people who understand the struggle to grasp some concepts  and they are more than eager to help anyone else who is struggling. You come home when you are a writer’s conference.

2. We all have different learning styles but in the busyness of life, how often do you sit and read all those blogs or books or attend all those webinars? Getting to a conference takes you out of the distractions of daily life so you can focus on your craft and grow.

3. You come away with things money really can’t buy: a with a few more tools in your belt, inspiration for the journey ahead and new friends. (Friends who might even help you promote a book some day? Just sayin’!)

4. Rub shoulders with industry professionals. Maybe you don’t have a book to pitch (yet!). Go and meet with editors and agents anyway. Get to know them. Pick their brains. Ask for advice. They are human just like you and eager to help writers make it to the next steps – because if you do and do it well, they might someday make money off of you!  And you never know how those connections and relationship (if positive) might benefit you down the line.  I’ve referred people to others at conferences when I thought that what they have that other editor might be interested in. You just never know, but if you go with a positive attitude and a desire to learn, you might just find out.

If attending a conference seems too difficult or expensive here’s my suggestion. Start small. Attend a day conference near you. (save the cost of hotel). Or only go for a shorter time. Some conferences offer scholarships. Humble yourself and apply for one. It won’t pay for everything but it can put that opportunity within your reach. No one you meet up with will know how you got there, nor will they care. The fact is you made it.

The first conference I attended opened so many doors for me that it’s hard to describe. The relationships and connections I made have enriched my life.  Maybe I’ll meet at one in the future because I hope you’ll go.