I went to a writers conference this weekend. At the conference, there is a thing called a ‘Pitch Slam.’ Now, if you’ve never done this, and you are a writer, I highly advise you to fork up the money and go to a writers conference. The pitch slam alone is worth it.
Because it gives you a chance to meet face-to-face with an agent. You will pitch your novel, and they will either request an email from you, or insist you please leave their presence immediately. The benefit is you get to find out where your novel stands, and build up a new-skin for enduring the business end of writing.
If every agent rejects your manuscript, it is a good thing. Either learn how to pitch better, or set the piece of garbage down, go outside, and try to pretend like you are a normal human being who doesn’t know what this drug called ‘writing’ is all about. Time saver.
Now, as for the writers conference in general, it was one of the coolest experiences of my lifetime. There are lectures all weekend covering all the facets of writing. From those who wish to learn more about the craft, to those which wish to learn more about business.
And I pride myself to a point of bone-headed-arrogance on never bothering with ‘tricks of the craft’, but even I learned something which will be pivotal to my story, in relation to suspense and captivation. Here’s a hint – When your character is motivated to succeed in his quest by a good heart, it isn’t quite as exhilarating as the knowledge that he will certainly be murdered if he fails.
Furthermore, besides the lectures and the pitch-slam, there is the collection of writers. Writers ranging from your typical, “Aw hell, I’ll write a book shit. What’s it but a few purty words put to-gather?” To my new friend Joe, who is spending this entire week pitching screen plays to Hollywood execs. And yes, he’s already received some serious investments for his online show, “Precipice.” You can check it out at http://www.precipicetheseries.com
Then, lastly, there is the canoodling. You get to talking with these people. The writers, the speakers, the agents, the teachers, the published authors. On Saturday, we all stood around and gingerly sipped alcoholic beverages with one another.
Word of advice from McWatty9 – If you ever want to make a great connection with someone, get drunk with them and talk about B.S. the whole night. Trust me, you will make a far greater impression then pitching your book to someone who just finished listening to book pitches for twelve hours.
So, in summary, if you are truly serious about getting published, go to one of these events. It is far easier to ‘make a name for yourself’ with a handshake and an introduction then it is to write so many published articles your name is ingrained in every reader’s memory.
Thanks to Writers Digest for hosting a great event.
– Thomas M. Watt