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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Guest Amanda Flower

Readers, please welcome my friend, and fellow COTT staff member, Amanda Flower as today's guest blogger.  Amanda, thank you so much for being my guest today here at Adventures in Writing!


Amanda Flower’s Pitching Tips

I’ve recently returned from the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Indianapolis, and Michelle asked me to stop by and share with you some of what I learned at the conference.

I decided to go to this particular conference because I live in Ohio, so the conference was nearby. Also, it was the perfect opportunity to learn about the Christian publishing industry and pitch my unpublished novels to agents and editors.

The closer and closer I got to Indiana the more nervous I became. You see, I am a published author, but I’ve never pitched to an agent or editor face-to-face. I sold my debut mystery, Maid of Murder, in a less traditional manner you can read all about in my friend April Gardner’s blog.

However, when it was all over, I did come away from the conference with some pitching tips that I’m happy to share.

1)      Pray right before your appointment. I believe my prayer went something like this, “Please, can you just make sure I don’t sound like a babbling fool for the next say twenty minutes. Amen.”

2)      At the beginning of the time, ask the agent or editor what he or she is acquiring. Save yourself from the anxiety and embarrassment of pitching a fantasy to an editor who is only interested in historical romance.

3)      Notice the agent’s or editor’s body language as you’re speaking. As a writer you are an observer of human nature, right? You can tell pretty early on if the person you are talking to isn’t buying what you are selling.

4)      When an agent or editor agrees to look at your work, thank them and wrap up the interview. Don’t use up more of his or her time than is necessary. You might look desperate if you keep pressing for the hard sell, when you’ve already succeeded.

5)      Remember that your life and writing career do not hang in the balance over how well you speak in the next fifteen minutes. This can be hard to remember as the wait for your appointment can be agonizing. At the ACFW conference, the organizers had us wait on a walled platform for our appointments, which they nicknamed “purgatory.” It was very appropriately named.

6)      Good or bad, reward yourself. I went to the mall and bought myself a sweater. However, you can reward yourself without spending money even if it’s a quick call home to your kids or a retreat to your hotel room to escape the crowd.

7)      Pray right after the appointment. I spoke with a few editors and agents and here are examples of prayers I thought afterward.
a)      “Yea! Yea! Yea! Thank you!”
b)      “Wow, that was a train wreck, wasn’t it? Can I have a do over?”

I hope this eases your mind a little as you travel to your next writers’ conference. The road to publication is not easy. If you don’t succeed at one conference, keep trying. Eventually, someone will stand up and take notice of how talented you are.

Thanks Michelle for letting me stop by the blog today!

To learn more about Amanda and Maid of Murder visit her online at http://amandaflower.com/. You can also follow Amanda on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/ejquq or Twitter at http://twitter.com/aflowerwriter.

 Amanda Flower is an academic librarian for a small college in Ohio. Her first novel, Maid of Murder, was released in 2010. When she is not at the library or writing her next mystery, she is an avid traveler, aspiring to visit as much of the globe as she can.


amandaflower said...

Thanks for the guest post, Michelle!

Michelle Massaro said...

you're welcome Amanda- thanks for playing! =)

Terri Tiffany said...

Thank you Michelle for sharing about this. I want so much to get to ACFW and hope to next year if at all possible. I love hearing about how others met with agents and the more I do, the more I discover we all feel the exact same way!LOL

Lisa Lickel said...

Very, very cool! Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad you had a good time. I cold give you a few more pointers about what not to do at a pitch session, but I don't want to frighten anyone else in public.