Monday, March 24, 2014

Seven Things About Pitching You Won’t Hear From Me Live

By Linda Rohrbough


I’ve come up with a pitching workshop that’s also now an iPhone app. It’s a three step formula that works for any book. Want to hear more? I’ll let you in on my secrets when I teach it live in my Thursday Prequel workshop on April 22nd at this year’s PPW Conference, "Pitch Perfect: 3 Steps to Getting Their Attention." But in the meantime, let me tell you seven things I’m sure I won’t have time to say that Thursday morning.
1.      Most writers stop improving their pitch at the point where they sell the book. They do this because they figure if the pitch sold the book, it’s good enough. I agree. However, there are basic ways to make a pitch work and it can always be improved.
2.      Most new writers feel they have to be all things so some editor or agent will pay attention to them. That’s simply not true, and it’s the quickest way to produce failure.
3.      Every writer, no matter how much experience he or she has, has some level of fear when pitching. What’s important is to understand the concept that you can use fear to your advantage, and learn how to make fear work for you instead of against you.
4.      I failed miserably the first couple times I tried to pitch my fiction work. I failed pitching my non-fiction work, too, but the fiction failures were worse because I thought I had enough experience writing professionally to be heard. This is why I did the work to come up with my formula, which I use for my own work.
5.      This is a false statement: “You just need a one-sentence pitch.” I’d like to find whoever started that rumor and straighten them out. Although it’s so widespread now, I’m not sure it’s possible to trace the source.
6.      Most successful writers learned how to pitch by trial and error with years of practice. Yes, you can learn the same way. But do you really want to? Wouldn’t you rather shortcut that process?
7.      I get this question a day or two into a conference from new writers who take my workshop: “Do agents and editors always say yes?” They look at me with suspicion because they have heard pitching is hard. But these fresh writers, who have never pitched before and are using my formula, think pitching is too easy. So there must be a catch, like all agents and editors say yes at conferences and this is a scam arranged to make them feel better about paying extra for this workshop. So those of you with experience, can you tell us, do all agents and editors say yes at conferences? Ask around to the professional writers who learned to pitch by trial and error. Find out how long and how many tries it took them to get a yes.
One thing you will hear me say in my workshop is that pitching is a lifelong skill for a writer. Since writing is a lifelong profession, that makes sense.
I’m smiling as I write this because I’m looking forward to teaching this workshop. It’s one of my favorites and fresh for me every time I teach it. (I’ll be teaching other workshops during the course of the conference, as well.) Plus, I’m looking forward to being back home in Colorado. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a third generation Colorado native transplanted to Raleigh, North Carolina, but always looking for an excuse to come home.
Here’s the link for the Thursday Prequel workshops. Hope to see you there!


About the Author: Linda Rohrbough has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit along with national awards for her fiction and non-fiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." The Prophetess One: At Risk has garnered three national awards: the 2012 International Book Award, the 2011 Global eBook Award, and the 2011 Millennium Star Publishing Award. An iPhone App of her popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.