Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Because I’m Not About the Pitch, ‘Bout the Pitch—Just Query

By Ashley Hodges Bazer

Have you heard? Pikes Peak Writers Conference has done away with Pitch!

What’s that about? I mean, isn’t that was writers’ conferences are for…meeting with an agent or editor? Rubbing elbows and networking with people in the industry to secure a career in writing? How in the world am I going to get my million dollar advance for my multi-book contract with one of the Big 5 publishers?

Cool your jets, Kemosabe. Just like pink is the new black, Query 1-on-1 is the new Pitch. And let me, your Query 1-on-1 Coordinator, tell you why.          

Instead of spending eight excruciating minutes trying to impress a total stranger with a memorized logline, a summary, and a glowing sales pitch, you’ll now have the opportunity to get instant feedback on your one page query letter. You’ll sit down with one of these knowledgeable agents or editors, slide a single sheet of paper across the table, and learn what stands out in your query letter and what could be made better. There’s still the same chance the agent or editor will request to see more. There’s still the same conversation about your work. But there is now a springboard in place—a solid, well-crafted query directed toward the agent or editor you will meet with. Your logline and summary committed to ink, not waffling on nerves. It’s an opportunity to share a sample of your polished writing with a literary giant.

I’m personally quite excited about this new format. My first pitch in 2013 went fairly well, but last year, I think I tried too hard. Those eight pitching minutes were miserable! I was way too nervous, and I had psyched myself out. I had chosen to meet with an agent, and I was rather confident in my idea. I even went to the speed pitching sessions to sharpen my skills and receive some pointers. I had my logline down cold, but when I stood outside the pitch room with my fellow authors, the jitters showed up. I sat down across from the kind agent and blurted out my logline. Our conversation about my book was over in about two minutes. Yes, thankfully, she wanted to see more. But now we had six minutes to sit and chat.

I will be the first to tell you, I am an introvert. A classic, stereotypical, quintessential introvert. I am much better at writing words than speaking them. (That’s why we write, no?) On top of that, these agents and editors are literary celebrities to a meek, hopeful author. These are people we cyberstalk, trying to determine their likes and preferences. We follow them on Twitter, hanging on their every Tweet. We Google them over and over, looking for that one piece of valuable information that will give us an “in.” We hope they accept our Facebook friend request. How cool would you look to your other author friends by tagging one of the literary elite?

Okay…so maybe it’s just me.

But I believe this fresh idea we lovingly call Query 1-on-1 will prove far more beneficial to those of us who choose to participate than the previous pitching years. I hope you will take advantage of this conference perk. Just sign up for Query 1-on-1 when you register. Tell us your top three choices, and we’ll try to make that happen. Then, the rest is up to you. Research, write, polish, revise, polish again, read aloud, polish one more time, edit down to one single page of genius, and present.

See you on the seventh floor!

    
About the Author: Ashley Hodges Bazer is the author of the sci-fi series, The Crown's Call. She’s often decked out in bellbottoms and grooving out on the lighted dance floor. Okay, not really, but she does have a thing for the BeeGees. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. After earning her bachelor’s degree in theatrical stage management from Arizona State University, she went on to work for Disneyland in that capacity. A love affair with books led her to work for several different bookstores. Currently a producer for an international daily radio program, she’s learning to balance working, writing, and momming duties. When she’s not writing, she’s crocheting or belting out Broadway show tunes. And she's a real duchess! Learn more about Ashley and her upcoming books at www.AshleyBazer.com.



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