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A fictionalized account of what it’s like to be the person you pitch to

August 2, 2013

Let me tell you a little about myself right after I take off these damned shoes. Unfortunately, I forgot to switch out the flats after work and had to wear the heels through the airport and on the plane. Then off the plane when they had to take us off and re-board us because of a mechanical failure. Normally, I don’t take my shoes off on a plane. It’s like plunging your feet into a giant germ factory. But it’s been a long week–between work and battling the guy who’s supposed to be fixing my heater. And with my husband off working in California this week, I get to deal with all that.

So this weekend is Florida. I had to check because I have conferences in six out of eight weekends and this is kind of in the middle somewhere. So it’s either Denver or Florida. Good thing I guessed right because the clothing requirements are vastly different in October.

The very large gentleman eyed the seat next to me and fortunately sat in the row behind me. I actually had an empty seat next to me. I wanted to sleep. My eyes wanted me to sleep. My body wanted me to sleep. Work beckoned, however.

The flight got in at quarter after midnight, which is really quarter after eleven for me. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the nine o’clock pitches tomorrow really start at eight for me. I’m not a morning person. And given all that I’ve eaten the past several weeks, I have got to work out at some point. I find the best time is before the first pitch. Because schedules change and I’ve actually had to go to a pitch in my workout clothes with sweat pouring from me. It’s for this reason I bring baggy clothes to work out in, though I prefer the compression pants.

Anyway, in spite of being tired, I’m looking forward to hearing about the book ideas. My friend came to your conference last year and got a couple keepers, so this conference is building a reputation for good quality. She also said she enjoyed it quite a bit and the weather was perfect. Not bad, considering the low temperature in Chicago this weekend last year was 11 degrees.

I brought my swimsuit. I’m staying an extra day. If my husband can go to San Diego, I can swing an extra day in Florida.

Anyway, I’m anxious to hear about your books, even if I am tired. And even if, by the end of the day, I have to spend the better part of an hour going through my notes so I can keep everything straight. Last year, I had twelve pitches in a day at a conference and I almost totally crossed up two of them. I take better notes now. And drink coffee. Lots of coffee.

So here’s what I need from you. I understand you’re going to be nervous, and that’s okay. I’m not going to eat you. I just want to see if we can do business together. I need you to have your stuff together. That means don’t come in and pitch me gothic horror. I don’t represent gothic horror, so you just wasted your money and time. Please check and make sure I represent what you write.

Also, please have the basics worked out in your head ahead of time. Rachelle Gardner has a great post that lays out the framework. Tell me the basics without making me have to pull them out of you. I love conferences, but I’m going to be tired tomorrow and if I don’t have to pull it out of you, my head will be clearer when I listen to your pitch.

And please, please, please, please. don’t pitch me in the hallway, on the way to the agents panel, or while I’m working out. I know you joked on this blog last year about pitching while I’m in the bathroom and it’s a funny joke–except it’s been done before. To me.

By a guy. I shudder.

And please, I keep up with the industry stuff. But I don’t want to hear–during the pitch–about whether Konrath is right or Barnes and Noble is going to fail. I think it’s great that you keep up with things, but most conferences make you pay for the time you spend with me, so please use it wisely. You’ve still got a couple months before we meet, so now’s the time to start working on getting ready. Do your research. Plan your pitch.

Knock my socks off. And seriously, after last night, don’t be offended if I wear flats. It’s not you. It’s not me, actually. It’s my feet.

Anyway, that’s what it’s like to be me this weekend. I want to stress that I’m here to do business. I want you to succeed. I want your book to be right for me and then I want it to be right for a publisher.

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