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Posts Tagged ‘novel pitch’

fingers on keyboardYesterday, as I basked in the perfect summer weather of southeastern New England, I browsed the news app on my cell phone. At the bottom of the list, I found a section devoted to my town of Norton from various sources in the surrounding area.

When I clicked into the ‘Patch’ news article, I noticed an offer to send breaking local news to my cell phone or desktop, and registered my email address.

Upon receiving the first news-bite, another offer popped up to advertise an event electronically to all the surrounding towns who have their own version of the Patch.

Well, I submitted my registration request, received my log-in information this morning, and have posted my participation in Local Author Day at the Ugly Dog Books in Attleboro, MA, on July 30 at 4pm.

How easy! And FREE!

Check it out…you may have a similar marketing opportunity in your hometown.

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hands on keyboardThis past weekend, I attended Crime Bake in Dedham, MA. Sponsored by Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, this conference is always inspiring, but not without its disappointments to a budding author.

First, there was the ‘First Page Critique’ session after lunch on Saturday. When my first page was read, only one agent defended my efforts because she has seen my progress. But neither she nor the other four agents raised a hand to indicate they would read further.

Second, my pitch to an agent, hoping to hook her into asking for my first three chapters, fell on deaf ears. This could be my fault, because I decided to change my genre from mystery to romantic suspense after the pitch practice session on Friday night. I’m going back to mystery genre.

Third time was a charm! My manuscript evaluation was provided by Ray Daniel, a Boston author. He pointed out that although my writing is good, and my verbs are strong, I’m asking my reader to hang in with me for a third of the novel before we find out that there is a body. Over the months, I’ve changed my opening scene too many times to count, but Ray’s words made sense to me. I finally got it!

So I flew out of bed early on Sunday morning, rushed to my computer and opened a new file. I pulled Chapter 12 forward, did a bit of tweeking and printed off a new page one. When I arrived at the Dedham Hilton for the final day of the conference, I bumped into Ray within minutes and asked what he thought of the new first page. He gave it a thumbs up…yea!

My writing days will now include not only regular revision, but a re-sequencing of my chapters to move my suspects into the middle.

But, oh,  how exciting this is!

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three women sepiaAn email arrived inviting me to choose my top three agents for the pitching session at the Crime Bake Conference, sponsored by Sisters in Crime New England and Mystery Writers of America during the weekend of Nov 8-9-10.

This year, the organizers are offering eleven agents and editors for our selection process. Bios for them all are provided on the Crime Bake website.

And so my analysis began! I read each bio to discover what sub-genre that agent is seeking at the moment, and their experience in the publishing industry. A follow-up exploration of each corporate websites with a browse through their most recently published authors solidified if they seem to be a good match for my mystery/romance story.

I settled on my top three, registered my picks via the online form, and will now wait until I register at the conference to find out which one is my assigned agent.

The pitching session will take place on Saturday afternoon during the conference weekend. Those authors who are participating will be collected outside the pitching room, and herded in as a group to spend our five minutes in front of the pour assigned agent. If all goes well, and my pitch includes enough of a hook, the agent may request more of my story. Wouldn’t that be encouraging?

Cross your fingers!

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sketch of question personThere are several publishing houses out there who do not require an agent. This sounds tempting until I read the fine print for their submission guidelines.

The one that I’m considering requests a query email, a 2-5 page synopsis and the entire manuscript as attachments.

My concern centers around my constant worry that someone will ‘borrow’ my story without my knowledge. Compared to the usual process that an agent requires, which is a query letter first, after which they request perhaps the synopsis and possibly the first three chapters, it seems to me that providing everything upfront, electronically, with no prior interaction with a human being puts me at somewhat of a disadvantage.

Am I being a bit paranoid? Probably.

I’d be interested to hear from those of you who are published whether you worked through an agent or dealt directly with a publisher.

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During the past two weeks, I’ve been participating in an on-line course titled: “Revising Without Getting Sick of Your Manuscript” by Sylvie Kurtz.  The lessons were provided daily via both email and the Yahoo Group website. Each day brought a different aspect of writing fiction:

8-20 – 1.  Introduction

8-21 –  2.  General Outlook

8-22  – 3.  Plot and Structure

8-23 –  4.  Point of View

8-24  – 5.  Scenes

8-25 –  6.  Characters

8-27 –  7.  Dialogue

8-28 –  8.  Backstory

8-29 –  9.  Opening and Endings

8-30 – 10.  Voice, Style, and Details

8-31 – 11.  Conclusion

Sylvie is a fount of knowledge for each topic and provided examples to illustrate the point of each lesson. Her explanations and guidelines were easy to understand. But the best part of it all was her feedback! With her guidance, I now own a respectable pitch that I can send off to agents and publishers.

If you ever have the opportunity to take a course with Sylvie, I highly recommend that you do!

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Several weekends ago, I ‘pitched’ my novel to an agent at the New England Crime Bake, the annual conference sponsored by both Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Sitting on the other side of the table from the agent was not as daunting as I had expected. She smiled at me, and I explained the story behind my novel. After asking a few questions, she looked at me and said, “Here’s my card, email your first three chapter.”

YEA! It was all I could do not to jump up off my chair and dance around the room. But, of course, I didn’t, being a completely professional person. I thanked her as we shook hands, and exited the room, passing the next author in line on my way out.

And so I sit and wait for her to find the time to read my chapters and get back to me with either good… or bad… news. The good news would be if she sayd, “I like your writing style and your characters sound interesting. Your story has potential, so I’d like to read the remaining chapters.”

The bad news would be, “I’m sorry, but your novel is not what I’m looking to publish right now.” That would be so disappointing, but I’m prepare to hear those words as well.

And so I sit and wait.

 

 

 

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