Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pitch Conference: Tuesday's Reflection

"The soul holds expectations lightly and is not attached to the 
outcome. The soul takes her time, embraces the slow ripening of things, and savors what is to be learned from the process."

                       Christine Valters Paintner

These are the words I prayed as I prepared for the Pitch Conference at The Loft this past weekend. 

This conference was an opportunity to meet with literary agents and pitch your book project. Each writer-agent session was only eight minutes, and each writer was paired with three agents during the two-days. The hope is that an agent will ask you to send them more information, including all or part of your manuscript. Along with the speed dating, participants attended panel discussions and workshops and, of course, had informal conversations with other writers. 

The conference was intense, informative, and exhausting. 

Encouraging and helpful.

No, none of the three agents with whom I met asked me to send them a query letter or parts of my book. My book is a spiritual memoir, and none of the agents at the conference represent that genre, although many do represent memoir. Not receiving an invitation for further contact was not a surprise, so why did I feel so encouraged?

Two of the three agents were complimentary of both the content of my pitch and my delivery and all three gave me concrete next steps to take. One of the agents indicated that if spiritual memoir was something she felt she could represent well, she would be interested in my book. That sent me soaring! In my heart and mind that was a positive outcome indeed.

I worked diligently to prepare for this conference. I read lots of material about pitches and incorporated suggestions into my pitch. I attended a pitch practice session with an editor, which was incredibly helpful. My writing group  made strong suggestions, too. I memorized my 4 minute pitch and practiced it carefully, in order to be at ease and conversational. 

All those things were important, but even more important was entering the time and space with a light and open heart, rather than a tight grip. My goal was to detach from a specific outcome and instead, welcome this opportunity to grow. 

One more note: Towards the end of the conference another writer asked me how my agent meetings had gone, and I told her how encouraged I was. She assumed that meant the agents requested material from me, and I explained briefly why I was encouraged. She then attempted to reassure me and offered suggestions of what I should do, including not to be discouraged. Clearly, she didn't believe me. 

At first, I doubted myself. Maybe I shouldn't feel so positive about my agent interactions. Maybe I am naive. Maybe I am covering up disappointment. Nope. I know what I feel. I know what happened in my pitch sessions. 

I know there is room for more than one positive outcome. 

Thanks to all of you, by the way, who have been so supportive of this step on my writing pilgrimage. I took your support with me. 

And now it is back to work. 

An Invitation
Are you currently holding on tightly to some expectation or outcome? I would love to know.  

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