Saturday, July 31, 2010

Orlando, FL - July 31, 2010 - Day Six

Words written: 0                                                             Weather: 95 High (heat index says it feels like 107)
Hrs. writing: 0 (unless you count this blog!)                                     79 Low
Hrs. shopping and sightseeing: 0                                                     45% Humidity

(Picture is the WDW Dolphin Hotel from our room on the 7th floor of the WDW Swan Hotel.)

You'll notice that there's no "Orlando, FL - July 30, 2010 - Day Five" of the conference. No, it didn't get deleted. It was a blur of workshops, lunch, and more workshops, then we collapsed for a few minutes, went to dinner, then came back for an early night - except for the whole, gotta hone my pitch thing and was up until after 10:30pm, getting some last minute, on-line help from friend Linda Smith.

Last day of conference, so I decided to pitch. Someone else took over my body when I wasn't looking, because I HATE to pitch. It's never going to get easier for me. Period. No matter how many times I do it. After signing into the "Wait List", I sat down and realized that my pitch was too long. Now, mind you, I stayed up last the night before, perfecting this pitch. It was PERFECT. But not if I wanted to breathe, or have time to have a conversation (not taking a breath leads to Darla on the floor, blue).

So, there I am, frantically writing, honing, paring my beautifully crafted sentences. It was a stroke of luck that I wasn't called until I was nearly finished (yes, I was still scribbling on my index card while standing in line!). The agent understood that I was nervous, and asked if it was my first time. Um, no ... 100th actually (Um, yeah-I didn't SAY that, just that no it wasn't my first pitch, LOL!). So I read my perfectly crafted words ... ran two sentences together and forgot to breathe. Yep. Looked up at the agent, who looked at me quite concerned and said 'Breathe'.

After a couple of deep breaths and I finished my pitch, she had a couple of interesting things to say (like, R/S is flat, and that is kinda hard to sell right now). But she was gracious enough to give me her card and that she'd like to see the first three chapters. WIN.

I went back to the waiting area and struck up conversations with other writers also waiting for an editor or agent opening so they could pitch. It made it so much more pleasant, and the waiting not so long. It was a long time later that a volunteer announced that one of the editors was going to stay late and take pitches for those who waited so patiently.

Other than the pleasant women I waited with, I'm sorry to say that I wished I would have just went on my way to a workshop. It was brutal. The editor said to give her the elevator pitch. You know the one, two lines or less to describe a 90k + word manuscript. Then proceeded to interrupt me twice, once to say that my story line was trope (what the HELL does that mean?? I looked it up, and still don't know), overdone, and interrupted another time to suggest that maybe I should look to category. I graciously tried to exit, but she was so busy explaining that she wouldn't be so brutal if she had more time, that SURELY I'd read similar stories already published, they were EVERYWHERE. Yeah, right.

I just wanted OUT of there. Before I embarrassed myself and started crying. I didn't want to cry, not for someone's opinion I didn't believe. I said-gently-that I've read a lot of books, along many genres, and I'd never seen my storyline written before. Maybe something similar (woman gets physic powers after a brutal event, etc), but my book has a unique twist, etc. Didn't matter. The editor just wanted her day to be over, despite her assurance that she could stay late and take more pitches. I just wanted to be somewhere else. FAIL.

So, I got out of there and went to lunch with good friend & RCRW Chapter President Kim Wollenburg and tried to let it go. The Fountain was busy, but Kim and I were lucky enough to get a spot at the bar and got food before I passed out from hunger. Didn't really make it to any more full workshops, though after mailing my books off, I heard the last half of The Secret Life of Pantsers. It sounded like great information, wished I would have been able to hear the entire thing. Su was there and took notes, so hopefully I'll get to cheat off her :-)

The Awards Ceremony is tonight, I'll try to take pics of friends and fellow RCRW members for posterity. Then tomorrow its off into the blue yonder @ 10:15 for home. Have to say, I'm looking forward to being home and away from vicious editors.


  1. {{{{DAR}}}}

    So sorry your last day of the conference went like that! It is SO hard to put our "babies" out there for other people's judgments.

    Know that you are surrounded by others who understand and are giving you an "atta girl." If I had to "pitch"--especially elevator pitch--my books, I think I would have sold one out of 16. I am in awe of your courage!

    Can't wait to hug you in person,


  2. Hi Darla,

    What an exasperating experience! I'm sorry that happened to you. I guess pitching has to do with timing--connecting with the right editor/agent at the right time. As you know, I pitch concise (with just a few notes to guide me) but that didn't seem to work for your 2nd appointment. Maybe it has to do with vision. It sounds like the editor's vision was different than yours so it's a blessing that she rejected your pitch.

    In case you didn't see it, this might cheer you up: I included your tag line as an example in my promo article for I was a guest columnist there on July 30th. Since then, I’ve been bumped down the page until I get archived. What this means for you is that your name/tag line is now linked with my article. Search your name and see what you pull up.

    You have such a beautiful website and a perfect tag line that vividly illustrates your writing so I couldn't resist including it into my article, thus giving you some publicity.

    Thank you for blogging about national. I enjoyed reading about the conference. You made me feel as if I were there with you. Take care.

  3. Wendy - thanks for the cyber hugs and kind comments, they definitely cheered me up! I'm looking forward to that hug in person.

    Vonnie - thank you for posting a comment, and the mention of my tag line in your article. I had a 3-min pitch prepared, but the editor threw me when she just wanted the elevator spiel. A friend had pitched to her earlier, and the same thing happened; she got interrupted, the editor was talking to another woman sitting at the table with her (co-worker, or something, I believe), etc. Bad manners, all around.