Jenn Stark

Pitch Perfect: Selling Your Book In 30 words or Less

If you’ve been at a writers’ conference recently, or any major book convention, you’ve probably seen them: slightly harried but always inquisitive publishing professionals, whose eyes and ears are wide open even when they’re at their most exhausted, looking for the Next Big Thing. Or the Current Big Thing who’s thinking about a career change. Or the Maybe Big Thing who just needs a push in the right direction. Some of these professionals are agents at the beginning of their careers, or editors who just got that all-important “go” to acquire. But some are also industry giants, who know that today’s newcomer will be tomorrow’s superstar. All of them are on the lookout for talent. And they never know when it might be standing in the elevator next to them.

Which brings us to the author. That’s right: you! In your own mind you know that being put on the spot at a conference *could* happen. That you *may* be asked that most weighty of questions: “so, what do you write?” or its twin brother: “so, tell me what you’re working on now.” But are you really ready for it?

It’s not as easy a question to answer as you might wish. To dip briefly into a sports analogy, many of us go to conferences with that queasy feeling we remember from Junior High basketball practice, that “please, no, don’t throw me the ball” reaction that is born of the fear of flubbing the pass. But prepping for conferences and either chance or planned meetings with publishing professionals doesn’t have to send you running for the locker room. This five-step plan for high-performance pitching will make sure your head is always in the game!