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Pitch the Publisher

During a recent visit to my hometown, Halifax, Nova Scotia, I stumbled upon an amazing opportunity to learn more about the book publishing process.  As I was sitting around the kitchen table with my mom, having coffee and perusing the Chronicle Herald (the local paper), I spied a notice about an event that was coming up the following weekend called, "Pitch the Publisher" which was part of The Word on the Street Festival, a day long literary event that's held every year.  It was a call for all aspiring authors to bring their manuscripts, ideas or proposals and test them out on an actual panel of local publishers (yes, I am working on a book about living in Dubai and it's to the point where I'm developing my proposal and researching agents and publishers).  I decided it was too great an opportunity to pass up and called right away to find out how to get on the list.  Alas, the schedule was full but I was put on a waiting list and reassured that the previous year they did get around to hearing from everyone on the list.  I was psyched!  I fine-tuned my proposal, had it copied and bound at the UPS store, wrote out my pitch and practiced it over and over again.  I was excited!

The day arrived and I made my way to Victoria Park on Spring Garden Rd.  It was a crisp, cool day and the event was outside so I added an extra layer figuring the nervous energy coursing through me would keep me warm.  I often forget that I've been living in warm climates for 17 years...brrrr! is all I have to say.  Anyways, I sat through all the scheduled pitches eagerly awaiting my turn with butterflies in my stomach - not sure if it was the cold making me shiver or nerves!  The minutes ticked by and all of the sudden, they were wrapping up and thanking everyone for their time and the publishers were selecting their favorite pitch to award a prize to.  But wait!!!  I haven't done mine yet, I screamed inside my head.  It eventually sunk in that they had run out of time and weren't going to get to the waiting list.  Rats!  I made my way to the front, made a quick introduction to the publisher who had indicated that he was interested in books of my genre, handed him my proposal (I wasn't going to let the opportunity totally go to waste) and then gave the other two copies to the organizer of the event just in case she knew of other publishers who might be interested.

Initially I was so disappointed.  Then I sat back and reflected on the pitches I heard (which were amazing and I believe will result in more than a few book deals...which the publishers actually said during the process).  I looked at the notes I had taken during each publisher's critique.  It was a public forum with an audience and three publishers on stage who each commented after each pitch.  I realized what an invaluable experience I had just had.  Being new to the whole process, the more input I can get, the more I fine tune my proposal, the more I learn from other authors (and aspiring authors), the better chance I'll have in getting published.  It's a long haul and I'm still on the fence about whether or not to continue to seek an agent or publisher or to just self-publish.  The learning curve is steep but I'm enthralled with the business and everything I research and read is fascinating!  I'll keep you posted on my progress as I make my way through this sometimes frustrating but always exciting process.


Patricia said…
Anne, Congrats on your book and on the opportunity to hear the author pitches. You're probably discovering, as I did many years ago, that the world of publishing is very different from the writing profession. Be sure to take the time to study publishing, to become familiar with all of your options and to thoroughly understand your responsibility as a published author.

Patricia Fry, Executive Director of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network), and the author of 32 books. and Check out my blog:

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