Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More on Pitching--Amended

Agent Kristin Nelson blogged here today about her experience on the other side of the table at a conference last weekend. (Note: NOT the same one I attended.) She only requested pages from four appointments, mostly because either a) the manuscript was unfinished, or b) the manuscript didn't fit any of the genres her agency represents.

This whole notion of matching genres to agencies/editors continues to intrigue me. I mean, it's not as though I chose my editor appointment by throwing a dart at a list of names. Still, I got it wrong. Or, did I? Maybe I pitch SO POORLY that I misrepresented my own manuscript. Very possible.

Which is why I'm not pitching anymore. Not at National, not at regional conferences. Not anywhere. Never. Sayonara, pitching.

At first blush, the decision may appear cowardish. Trust me, one of the reasons I ever pitched in the first place was to challenge myself--to meet a fear head-on and successfully conquer it. I measured success in being able to get through the appointment without passing out. Literally. That's how hard it is for me to pitch in person. So, the first couple times I pitched (all resulting in manuscript requests), pride in having "gotten through it" spurred me on to pitch more.

Then last Saturday happened.

On reflection, I realize the worst part of an unsuccessful pitch appointment is that despite your best efforts to rationalize, you tend to take it personally.

I mean, when you submit pages that get rejected, it's the writing.
When you submit a query that gets rejected, it's the idea.

When your two-minute pitch gets rejected, it's you. The human you.

Okay, I'm exaggerating.


Who knows?

Bottom line is what it feels like.

But that's not why I've decided to end my pitching career. If dings to my precious ego were the only potential casualties of pitching, I'd buck up and continue. On the other hand, isn't the smart move to downplay one's weaknesses while paying to one's strengths??

If so, then I should avoid pitching at all costs, right?


Amended to add: To her credit, the editor to whom I pitched took great pains to explain why she wasn't requesting my material--that she was no longer acquiring work in the genre she perceived it to be (rightly or wrongly--I'm still not sure). Seeing things from her side of the world, rejecting my pitch was probably more difficult than tossing off a request she knew she'd reject later on.

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