Saturday, May 22, 2010

Five Minutes

Five minutes goes by slowly if you're waiting for your nails to dry. Five minutes feels like a long time if you're standing in line waiting for popcorn after the movie has begun. Five minutes drags on and on when you're at a distant relative's graduation. Five minues seems like an eternity if you're stuck at a stoplight and late for work. Five minutes feels like a lifetime if you're at the dentist's office getting a filling.

But, let me tell you, five minutes goes by at warp speed when you're giving a verbal pitch to an agent or editor. I mean it FLIES by. And you cetainly don't want to waste time talking about the weather, a plane flight, each other's kids, anyone's cute shoes, haircut or a mutual acquaintance. Listen to me. This is very important. Do NOT waste a precious 30 seconds on any of that stuff. You do not have 30 seconds to spare. Trust me on this.

Now, I'm no expert on verbal pitch sessions since I've only had two, but I can tell you that I blathered on too long during the first one. Here's another tip: When you're told you have a five-minute pitch session, you really don't. That's a lie. It's actually about three minutes. Why? Because the person who is interviewing you needs a couple of minutes to ask questions. So, cull down your 300 page-novel into one or two paragraphs. Easy peasy, right? I know. It's nearly impossible but that's how the game is played.

Have you had a pitch session? Do you have one scheduled? Please share.


  1. I've had at least one pitch session. It went okay. Problem was that the agent taking the pitches wasn't actually accepting manuscripts. She was there to "help" us practice.

  2. Only pitching that I've done is a baseball to my kids/g-kids. Great fun and not nearly so stressful as the ones that you ladies have done.

  3. I pitched to an editor once. It was supposed to be a 10-minute pitch sesson, but she never told me to "go away" so I kept talking for 30+ minutes. I ended up discussing different ideas while she ate her lunch so maybe the time of the appt is a factor. :)

  4. Shirley, I hope you knew in advance that the agent was only there to "help." Otherwise, I'm sure you did a lot of prep work that could have been avoided.

    Ginny, I've done that type of pitching myself. Yes, it's much less stressful and much more fun!

    Susan, it was GREAT meeting you in Ohio. You're very lucky about that looooong pitch session. I hope we both have luck with at least one of the agents!!! Fingers crossed. (I'll check out your site now.)

  5. I am hoping to be able to pitch to the editor at the ORA Conference 10 July 2010.
    Can you let me know who I contact to do it?
    Just back from vacation and working on the story, I want to pitch.

    Like your new look for this site. Green is my favorite color, but this is fresh looking. very easy to read.

  6. Hi Jan. We've missed you. As far as the editor, you probably contact Sharol K-Holmes or just write it on the registration slip. I'd just ask the question on the ORA loop if I were you. Good luck with that!!!

    Glad you like the site. I loved that lime green (it's more ME) but this is a refreshing change.