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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hand-Wringing Time

This is it! Pitch day is fast approaching. I've been furiously editing my women's fiction manuscript and just drafted a query letter and synopsis--all in the hopes the editor will love my pitch (once I figure out what I'm going to say). Wouldn't it be nice if the editor leaned back in her chair, smiled and said, "I love the premise. Email me the full manuscript tonight." A girl can dream, can't she?

Of course, that never/rarely happens to a debut novelist so I'm trying to be realistic. For now, I'm concentrating on final edits (this is at least my fourth pass through 300 pages) and am adding more descriptions and more backstory. My novel is paced fairly quickly (which is what I like to read) and is character and dialogue driven (also what I enjoy reading). I do not like long narration and will put the book down if my eyes glaze over or if I start to yawn. Put me right in the middle of the action, I say. Now, it's my job to hook you, the reader, (and that scary agent/editor).

How about you? Have you written a synopsis, query letter or pitched to an agent or editor? If so, please share your tips and help calm my nerves.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


In honor of Mother's Day next weekend, let's honor moms all over the world with some creative, fun, poignant six-word MOMoirs. Here are ten I've written:

Supermoms do it without a cape.
Eighth Wonder of the World: Moms
Daughter becoming like me. Chuckle, smile.
World's best blackberry cobbler: My mom's.
Mom made my velvet Barbie dress.
Twin babies: Extreme motherhood by fire.
Love watching babies discover, learn, blossom.
My mom: Most unselfish person ever.
Moms need to pamper themselves, too.
Children. Now, I understand unconditional love.

Come up with some of your own here and then enter them in SMITH Magazine's MOMoir contest at

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there! Celebrate yourselves next Sunday.