Learning to Pitch

While I’d heard of pitching novels to agents and articles to editors, I never gave much thought to the process of creating a pitch. None of my novels have been in any condition to go to agents. Plus the idea of submitting an article to a magazine or newspaper sounded too journalistic for me. I didn’t see myself as a journalist; I’m a novelist who just needs to write and revise.

Only a handful of writers make a living writing novels. And their fortunes–both literally and figuratively–can change overnight. I need to diversify my writing in order to make this life at the keyboard feasible financially. I may end up making money from a novel, but the odds are that it won’t be nearly enough to support me and my dogs.

I’m a wicked introvert. I passed up the opportunity to write for my college newspaper because I didn’t want to talk to people for the three sources I’d need in each article. My mind always told me that I was bothering those people with my questions, interrupting their lives and routines. I hate anyone distracting me from my routine, so I didn’t want to do that to anyone else.

The conference last week really snapped me out of that mindset. It had been fading away over the past months, but I got my wake-up call while sitting in that conference room on Cape Cod.

Our only assignment was to craft a pitch. I spent a few hours working on mine, trying to minimize all the fluff I usually include when I’m describing something. I ended up winging the pitch more than I planned when time finally came to present it to the rest of the class. To my surprise, the teacher and the rest of the class loved it. They urged me to pitch the article to a local paper. 

If the pitch is accepted, I’ll have to contact at least three different people to get their sides of the story. I’ll email them first. Then I’ll have to call them to get the answers to my questions. That will be a tough process, and I’m going to be terrified each time I make a call.

But I’ll do it. And it’ll get easier with each article. I may end up a journalist after all, and that might not be a bad thing.

Have you ever pitched anything to an agent or an editor? Did you have any success?

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