To Pitch or Not to Pitch

The question my post title asks isn’t much of a question anymore.  I’ve signed up for Halifax’s Pitch the Publisher at The Word on the Street . . . and I’m scared.  Basically how this works is that each ‘pitcher’ pitches in front of a panel of three publishers and an audience (I wasn’t aware of the audience until after I signed up).

Our pitches should answer:  What is your idea for a book (Describe it in two sentences or less).  Why are you the right person to write this book? Why would people buy your book?

This must be answered in 2-3 minutes.  So yes, I’m scared.  So scared part of me wants to pull out.  How am I supposed to sum up a book I’ve spent 10 years (off and on) writing in two sentences, convincingly enough to make someone want to publish it?  What makes me the right person to tell this story besides the fact that I thought to tell it? – It certainly isn’t a story that represents my experience, as far as events are concerned.  And why would people buy my book?  Well, that one’s not so hard – because it’s about a person who’s struggling and lost and does her best to find her way back to a sense of self – a story all of us can relate to in some way.  So . . . all of this in 2-3 minutes!

I know I won’t pull out though, because nervousness aside and potential embarrassment aside if I stumble over my words and look like a crazy amateur compared to the other pitchers there are two main outcomes here, both of them good.  Dream outcome: one of the publishers loves my idea, reads my manuscript, and publishes one of my books.  Great outcome: none of the publishers are interested but I get some valuable feedback.  Even if the feedback is ‘this story isn’t worth publishing’, I’ll dig for the reasons why and either figure out how to adjust those reasons or figure out a different market, because I really do trust that it’s a story of worth.  Side outcome: I’ll have the experience of this experience, and of conquering fear and nervousness.

Has anyone reading this post ever done a similar pitch?  What was it like?  Do you have any suggestions or advice for me?

A peaceful memory I’ll try to take myself back to me when nervousness overwhelms me!

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