Manhattan, New York
I’m not sure where I first heard about it but in the winter of 2013, I submitted an application to attend a pitch workshop in Manhattan, New York. I was thrilled to discover I’d been accepted and as usual, my partner in crime was on board for this impromptu adventure.
A ‘pitch’, or query, is submitted to agents (or publishers) when your work is COMPLETE and EDITED, in order to find representation. My work was neither complete nor edited but I went anyway because I was excited, ambitious and foolish.
Leave your ego at the door, or on the floor
At the 3-day conference, I pitched my fiction query before an audience of my peers and some local editors and agents.
At this point, the work was titled Seeking the Lost. I sat in a room of maybe twelve other authors. We all took turns reading our pitches and getting skewered with writing-industry honesty.
The query for Seeking The Lost scored the lowest marks in the review.
- Change the manuscript title
- Clarify book plot – what is happening???
- The mother-daughter dynamic has been explored endlessly. What makes this story any different?
We were then given the opportunity to rework our queries with some one-on-one direction followed by a follow up review the next day. This was incredibly helpful and though we all left with a few invitations from agents to submit our queries for consideration, it was the camaraderie and mentorship that I valued the most.
My overall experience? 10/10
I loved it. I learned a ton, I met other writers and it breathed life into my desire to publish this project. Attending the event in New York was additionally helpful. The vibe in that city is unmatched.
My project didn’t get picked up but I may have fared better if my manuscript was complete. Truly complete. Not the fake sense of completion resulting from writing fatigue (symptoms include scrolling to the last page or your work and typing ‘THE END’ in large caps, then celebrating with dinner on Bloor Street).
Following the event, and the subsequent rejections, I did what every writer does: edit.
Definition of edit: Write. Read. Erase. Scowl. Drink. Repeat. The result? A revised 120,000 word manuscript, The Other Mother. Then, one year later, I landed an agent and published.
Just kidding. For several years, I would continue pursuing this dream, but not alone. I’ll tell you all about how I found my writing community: mentors, muses and morale boosters in my upcoming posts.
Thanks for stopping by and drop me a line below in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.