Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pitching Tips

Not the baseball kind, though it is the season. For romance writers, it’s manuscript pitching season, too. The Romance Writers of America National Conference begins this Wednesday in Atlanta, meaning hundreds of aspiring romance authors are gearing up to present their manuscript, either formally at an appointment, or casually somewhere–anywhere–an agent or editor might be found.  Pitching your book, a which every writer must do, either through a written query letter or in person, is a bit stressful, so it’s best to have a sentence or two prepared in advance. (Preparing this logline, by the way, is another whole topic!)

Of course, nothing beats practicing to alleviate nervousness. You can say your pitch out loud to your mirror, to a friend or loved one, or if you are really brave, to a stranger. At a recent workshop I co-presented, we took the practice one step further. For our Maryland Romance Writers meeting, Laura Welling and I recruited seasoned pitchers to act as editors and agents.

Pitch practice at Maryland Romance Writers

Our aspiring authors look rather happy for what could be a stressful event–and you could, too! Here are our tips for the actual event:

– Introduce yourself, and shake hands if you like to do that. Thank the agent or editor for taking time for pitches.

– Sit down.

– Do not be alarmed if the agent or editor is still taking notes form the last pitch. They have no break between.

– Because you’ve done your research, tell the agent, ‘I chose to pitch to you because____ (you represent____, your blog gave ___info, I know you work closely on ____and I think that is a great attribute in an agent.) Make it short.

– Tell the person what kind of book you are pitching, and how long it is. This is a good way to get past your nerves. “Today, I am here to tell you about  COWBOY UP. It’s a contemporary western romance, and is around 95,000 words.”

– Then go into your pitch.  Give them your one to three sentences, perhaps starting with your high concept or logline if that’s a good lead-in.

-After you’ve given your intro statement and 3-sentence pitch, stop and smile at the agent/editor. Ask: Do you have further questions? The agent is usually does by this time and this makes the pitch more of a conversation.

-Prepare for those follow up questions! Some are obvious: more about your hero and heroine, the conflict, the black moment, what keeps the romance apart, what cinches it.

-If the agent/editor requests immediately, you do not need to add more. Get the instructions for how to submit, and ask any questions you need to.

-In case time allows, have a conversation starter in your pocket for this particular professional.

It’s ok to end early! When you’re done, go and relax a bit!

Good luck to the writers pitching at the 2013 RWA National Conference!

A WIP Snippet!

For a change, I’m posting a snippet from my WIP – The Farm, my steampunk fantasy romance for New Adults  (young adults age +18 years). The heroine, an artist named Annmar, is making her way to a new job.

She’d love to draw one of these women dressed for a special day out. Their fancy hats—more feather than sunshade—would keep her pencil busy for hours. But Annmar shouldn’t call attention to herself, which drawing did. And while she thought she might stop if anyone took notice, she never did, forgetting herself in her imaginings and their details. It was best not to start. 

Two well-dressed men took nearby seats. One said, “We’ll get him brought over. Who else is on today’s list?”

They commenced arguing over the best route to get around to several farms. Behind them, a man in overalls got up, and with a glare to the city men, left the car.

Annmar took a second look. Their green jackets bore a familiar gold insignia above the breast pocket—Shearing’s. Oh, Lord, these were his recruitment men. Obviously, the departing farmer refused to even overhear the talk Polly also hated: should small farmers give over their land and become workers on the larger ‘cooperative’ farms that Mr. Shearing touted as the wave of the future? Polly said the so-called co-owners ended up with no say, and from the angry looks of the other passengers, there must be some truth to it.

Annmar huddled lower with her face to the windows.


Thanks for reading!

Snippet Time!

It’s been a few weeks and I’ve forgotten to sign up with my usual snippet group, Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents, but here’s a snippet from my SFR, Passages. Quinn, the hero, is at odds with himself over making the woman he’s fallen for his bodyguard. Yet, he needs her in this role.

Eve blocked me. “There’s a reason you have a bodyguard,” she said coolly. “Let me perform my function.”

Good point. I had to get used to using the protection, which was saving our asses.

She peered around the door. A moment later she ushered me into the sealed walkway. The long, dimly lit corridor curved, so we couldn’t see the end. I paced far enough back to duck at Eve’s signal, which did come.

I hid, and even after I polished a port in either direction, the minutes dragged by.

Damn, what had happened? I’d never forgive—

Footsteps marched down the walkway. A guard appeared. He passed through me, then disappeared. It killed me, but I waited to hear the door slam, then dashed for where I hoped my guard waited.

She was there, at another set of double doors. My breath exploded out.

“This guard wasn’t so willing to trade to out there.” She put her finger to the keypad, and it flashed green.

She was so nonchalant—an act? I didn’t dare ask if she was okay.

This time when Eve checked inside, her body stiffened. She closed the door to a finger gap. “It opens into one of the bays. There’s a transport ship between us and the Conducer, with three ‘torgs working in the open hold at the back. They can see this door.”

Glad you could join me. Looking for more science fiction romance? Go find the others on the Brigade website, or use hashtag #sfrbp. Thanks for reading!

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