Preparation for representing myself in something as important as pitching my novel has been an eye opener. Everyone in the industry seems to have an opinion about the best way to go about it. I've been getting so many tips I can't keep up with them, but I've been trying to choose the smartest and prioritize.
- Condense my novel into four sentences. I'm still working on that one.
- Dress professionally. How about from the waist up? Does that count? Good jeans can be professional, as long as they're paired with a great top and blazer—right?
- Edit your first chapter until it's as exciting and completely polished as you can make it, with particular attention to the first 140 words. Some people say 120, some 100. If those aren't pretty close to perfect, you're bound for the slush pile. That's what I'm reading.
- Don't sweat. Be calm. Don't rush into your pitch. Spend some time building rapport first. Remember, you'll probably have a whole ten minutes together.
I could go on, but there are so many of these lists available, I hate to be just one more. A major detail was obvious once I came across it. Don't forget to have a professional business card to present. Oops. Why didn't I think about needing a business card?
This week I took time out of my editing to design a card. The photo above is the one I chose from my collection of glorious Colorado pictures I've taken. I'll end up printing note cards to match. Luckily, the cards will arrive with three days to spare.
I now have a whole week left before I face the editor. I'm actually beginning to look forward to this.