Interview at Pitch University

If you haven't been following Pitch University, with its lessons on pitching from industry experts and opportunities to pitch to agents from the comfort of your home, then you've been missing out on some real gems.

I've been participating with comments and pitches from day one, so Diane asked me to do a short interview on what I've learned in the process.

At the time of the interview, I couldn't think of an answer for the "personal theme music" question, so I used the answer my husband gave me when I asked him, "What music do you hear when you think of me?"

But afterwards, I thought of the Chumbawumba song "I Get Knocked Down" and how that's what the early stages of querying and pitching felt like back in my naive days, when I thought just completing a book would have agents and editors knocking down my door. When that didn't happen (much to my utter shock), I started researching dream agents and sent off my queries. Only to discover that the "dreamy" feeling wasn't mutual--they just weren't that into my book. Or at least not that early draft.

But meanwhile I was taking steps to change that dynamic:

I joined some critique groups

I started reading every book and blog I could find on craft, marketing, and networking (and started my own blog, joined twitter and facebook)

Went to a few conferences

And most importantly, I went back and applied the things I learned to that mess of an early draft of my novel

All these things helped give me the confidence and the writing chops to take that feeling of "I get knocked down" and add the rest of the song lyric: "But I get up again, you're never going to keep me down." And that's what makes me send out the next query or enter the next contest. Or submit a video pitch for that matter.

So, dear readers, what about you--what keeps you sending out that next query? What do you do to further your writing skills?


Tina Moss said...

The query-go-round gets more and more difficult with each pass. The key is not to focus on querying and pitching exclusively, but continue to improve your craft - your writing. You gave some great ideas for doing just that! And love the article on Pitch University! :D

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

It seems like I wake up in a mood and think, "Okay, it's time to do THAT again...." (THAT being the query thing. I have to admit, I find querying much harder than making up people and their worlds. :-)

Angelica R. Jackson said...

I think it's interesting that one of the first things a signed author mentions is how much more time they have for other things since the querying is over.

Not that the days of pitching and synopses are over, just that all-consuming research that finally gets your work into the right hands.

Margo Berendsen said...

Oh yeah, that's a great song for the whole road to publication process! Love it!

K.M. Weiland said...

Gaining confidence is very much a baby-step process. Open a Twitter account, open a Facebook account, start blogging - all these relatively easy steps lead us up the mountain to the originally scary peak of pitching to an agent. Great post.

Christina Mercer said...

Yes, great song lyrics, and great article over at Pitch U!!

Persistence is key. So is improving upon what isn't working. I have many moments where I tuck myself away to lick my "rejection wounds", but afterwards I remind myself why I'm doing this: I love to write, and I know I have something worthwhile to share (even if it means revising, revising, revising those "somethings" till they're "publish-perfect").

Mark Twain said, "Write without pay until somebody offers to pay."
(we can only hope to have his same success!!)

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Margo--I bet you had it stuck in your head after this post, didn't you? But that's why it's a good mantra, it's catchy and gets you energized.

K.M.--I put off the Twitter one the longest, but now I love it.

Christina--I hope we don't pour salt on those "rejection wounds" in the crit group! And love that Twain quote.

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