Nancy: Help a Pitcher Out

Over the past several months, you’ve been hearing a lot about my Victorian Romance series. On occasion, you’ve also heard about my Women’s Fiction story (or Commercial Mainstream Fiction, if you don’t like the WF label). Today, I’d like to focus the spotlight on that WF story, because at the end of the week, I’ll be pitching it to a panel of agents.

It’s always tough to send a manuscript out into the world. Scary. Nerve-wracking. Heart-wrenching. It’s even more difficult when you have to pare it down to a brief, bare-essence presentation as I’ll be doing this week. I’m participating in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) annual pitch session, and the rules are very strict. The only information you can include is book title, length, WF subgenre if applicable, then a 50-word pitch followed by the first 250 words of the story.

In manuscript terms, that 250 words is less than a page. Yep, the goal is to sell the agents on the main character, premise, and voice of a 300+-page book in less than one measly page. And as if that weren’t mission impossible enough, by 50-word pitch, they mean 50-word summary of the whole. damn. book.

And the gods wept.

But I will not be thwarted! This past week, I pitched my pitch and one-page submission to my book coach, and made a few tweaks based on her feedback. Now I need some fresh eyes on this sucker, because mine are bloodshot and bleary. Want to help me out? If so, post your thoughts, comments, take-aways, or recommendations in the comments. Most important is that the pitch give you a sense of what the book is, and the first page intrigue you enough to request more pages.

TITLE: Take the Money and Run

LENGTH: 95k words

SUBGENRE(S): WF with Romantic Elements; Commercial WF

PITCH: Continue reading

Michille: Preparing to Attend a Writers’ Conference

RWA 2018RWA National Conference is fast approaching. So it’s time to start prepping for it. Well, time for you to start prepping for it. I’m not attending this year, unfortunately, because I’m going to miss the huge jolt of inspiration and motivation that I get from it. I may look into getting the recordings so that I can experience it at least a little. Continue reading

Jilly: Making the Most

Making the MostAre you doing anything special this week? Will you live in the moment, or do a little preparation to ensure you get the most from the experience?

All being well, by the time you read this post I’ll be in California. Whoo!

The excuse for main purpose of my trip is to attend the RWA National conference, but it’s a long and expensive journey from the UK, especially at current exchange rates 😦 and while I intend to enjoy every minute, I also want to feel that my investment in time and money has been worthwhile.

Time flies by so fast on these trips and a pinch of preparation saves a bucket of lost opportunity so I’ve been thinking about what I want to achieve before, during and after the conference. I’m feeling pretty bullish, and here’s why: Continue reading

Justine: Throwing My Hat in the Ring?

justine covington, eight ladies writing, romance writingI don’t do well with obscure, arbitrary deadlines. I’ve always been a “do it at the last minute” sort of girl. I thrive on the pressure, I’m incredibly good at sharp focus when there’s lots at stake, and my desire to do something well means I’ll nearly kill myself to get it done.

Yet I’m not done with my book. I’ve had no hard deadline. No one has said, “I want to see it on Jan 30th.” So I’ve been taking my frickin’ time with it. Or not working on it at all, spending time at my kids’ school (important, yes, but it doesn’t get the book finished). For whatever reason, I am dragging my feet on getting this thing done.

Then today got an email. Continue reading

Jilly: Lending a Hand

Lending a HandWe’ve been talking non-stop at 8LW about this week’s RWA National (and if you think we’ve been a  broken record here, you should see our private blog). Our suggestions would be equally applicable to other conferences, though, so hopefully it’s been useful rather than annoying 😉 . Elizabeth gave us tips and hints for introverts. Kat honed her editor/agent pitch, Justine explained the power of positive body language, and best of all, Nancy reminded us to stay flexible and have fun.

I was checking my schedule today and I realized that we haven’t discussed volunteering, though many of us have signed up to help with some task or another. Last year I spent a day helping to set up the ballroom for the huge “Readers for Life” Literacy autographing event. This year I’ll spend an afternoon helping to administer the editor and agent pitch appointments.

Setting up the book signing was dusty and back-ache inducing work, but at least it had the merit of taking place the day before the conference proper. Volunteering at the editor and agent desk means that I’ll miss a whole afternoon of workshops. Given that I’ll have flown three and a half thousand miles to attend the conference, spent a major chunk of household cash, and persuaded my husband to spend his vacation time in the company of the 8 Ladies (lucky him), you might think this is a counter-intuitive choice. I don’t think so, and here’s why. Continue reading

Justine: How Body Language Can Project Confidence

This post is a re-boot from one I posted last year just before RWA Nationals, but it’s worth posting again. Nationals is in NYC this year and is a little less than a month away. No doubt many of us are working hard on our manuscripts (or bemoaning the lack of progress we’ve made on them lately), or we’re excited to see friends. Perhaps you’re looking forward to catching some of the great workshops being offered this year. Or perhaps you’re like me…stressing about the agent/editor appointment you managed to get. You’re wondering Continue reading

Michaeline: The Very Short Pitch

ca 1913 A young lady sitting on fence outside of a baseball park, cheering her team on. On her fan is written, "forty thousand tons" -- a reference to the fertilizer she's selling.

We’re all cheering for you as you pitch it right into the catcher’s mitt! (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

So, I was goofing around this morning and stumbled upon something that I didn’t know was a thing: the Twitter pitch contest. I have never participated, and I haven’t done enough research to recommend specific contests, but it sure caught my imagination!

The idea is to write a 140-character pitch (well, probably 130 after you include the contest hashtag and genre hashtag), put it out in the great wide Twitter-world, and then wait for agents and editors and fellow-writers to notice you during the span of the contest.

Wow. One hundred and thirty letters. Talk about your challenge! A good pitch would include your protagonist, your antagonist, your major plot complication and motivations. Could you do it? Why would you even try? Continue reading