Friday, March 27, 2009

Imperfect Pitch

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest is now in full swing. There was a problem about non U.S.A. residents not being able to read excerpts but that has now been resolved.

I entered my novel about my French Huguenot ancestors again this year. Last year I was in the semi finals but did not make top 100. I’ve done a lot of editing on my book since then and actually work-shopped it with a university professor instructor on Writer’s On Line. However, last week, we finally got the results and sadly, I didn’t make it through what they call the Pitch portion of the contest. I was disappointed to not make it for such a silly reason. But it does mean “back to the drawing board” because a pitch or query has to be just right before you send it out to a book agent. I have learned a lot in this year reading the posts on the ABNA forum and that is probably even more important than being selected.

A pitch is what you either send in a query letter or deliver in person (usually at a conference) to an agent whom you would like to represent you It really is important to get the pitch right as this is the first thing an agent is going to see in order to form an opinion about both you and your work. If he hates it, you won’t get a foot in his door. Well, even if he thinks it’s not bad, he isn’t likely to take you on. But that’s another story.

In the meantime there are lots of interesting excerpts to read from the quarter finalists and I am happy to do so. I’ve certainly seen several books that look worthy of publication. I like the reviewing process as I find it helps me to learn more about my own writing and the mistakes I make, just as much as I help the person I critique. It seems so much easier to see the “straw” in someone else’s work than the “rafter” in your own. But then, isn’t that true about everything in life.

Nevertheless, I do really wish my story had made it this year. I’d like to be getting some critiques as well as giving them. I also wish I had come sooner to this writing game. It’s a little late in life for this senior citizen but it certainly does keep the “little gray cells” chugging along.

(Next time – back to the world of travel)

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