By Kim Toscano
Wondering if a pitch session is right for you? The answer is yes!
Whether you have a story idea, portfolio to share, or are simply seeking to build professional relationships, pitch sessions offer the perfect venue. Everyone participating in a pitch session is looking to make connections. Editors want to meet writers, photographers, and other talented storytellers. Communicators are seeking new outlets for their work and feedback on projects. Pitch sessions offer a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Pitching Yourself and Your Work
Not every story is the right match for an editor, but pitch sessions are about more than just one story. Editors want to know about you – your areas of expertise, your platform, your past work. And of course they are interested in your ideas. Don’t be surprised if an editor listens to your pitch then asks, “Are you working on anything else?” Be ready to talk about other projects, even those still in the concept stage.
When pitching a children’s story at a creative writing conference, the agent asked me this very question. He was not interested in the story I pitched, but connected with the young adult novel I was working on. He gave me his card and asked me to send the novel to him when completed. And just like that, my list of professional contacts expanded.
Pick an Editor’s Brain
Pitch sessions also provide an opportunity to ask questions, gain feedback, and seek advice. Not everything you discuss needs to be a finished work. At a recent conference I sat down with an editor during a pitch session to discuss a project I am working on. I let her know up front I wanted to pick her brain and she graciously obliged. In fact, our conversation carried over to lunch the next day. I garnered valuable advice while expanding my professional network.
I’ve come to realize pitch sessions are as much about learning as they were about pitching. When visiting with a garden editor you might gain valuable insights into the direction they are taking their publication, future topics they wish to explore, or types of stories they have difficulty assigning. Tap into an editor’s vast experience and use it to your advantage.
Too Nervous to Pitch?
The first time I signed up to pitch a story at a writing conference I was more than a bit anxious. I practiced my pitch over and over, tweaking and perfecting every word. And when I sat down across from the agent I signed up to meet, I forgot the words I’d carefully prepared. But it didn’t matter, because this wasn’t the agent’s first pitch session.
Hearing pitches is part of any agent or editor’s job, and they are remarkably skilled at setting writers at ease, asking questions that get you talking, and digging into the meat of a story. That is not to say don’t come prepared, just relax a little. Editors and agents are not there to intimidate you. They attend conferences to meet writers, photographers, and other talented storytellers. They want to get to know you.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a pitch session today!
Please note that this opportunity is only open to GardenComm’s Annual Conference & Expo attendees, and there is a one pitch-session per-person limit.
Click here to register for #GardenComm2019 today!