So last month I had the most terrifying weekend of my life. I attended the Algonkian New York Pitch Conference to learn more about the publishing process and to have the opportunity to pitch KDrama to editors. My co-author, Alyssa Auch, and I had worked hard on the pitch and we were ready.
That all sounds so professional. Like I knew what I was doing. What actually happened was that I dragged my cream-colored coat under the wheels of my suitcase as I walked the wrong way to 520 Eighth street from the train station, and arrived sweaty and late.
Hey, time to pitch to a roomful of strangers. Annnnd….GO!
Our moderator Susan Breen went right to work and began asking questions about KDrama‘s storyline and what made it unique. I realized immediately that the original pitch we had worked on so hard needed some more work. Like if you wanted to sell your house, but you realized the doily you put on the coffee table wasn’t going to cut it. We were going to have to knock out some walls and rethink the entire pitch.
Panic and Recovery
That night I dragged my suitcase back to my hotel, fighting panic and desperation. Fortunately, I have a co-author who talked me down from the proverbial ledge, and gave me a cheerful kick in the pants. Our first pitch was the next morning, and I couldn’t afford to make the fetal position my new permanent M.O.
I rewrote the pitch, avoiding general crap like “her life would never be the same” and “a world of intrigue and suspense” or whatever we had written. I had to dig in and reveal the bones of the plot. <—-Re-read this. It’s important. It’s what you have to do to write a good pitch.
Final Pitch for KDrama:
Chase is a college student coming home from a semester abroad to find two surprises waiting for her: Her mom and her sister have an unhealthy obsession with Korean dramas, and they’ve arranged a blind date for her. She has no interest in dating, but he’s incredibly good looking, so it might be worth a chance. Ironically, the blind date goes well, and she has to admit her mom’s judgment isn’t that bad.
But romance isn’t something you can script, and although Chase likes the heart stopping Daniel Bak, she finds herself crossing paths with enigmatic Hyun Tae. A reserved Bioengineering student, he is the only one who can help her when she discovers that a professor is stealing research. Hyun Tae becomes her ally and her protector as she is targeted in an invisible war with dangerous players.
Not only that, but her perfect blind date has been hiding the fact that he is a famous pop star from Korea, with a rabid fan base that could shove her into a spotlight she can’t afford to be in.
Despite all her efforts to stay away from drama, it has found her, and it looks a lot like the Korean dramas her mom and her sister can’t stop watching.
Over the next three days I pitched five editors. One thing became clear…none of them had ever heard of K-dramas. That was an eye-opener to me and my co-author. Probably like comic geeks who find out no one knows who Cyclops is until they see the X-Men movies. Whaaat?!
I do have a happy ending–we did get a manuscript request from Harper Collins! And a great pitch we can use to query for an agent. So the Pitch Conference was a success for us.
I also got to meet some amazing, supportive people who totally understood the passion, the fear, and the determination of trying to get published. They were also talented, successful people with incredibly diverse stories to pitch. You can check some of the soon-to-be published authors here:
And our indefatigable moderator Susan Breen, who has just published a mystery with Random House. Check out Maggie Dove here.
Publishers want to sell your book.
Shocking, I know. If you’re like me you’ve labored under the hopeless impression that all agents ever do is say no. It’s not true. Agents want to take on your book and find it a home. Publishers want to someone to chuck that perfect story at them. But more importantly, they want you to write one that sells.
And lastly, a pitch is everything.
Sure, you’ve got your mom’s good looks and your dad’s charm, but that is not going to get anyone to read your amazing first ten pages. You’ve gotta nail the pitch/query.
Hope this helps! If you have any questions on the Pitch Conference, I’d be happy to answer.