By Deborah Clack
For those of you who are trekking across the country to San Antonio, Texas for the annual ACFW conference, let me dispel your fears. No cowboy boots required. But you might be thinking that ACFW is big! And the state of Texas even bigger, almost as massive as the nerves that come along with pitching a manuscript.
Sitting across the table from a revered agent or editor can be intimidating. How should we even begin the conversation?
I typically take a deep breath and say something to the effect of, “I, uh, wrote, um … some words on a page … uh, they make up the sentences, and I kind of sorted them into chapters. They’re about the stuff … and the people … and there’s some stressful things that they go through, but the two people … they fall in love … but it’s like appropriate, Christian stuff … uh, it’s really good.”
Okay, that’s not exactly how it comes out. But pitching our work feels that way, doesn’t it?
To make things a little smoother, here are some icebreakers, Texas style. (Use at your own discretion. Results are not guaranteed.)
Are you planning to attend the 3rd annual Cannon Fest at the Alamo on Saturday? Before you head on over to the festivities, let’s talk about my latest book. It really explodes off the page!
Speaking of the Alamo, could I interest you in a book where a woman bats down the affections of 185 men to find her one true love?
Have you checked out any of the fabulous missions around San Antonio? The third book in my historical trilogy sends our fearless leader to a newly discovered land called Ary, thus creating new settlements of MissionArys.
Have you ever thought about what would happen to the San Antonio River Walk if the river went dry? It’s the premise of my speculative fiction novel, “The Walk.”
Are you laughing, yet? At the very least rolling your eyes? Good. Anything to take your minds off the pressure of pitching.
The agent or editor sitting on the other side of the table traveled to get here. Just like us. They don’t know how this pitch session should go. Just like us. Maybe they didn’t sleep well, are an introvert, or hate the shoes they chose to wear. Just like some of us.
But more importantly, the person sitting across from us wants to find captivating stories that can put God’s word, grace, and love in front of readers. Just like us.
In spite of how enormous those fifteen minutes might feel, agent and editor appointments are simply conversations between two people who want the same thing.
So finalize your last minute preparations. Put the finishing touches on your one-sheets. Make your proposals shine. Practice in the mirror.
But also pray for the agents and editors. Pray blessings for their conference experience. Pray to be able to encourage them in the midst of your appointments. Pray that God shows each of you how best to get His work in the hands of readers.
Pray that you can remember that this fifteen minute appointment is just a conversation, and that the results aren’t up to us.
Because none of this has anything to do with how big ACFW feels, how huge Texas seems, or how giant our fears are about pitching. It only has to do with how big our God is, how vast His love is for us, and how far His arms can stretch to reach a world through our manuscripts.
You can do this.
If you want to translate that to Texan, Y’all can do this.
Do you have any fool proof pitches to add to the list? I’d love to hear them!Conference appointments are really conversations between two people who want the same thing. @deborah_clack #ACFWBlogs #2019ACFW #writing Click To Tweet
Deborah Clack is a native Texan, non-recovering chocolate addict, and contemporary romance author. She is a current double finalist in the 2019 Genesis contest and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray. Never achieving her dream of becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, she settles for being a fan while living in The Lone Star State with her family.