Insecure Writer’s Support Group

InsecureWritersSupportGroupThanks so much to Alex for not postponing the IWSG.  I know we are all little tired from a month of A to Z challenge posting, but I can’t rest now. I need some help.

I mentioned a few months ago that I would be attending two writer’s conferences this year. I went to the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans in March. Had such a blast, but I had no responsibilities.

This weekend is the DFW Writer’s Conference. I have quite a bit planned.  Besides the many seminars I am looking forward to attending, I have an appointment to pitch my novel to an agent and I also signed up for a writer’s workshop where I get to share a few pages of my wip and get instant feedback.

For some reason, I am more scared about the pitch session then I am about the workshop.  I would much rather read my work to people and have them rip it to shreds constructively critique it the to try and sell my novel. Like to the point that I can’t even remember what my novel is about. Now that is scary.

I mean, is this a strange mental twist or what? I can handle someone telling me what I did needs some work, but can’t handle them telling me what I completed isn’t good enough. Now, I know a novel, pitched to an agent, is far from completed, especially if the agent likes it, it will need some work, but should my mental approach to these to two activities be different.  Maybe not?

Anyone else have this particular mental tic?  Any tips you can pass along on how to deal with a face to face pitch session with an agent? 

Thanks as well to this month’s co-hosts, Lynda Young, Mark Koopmans, and Rachna Chhabria!

Let me know if you’re going to DFWcon. We need to network. 🙂

30 thoughts on “Insecure Writer’s Support Group

  1. Good for you on going to all those writing conferences! That already takes a lot of courage, I think. But it makes sense to me that you might be more open to feedback versus a straightforward ‘Not for us …’ The first gives an opportunity for growth, the rejection implies stopping, which is probably the last thing you want to do. 🙂
    I know I would be beyond nervous if I had to pitch face to face with an agent!

  2. Okay, first of all… breathe! The agent is just a person. Not a god. They are there looking for YOU. That’s right. They are there to find your work. To read your words. Without you, they have nothing. So, take a deep breath and just talk. Talk about your book. You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Try to remember that. You want an agent that you can work with. They get 15% of the earnings from that book you wrote, so you make darn sure you like them, okay?

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way. Yeah, it’s totally different. The critique workshop will feel like you’re with your peers, not really being judged. It will feel safe. You’ll get some awesome feedback, but don’t try to make changes right away, just let what you learn percolate in your mind for awhile. And don’t let it screw up your pitch to the agent! Ugh, that’s the worst. And I do it all the time. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see you! Did I ever send you my phone number? I’ll message it to you on FB. We arrive tomorrow night around 5:30. Friday we’ll be out sightseeing ~ hitting up some of the places you’ve been blogging about this month. It’s going to be a fun conference.

    Remember, relax and just go with it!

      1. You got it. I actually enjoy pitching in person. But then, I kind of like talking to people, so it’s not intimidating. I figure at the worst all they can do is say no. If they do, so what? They aren’t saying they don’t like ME, they are just saying they didn’t like the words I said. Pretend you’re sitting down to have coffee with a friend and just talking about your book. Seriously, that’s what I do.

  3. I’ve never pitched my book in real life to anyone, so I can’t offer advice there. But I have to say how awesome it is that you’re pushing this boundary into something you don’t feel too comfortable with. I’m proud of your courage! Best of luck and let us know how it goes! It will be fine, you’ll see. We’re all rooting for you. 🙂

  4. You’re doing the same action…asking for a critique of a finished work from your CP’s or writing group and asking for it from the agents. Only, in your mind, the agent matters more. I liked all of Tameri’s advice. So great that you’ll have someone there with a level head to help you straighten yours when it gets all discombobulated and wonky.

  5. Congratulations on finishing A to Z!

    I wish you luck with the upcoming conference. I can understand the greater apprehension with the book pitch as it’s more important the way I see it. The critique sessions may help you grow as a writer, but getting the agent and a publisher is the most important goal. I’m sure you’ll do well in both.

    Tossing It Out

  6. I think it is so very cool that you are going to conferences and taking the opportunity to pitch your book and have your writing critiqued. Either would be equally horrifying to me. Something I know I will have to get over. Best of luck to you.

  7. Oh Wow!! Good luck at the conferences. I have done a face-to-face pitch and the anticipation was far worse than the actual event, even though I did a terrible tongue-tied attempt. 😉

    Lynda R Young
    IWSG co-host

  8. Just be yourself and remember not to take it personally when you don’t get the response you were hoping for. If it doesn’t go the way you wanted, just consider it a practice experience for the real thing later on.

  9. Hi Sydney, just read your pitch over and over again until you can say it backwards. One to one pitches can be quite daunting, but just be yourself and be positive. You can do it. Sending positive energy your way.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG

  10. OMGosh, you’re going there with Tameri (my Goddess of Writers Conferences.)

    If she doesn’t read this, please tell her I said hi – she and I have attended several SoCal conferences – and wait until she gives you one of her famous Etherton hugs 🙂

    PS… I absolutely agree with Tameri here, too… and I normally pitch to 3-4 agents per conference. Take a deep breath… perhaps pratice a LITTLE on the major bullets you want to hit… but it’s your BABY, your LOVE, so just speak with pride…

    You’ll be fine 🙂

    So jealous 🙂

    1. Not only did she read this, she blushed furiously and made a mental note to give you extra huge famous Etherton hugs next time she sees you! Now she’s going to stop referring to herself in the third person because it’s weird and freaks her out.

      Great advice, Mark. It IS your baby. You know this book backward and forward. What these agents want to see is your passion. They want to know why you wrote this book and, more importantly, why would anyone read it. Your passion needs to come through.

      You’ll be fine, Sydney. I’ll give you one or a dozen of my hugs. I’ll be there tonight!

      Mark, I hope I get to see you soon. My next conference will be RWA Nationals in July. I don’t suppose you’ll be going there, will you? 😉 They could use more handsome, hunky men.

  11. You’re not alone. The reason why it’s easy to read in front of a group of people is because there isn’t a single person who’s the focus here. Several will give your story the feedback it deserves, and you’ll come away with it all the better. When you’re doing the pitch, you’re dealing with someone on a one-on-one basis. There’s so many variables you have to take into account: what kind of mood is the agent in, do they seem initially receptive, are they losing interest, where are they losing interest, etc.

    Keep those things in mind, and you’ll do better with your pitch.

  12. I have not been to any writing conferences nor have I had a chance to pitch my novel face to face, although I have through mailings – I wish you the best of luck for putting yourself out there like that. I think as long as you put forth the passion you have for your novel, you will do just fine in your pitch. You’re already going into it with the right mind frame – knowing that it is going to need more work and willing to do that work. You aren’t going in there claiming it’s perfect and ready to go. I just believe that if you can get your passion across verbally, that will be what works for you.

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