By Linda Rohrbough
Most pre-published authors think (and I thought this, too) that once you have an agent, your pitching days are over.
Ah, not so fast. There are three reasons why this isn’t true. First, your agent gets ideas from you. Pitching is the agent’s job, but their job is also to predict if your idea will sell, add on to and enhance your concept, and stay after marketing it to the right people.
Once they get to know you, they may bring you projects that are up your alley. But they have to know what your alley is first. Bottomline is, the cleaner and more streamlined the concept you present, the easier it is for your agent to place your work, and get you more work.
Second, you're going to end up pitching your book both before and after you write it. Especially after you write it. Let me give you an example. I travel and shop with some New York Times bestselling author friends. That’s how I learned pitching never ends. I’ve watched numerous times how these authors turn strangers into fans in a New-York minute.
I’m faced with opportunities like that with my new novel. For example, a rather influential book club, local to me, is getting pressure from an enthusiastic member who recently read my book. However, the group unanimously decided they want me, the author, to come in and talk before they shoe-horn my book to the front of their list. Bottomline is, this is a pitching opportunity. I recently had to the same thing before being invited to appear on a radio show.
Third, most writers assume they’ll be able to talk effectively about their book off-the-cuff without preparation or memorization of a "script." That's simply not true. My bestselling friends develop a carefully orchestrated pitch for every book, and select each word with precision to do double and triple duty.
Using my experiences and my own research, I developed a three-step plug-and-play formula that works for any book. That formula is the focus of my “Pitch Your Book” workshop, which is now also available as an iPhone app. Of course, there are things I can do teaching live that I can’t do in the app, and vice versa.
And I practice what I preach. I work on my own pitches until someone can wake me in the middle of the night and I can rattle it off without a hitch.
So it may look natural, but authors who talk effectively about their books are prepared and purposeful. And they know how to manage their own fear (which I also teach in my workshop). I have learned from the best and am careful to be ready. Because I never know who I'll end up talking to, or when. This fall, it could be you at the NCWN conference. I hope so. See you then.
LINDA ROHRBOUGH has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit, along with national awards for fiction and nonfiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." An iPhone App of her popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.
Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open soon. Keep an eye on www.ncwriters.org for more details.