I wrote a "pitch" I thought was very good. I found my new friend and peer, Ben and gave it to him. He grimaced.
I rewrote it. I went to the "Agents Dos and Don'ts" seminar. I rewrote it again. Lori Tinkey, another first-timer at the conference told me about her book and I asked if I could read my pitch to her.
"Sure," she gave me a wide, gracious smile, "go ahead."
After I read it, her smile dissolved into a blank look, before she got it under control and the smile reappeared. This time it looked a little strained.
I rewrote it. I went to the "Agents Forum". I rewrote it. Some poor unsuspecting writer sat at a table in the Writer's Cafe and I read it to her. Her eyes became glassy and she gulped in a breath. Her smile looked more like gritted teeth to me.
I rewrote it. I went to the "Editors Forum". I rewrote it. Two struggling writers sat on a bench. With my little yellow pad in hand, I plunked myself down and forced them to listen. One of them raised an eyebrow and mentioned she had an agent's appointment, leaping up and dashing down the corridor. The other stared vacantly at a nail hole.
I met Jane Lotter, another finalist in the Mainstream category. When she talked about her book, she could barely contain her mirth. It made me want to read it. When I talked about mine to her, I stammered and lost my train of thought.
A tall man, not quite on the verge of dropping into middle age yet, gave me a slow smile and held out his hand. His short dark hair nearly matched the "finalist" ribbon. My hand slid into his and in a satiny smooth voice, he gave his name, Steve Jaquith, a peer in the mainstream category. We talked and his easy charm and sense of humor made me fall madly in like with him. Aaarr, matey, I'm having to love a shipmate with a pirate flag on his business card. His book sounded delightful and I will be the first in line to have my copy of his book signed when it is published.
His smile didn't falter when I gave him my pitch. But a cloud crossed those gorgeous eyes.
I rewrote it and attended more classes. During the breaks I'd pitch it to others. They'd stare and finally say, "Humm."
The dinner on Friday night was so fun, and so interesting. Sandy McCormack told my about the historical fiction she is writing that sounds so fabulous I nearly drooled. I got her email address so I could ask her to let me know the minute she gets an offer on it.
Joseph Finder, the author of Red Carpet; the Connection between the Kremlin and America's Most Powerful Businessmen, exposing the connection between Armand Hammer, the CEO of Occidental Petroleum and the KGB, gave a great talk. Mr. Finder went on to write many thriller novels, some of which he has sold movie rights. While he gave his talk, I secretly outlined seven other versions of my pitch.
I tacked the mile to my room that night and boarded my bed with gusto.