Here we are at the other side of Pitch Slam at Writers Digest 2015 New York City.
What happened today?
I went to a couple of talks, but only semi-listened because I was mostly thinking about pitching.
Lined up to enter the pitch 40 minutes early. Chatted to another Aussie I happened to stand next to out of 100 people, and then marked on my sheet where the agents I want to see will be sitting.
Then i entered and it was absolutely crazy!
Thriller Fest pitching was crazy as well, but you had a few minutes time to yourself if you needed it. I did feel like I had been awake for 22 days straight toward the end, however. But I felt like I had achieved something. A marathon, let’s say.
The WD pitch was like a sprint. And not a long sprint. It was a sprint across a street! Then on the other side someone slaps you in the face and says, That’s it you’re done, it’s over.
What I’m saying is, it was only an hour long at WD, and much time was standing in line or trying to find a short line.
If I had only come for one event I would have been disappointed. I’m glad I came for both and had more opportunity.
I now have another 5 emails to send to agents from attending WD. However, only 2 were really interested.
Imagine flying over to the US from Australia and getting those small results.
ThrillerFest was for thriller writers, so I had more success, but I also had lots more time to pitch to more agents.
I had 8 agents to send my manuscript to after TF. However, only 5 were really interested.
Your findings may have been different.
Let me know.
So, the half day begins for the next conference.
It began much like ThrillerFest, and even has a few of the same people.
One good thing, which would have been nice for the start of the last conference I attended, was that they began with how to pitch to the agent or publisher face to face. Which is tomorrow, around midday.
This will give everyone time to remaster their pitch.
Last time, I was reworking my pitch while standing in the line to see the agents. It was crazy, but I got it done and had a high success rate.
So today is listening to info in the function rooms, such as: I’m listening on how to write for magazines.
Tomorrow is the part where we actually pitch. The nerves, the heart beating so hard it may pop, the stretched face from smiling more than normal. The business cards, the saying of “umm” a lot.
More on this and the results on Saturday.
Again I’m in this massive city writing my brain to exhaustion.
It’s the last week in the states with last of the writing festivals coming up in a few days. I’ll be interested in seeing how it compares to ThrillerFest.
If you’re in New York, don’t be shy, say hi. I’m always looking for other writers to chat to.
At the moment I’m getting stuck into the sequel of my first novel. Then, later today, I might begin the sequel to my second separate novel.
This mornings writing spot. I’ll never get used to the amount of squirrels!
Although, beware, sometimes you think you see one but it’s a rat. On the upside, they seem just as friendly as the squirrels.
ONLY 3 PLACES LEFT
on Getting Published course with Allen & Unwin publishing guru Sue HinesSaturday 25 July, East Melbourne, $295
If you want to book, email the first two pages of your story to:
by next Tuesday to ensure Sue Hines has time to read it before the course.
A one-day course offering aspiring writers the opportunity to find out what really goes on inside a publishing house, how publishers make their choices and how to improve one’s chances of publication.
Full details in link below here:
It’s like the old saying: Sixteen and never been kissed. In this case it’s writing but never been published. Sure, we may have had something small published here or there. And maybe even a few dollars came our way, but essentially our work is still not on the shelves via a traditional publisher with the potential of making a real living as an author.
What do we do about it?
Some of us shrug and decide it is the way it will always be. Some will self publish via ebook or print on demand. Both of these unfortunately will almost always never make you money. They’re sometimes costly, and often no better than just an advertisement that your friends and family will see, as well as the odd enthusiast, and the people who wait for books to be for free when you are promoting.
Others that want to get into the industry will go to writing conferences. And although that is great, and good for getting to know other writers, as well as authors that either have made it or are trying to make it, it still probably won’t get you over the line to becoming a published author. In my hometown, Australia, Melbourne, this is especially the case.
What else to do?
There are other options. And they involve writing conferences – but only the ones that allow you the chance to pitch your work to multiple agents/editors/publishers. That’s what you want. That’s what you need. That’s really your only way in. Anything else and it’s like trying to grab warm air with your hands from the heater and put it into your pockets for later (or cool air if you’re in summer somewhere like me).
At these conferences there will be many authors and other writerly people that are giving talks, and you will dutifully listen and possibly write some of it down to apply to your work later once your mind returns to normal following the mass of information glogging up your head. And all this is great, but the real part starts on the following day when you are able to pitch your work to the agents/editors/publishers. This is where it will be decided if you at least have a concept they might be interested in. That’s right, might, is the operative word. Just because they listen to your pitch, ask a few questions, and then find out there could be a story there they potentially might be interested in, it does not mean they WILL like it. In fact, once they have read the first sentence, or if you’re really lucky; the first page, they will probably decide they do not like the way you write, or your story, or something else turned them off. It needs to tick many many boxes before they say YES. Regardless, it’s still the best chance you have!
I attended Thriller Fest last week and luckily had six agents and two publisher/editor people ask me to send them my manuscript. It was a great day full of great people. Made some new friends, although most will only be online friends because I live in Melbourne and they live in and around the US. I also got some good information from the people attending and talking, and realised a few things about my own writing, writing style, and my pitch.
That’s another thing, usually at the good conferences they will teach you how and what to pitch, as well allow you to practice on someone with experience.
At the end of July 2015, I will be attending Writers Digest. It’s very similar to Thriller Fest (some of the agents will attend both). I’ll meet more good people and hopefully have more agents that will say yes.
Lastly, I will leave you with my one pager, which was also basically my pitch with some adlibbing (improvisation).
Before I do, why did I choose the title?
Well, when I was in the US last time I met with an established author, who was introduced to me by a friend. He was drunk and obnoxious, so yeah, good times. His first words were: “So you want to be a writer?”
I think if you write, you are a writer. Whether it be for fun, for blogging, or to make money. Being a published writer, is another thing again.
For the next ten minutes he was condescending and rude. His first name was Brad, but that’s not much to go on. Regardless, what I would like to ask of every one of you who eventually become published, please treat the up-and-coming writers with just a little respect and remember what it was like for you when you were still trying to make it.
Here’s my one pager. Hopefully it will help some of you:
Author: Mat Clarke
Title: Mad Gun
Genre: Psychological Thriller.
Thumbnail: An unstable professional killer begins seeing things that aren’t there and develops problems with wet-work, and the law.
Synopsis: The US Federal Government has stopped training new agents. They instead lease them from a central company and insert them into each agency and into specific roles depending on their training. During a botched mission, Tingrin, watches on as his team is killed. He blames himself, and his superior (Julie) also blames him. Tingrin drinks to forget and creates a fantasy world in his mind where his colleagues, who were also his friends, are safe. Julie has not forgotten, and so when Tingrin is finally let go from the agency, she is free to hunt him down and take her revenge. By this stage Tingrin has created a second imaginary world so that he can punish himself further. He has taken on a kill for money persona, despising himself each time he murders for money. As his unstable mind begins to unravel, and Julie attacks him, what is real and imagined collide.
About the Author: Mat has completed two other separate novels, one of which is also being currently pitched. A selection of short stories, and non-fiction, which are currently online. Selected editing was undertaken by Suraya Dewing, of, The Story Mint. His short story work has been published with The Story Mint and the Melbourne Writers’ Group Anthologies. He runs a writing group in Melbourne where they meet and talk writing, as well as write and read out their work. His trade was pre-press with printing companies for 20 years within a desktop publishing role.
Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin are coming to our Writing Group. Chat to their representative Thursday 28th.
See the link above to find us in Melbourne!
“Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin. Quality writing courses inside a publishing house.”
Take a look and visit their webpage to see what you can learn from them today.
Here is the message they would like to share with you:
Faber Writing Academy is the creative writing school inside publisher Allen & Unwin in East Melbourne (also Sydney). We run courses which draw on the expertise of acclaimed authors and our publishers. We specialise in teaching the craft of writing fiction.
The Academy is best known for our six-month evening course Writing a Novel which starts again this March 10 with internationally acclaimed Toni Jordan and Paddy O’Reilly co-teaching the course.
The course teaches the winning elements of a good book and prepares you for pitching to the publishing industry. Students receive feedback from their author tutor and Allen & Unwin publishers. At the end of the course their work appears in our annual course anthology. We then send the anthology to agents and publishers. So, in one hit your work has been presented to a wide section of the Australian publishing industry under the seal of Faber Writing Academy. It’s worth noting that a third of last year’s students caught the interest of an agent. Our Communications Manager, Sarah Menary did the course last year, so feel free to pick her brain about it by calling 02 8425 0171.
We have just launched a new course with Sophie Cunningham called 1% Inspiration. It’s all about generating and knowing which idea to pick for writing a novel. To see all our courses go towww.faberwritingacademy.com.au and go to Melbourne or Sydney courses page.
Each week I’m going to post up a link to someone’s writings. For this week I will post up someone’s work that has been discounted 100%. In other words, free!
Please send the details to Mat Clarke via Facebook Messenger private message and I will post it up for you on here.
It will also be posted to our Facebook account and Twitter account! Mat Clarke: facebook.com/matclarke.author
This is an example of what I would like you to send me:
My collection of short stories “Nine ’til 9” usually costs US$1.85. Use this code to get it free: “AF52A” Here is the link: smashwords.com/books/view/482586