From New West Books & Writers:
The most entertaining part of the MPIBA writers conference was “Pitchapalooza,” billed as the “American Idol” for books. Each conference attendee was instructed to prepare a 60-second pitch of his or her book to present to a panel for a critique. The writer with the best pitch won a 30-minute consultation with Arielle Eckstut. The panelists included Eckstut, who with her husband David Henry Sterry wrote The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It . . . Successfully, Elizabeth Jordan, the head buyer at BookPeople in Austin, and Katie Schmidt, the Small Publisher Liason for Tattered Cover Bookstore.
Eckstut and Sterry emphasized the importance of authors crafting a polished pitch of their books to use in query letters to agents and publishers, and to present to buyers at bookstores or whomever they happen to meet. Sterry circulated throughout the day, asking anyone who confessed to having written a book, “So, what’s your book about?” He posed this question to me at the coffee station, and I admit that I flubbed it. I hadn’t thought to prepare my own pitch, as I was just reporting on the conference, not participating. His point was made—anyone who is publishing a book should be ready for this question at all times.
Eckstut said that one frequent problem she sees with pitches is that authors sometimes “separate their pitch from their book,” writing a pitch for a humor book that isn’t funny, for example. “The voice of your book needs to come through in your pitch.”
After the introduction, volunteers began to deliver their one-minute pitches while the judging panel kept the time. All the participants had clearly worked hard on their short presentations, each of them delivering a convincing commercial for their books that were lively and frequently funny or moving. After each participant finished, the panel offered their critiques and suggestions, such as advising writers to balance their emphasis on plot and characters in the pitch, or including a comparison to other successful books that share something in common with the book being pitched. Eliza Cross, a Colorado-based writer, won the Pitchapalooza competition. She is the author of, most recently, The Rusty Parrot Cookbook: Recipes from Jackson Hole’s Acclaimed Lodge.
The MPIBA hasn’t yet decided whether they will offer this writers conference again at next year’s trade show, but if they do, anyone who is in the process of publishing a book, either through a self-publishing service or a traditional publisher, will benefit from attending.
From Cultural Festivals St Louis:
July 27, 3:30pm Politics & Prose, Washington DC
September 18, 7pm Brooklyn Book Festival, Brooklyn Public Library
October 19, 20, James River Writers Conference, Richmond Virginia
Here’s what people are saying about The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published:
“I started with nothing but an idea, and then I bought this book. Soon I had an A-list agent, a near six-figure advance, and multiple TV deals in the works. Buy it and memorize it. This little tome is the quiet secret of rockstar authors.”—New York Times best-selling author Timothy Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich,
“It is a must-have for every aspiring writer… thorough, forthright quite entertaining.”—Khaled Hosseini, New York Times bestselling author of the Kite Runner
“Before you write your own book, read this one first.”—Jonathan Karp, editor-in-chief, Simon and Schuster
Here’s an article about Pitchapalooza in The New York Times.
Here’s a link to a blog about their Pitchapalooza at Barnes & Noble 86th St., with publishing titans Larry Kirschbaum and Bob Simon.
Here’s a link to an article about the Art of the Pitch and their Pitchapalooza on Publishers Perspective.
Here’s a write-up of a wild Pitchapalooza at the great book store Book Revue. PITCHAPALOOZA
Here’s a MINI-MOVIE about Pitchapalooza-TRY NOT TO CRY.
We feel that one of our book’s greatest contributions to the morass of writer’s guides is our chapter on social media, aka chapter 2. We interviewed everyone one from Sree Sreenivasan (professor of journalism at Columbia University) to Margaret Atwood to Neil Gaiman (with whom there is an interview over Twitter) and many other social media geeks. The result is a hefty chapter on how to make social media work for you as a writer and author. Check it by clicking here.