The Pitchapalooza Experience: More Testimonials from the Trenches


It is impossible to overstate the benefit from listening to published authors and guest editors respond to 20 or so authors pitch their book.  Pitchapalooza is that exciting and useful.  You and your guests led us into the demands of the publishing industry and the rich rewards found in your book The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Clearly you are serious about your work.   The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published is more like dancing than reading.  You suggest steps, require spins, then demand leaps that propel us in directions and through doors that only publishing industry insiders could choreograph. Your sharp caring red pencil corrections force me to put your book down and return to rework my own efforts.  Your purpose is to help one get published, but your writing is a graduate course in communication. — Richard Coulter


I attended Pitchapalooza and all I have talked about since then was how much fun it was.  David’s wit made the evening a joy as well as immensely informative.  Also what impressed me was how alive and focused you both were.  — Anand Ami Hadani


I never expected such a heart pounding experience.   I had dropped my name into a jar to be plucked out at random and I had no pitch prepared!   Over three hundred people were about to witness my utter humiliation at the hands of an expert panel. I got out my pen and began to furiously write which is not an easy task when every couple of minutes you are sure your name will be called and voices are booming over microphones and hundreds of people are laughing and clapping. — Guruparwaz Khalsa


I thought the event was great because I learned something from the critiques you gave the other authors and you and Arielle are not intimidating, the opposite of stuffy. This was the first time I came out from the shadows and into the light to speak as an author which took courage on my part. I was able to do it because you made me feel that the risk was worth it to receive valuable personal critique.  — Marsha Cohen


The Pitchapalooza was fantastic.   I found it so informative.  I especially benefited from listening to the various pitches.  By the end of the evening I had completely reformatted my pitch into something I’ll be excited to present to you.  The panel gave good advice as well as helpful critiques to all those brave enough to step up to the mike.  That they did it with humor and without malice or sarcasm made for an entertaining evening. — Coleen Nigg


I thought pitchapalooza was great!! Your feedback to other authors was helpful to everyone. Your attitudes showed you were excited about your industry and that transferred to us! I learned how to make a good pitch which I look forward to sharing with you.  The book is easy to read and already marked up with highlighter.  Thanks so much for your interest in new authors! — Deb Farinholt


I thought the Pitchapalooza was helpful and educational and certainly not boring! Most activities surrounding writing are solitary tasks and it is difficult to have an idea about how other people handle the same problems that one grapples with. The Pitchapalooza accorded me the opportunity to observe fellow writers’ pitches and their thought processes. — Vaijayanti Bal


I truly enjoyed the Pitchapalooza.  As a novice entering the book world I found it extremely insightful.  It was not only entertaining but disarming.  No one was being judged, rather provided constructive criticism that every person in the room benefited from. — Natalie Cannady


I thought your Pitchapalooza was excellent!   You were both constructive without being harsh and created a positive and exciting forum for upcoming writers to learn.   I was personally beyond impressed and entertained, by halfway through I had completely re-written my pitch based on the advice you were providing. — Bradley Butzin


Pitchapalooza was a hoot!  A good pitch grabbed me like a good movie trailer would and I was all ears whereas the poorly executed pitch had me tuning out, waiting for the painful minute to end, and your gentle constructive criticism to begin. — Dorrie L. Williams


This was entertaining and informative. It let us all know that there is hope for each of our books. It was an opportunity to listen to others’ ideas and become informed about our skills and the ins and outs of the publishing world. I so appreciated the suggestions and help! — Charla Waxman


The event was very useful as well as entertaining. It refocused me, refreshing things I’d known and revealing things I hadn’t. It was interesting and fun hearing people’s pitches, and instructive hearing the feedback to everyone’s pitches, not just mine. Of course, the entire exercise of putting together my own pitch and getting feedback on it was invaluable. — Doug


I did think your Pitchapalooza was entertaining and informative. — Fritz Windstein


I was awed and amazed at your Pitchapalooza.  It brought out raw talent, great story ideas, and sparked hope in the hearts of the writers in our small college town. It was also quite educational!  Although I wasn’t chosen to pitch, your comments and advice to the writers that pitched enlightened me about the writing, pitching and marketing process. The writing/editing/literary community seemed ivy leagish to me, too far out to even touch.  You made it touchable with your Pitchapalooza.  It was a magical moment. — Kay Hoffner


I did indeed find the Pitchapalooza both entertaining and educational. The material presented was extremely varied, and though the subject matter was invariably unrelated to my own, I found helpful tips with nearly every pitch. The evening felt relaxed and intimate and there was a nice mix of serious discussion and humor. Even though I wasn’t selected to pitch, when the evening was over, I wished there was more. — Solace Sheets


Pitchapalooza was both thrilling and terrifying. Zip-lining 700ft over San Francisco last year was less terrifying than standing at that podium. However, the panel’s feedback immediately put me at ease and clearly defined how I needed to change my pitch. Overall the event was amazing. The quick pace gave a wonderful energy to the event and the interaction between panel and audience was both entertaining and informative.  When I began delving into the process of writing a proposal, querying agents, working with social media, etc. I bought book after book, trying to find a single one that answered all of my questions. Needless to say, I amassed a substantial stack of books all of which were quickly littered with sticky notes containing the questions they hadn’t answered. Your book answered those questions along with a few I hadn’t thought of. It really is the Essential Guide. Thank you for a book free of sticky notes! — Melissa Henry


I attended your Pitchapalooza.  Although I spent a good deal of time frantically scribbling notes in case you called my number, and worrying about whether I should pass or not if called, I found the experience to be quite educational.  Thank you for the opportunity to be exposed to a whole new world during my 7th decade. — Charles Peraino


I really enjoyed the Pitchapalooza and found the critiques educational.  I read the book already and it is very helpful in understanding what goes on in the industry.  What also was great is that you brought a local publisher to the event and I found out that they handle the genre I will try to pitch when I contact their company. — Janet Moulton



First, congratulations on your work and thank you for reaching out to help other aspiring writers.  I gained a great deal of insight at the Pitchapalooza as did all that attended.  Those who were selected enjoyed the opportunity to tell their story out loud to a group of supporters.  The key lesson is “Be Prepared” with a written pitch in hand and well rehearsed.  I came away with the above knowledge and also a sense that I may NOT be on the right track as far as my personal effort. Please note that I used to tell people “I am writing a book…”  Now I say “I am learning how to write a book…” Arielle and you make the event.  Enthusiasm and kindness are always palatable. — Thomas Yorke


Your presentation at the Tattered Cover in Denver was phenomenal, and Pitchapalooza was amazingly helpful as an author trying to get published for the first time.  It helped that Denver has so many creative and talented writers, because even though my name wasn’t selected, I learned a ton.  Your kinder, gentler critiques provided tremendous insight for knocking down barriers in the highly competitive publishing world. You know your stuff! — Kerry Gleason


I thought the Pitchapalooza was a wonderful idea for prospective authors to have a forum in which to present their idea(s).   I don’t know a lot about the publishing world but I would think that they probably would not otherwise have had such an opportunity to express their ideas and get feedback & constructive criticism.  Being an avid reader myself, I enjoyed hearing all the book ideas presented. — Pam Smith, Huntington, NY


I thought Pitchapolooza was great fun. I had no idea we’d be pitching our book ideas to the masses and I felt a bit like I was suddenly in the Roman Forum, but the dimension of unanticipated public theater only added depth to an evening full of learning. — Diana Donlon


I really enjoyed the Pitchapalooza. It was definitely entertaining and educational. As a new and aspiring writer, I appreciated the sober dose of reality about the challenges of getting published, but it was well balanced with support. I also like hearing about what others are writing, how they frame the story in a sound bite and the reaction of the pros. It’s a good reality check for me. — John Brooks


Your event at Book Passage was the most fun I have had in ages.  Your book is great!  I will recommend it to my friends, including those who are not writers, but definitely readers. — Anand Hadani


My pitch wasn’t chosen; however, the entire evening was fun and informative.  Your responses entertained and, more importantly, enlightened me about the pitch process. — Kate Hoffner


Wow, thank you for coming out to do your Pitchapalooza at TC tonight.   You were so warm and welcoming and nice, not at all Simon Cowell-like, and I appreciate your obvious commitment to helping everyone get published, even if their pitch isn’t quite ready yet.  Even though I wasn’t able to pitch, I experienced your incredible energy, heard your critiques of others, and left feeling inspired and happy I invested my time attending your event. — Cindy Rold


I thought the event was great. I had never heard of anything like it before. I thought a majority of the pitches were quite impressive and the format of the event with the panel was very well organized and productive. It was more than worth the drive from the city! It inspired me to get back into my big second draft of my current work which says a lot considering it’s been stagnant for a bit. — Mandy Soderstrom


Going into Pitchapalooza yesterday at Kepler’s, I heard it would be entertaining but was unexpectedly surprised at the quality of the pitches and the panel’s commentary.  It was a great opportunity to take in your comments and make meaningful revisions.  Thank you! — Paula Chapman