We are so blessed to have a great article to share from Publisher’s Weekly, on our recent Pitchapalooza by co-owner of the AWESOME Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne VT.
Pitchapalooza comes back To San Francisco for the 2nd annual Litquakepalooza. The lovely and talented Sam Barry & Kathi Kamen Goldmark, authors of Write That Book Already, will be joining us once again. Last year’s winner, Nura Maznavi got a book deal from Soft Skull Press with her partner, Ayesha Mattu, after her amazing pitch rocked the house.
“We came to Pitchapalooza with an idea and six months later we got a book deal with a prominent publisher. We simply couldn’t have done this without this opportunity and without David and Arielle. We had been working on this project for several years, on our own, and struggling without any guidance. We were really discouraged by the entire process. Winning Pitchapalooza, and working with these two, really helped us focus and renew our enthusiasm in the project. And now we’re going to be published authors!”—Nura Maznavi and Ayesha Mattu
WHAT: Pitchapalooza is American Idol for books (only without Simon). Twenty writers will be selected at random to pitch their book. Each writer gets one minute—and only one minute! In the last month, three writers have gotten publishing deals as a result of participating in Pitchapalooza.
WHO: Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are co-founders of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping authors get their books published. They are also co-authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How To Write It, Sell It, and Market It… Successfully (Workman, 2010). Arielle Eckstut has been a literary agent for 18 years at The Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. She is also the author of seven books and the co-founder of the iconic brand, LittleMissMatched. David Henry Sterry is the best-selling author of 12 books, on a wide variety of subject including memoir, sports, YA fiction and reference. They have taught their workshop on how to get published everywhere from Stanford University to Smith College. They have appeared everywhere from The New York Times to NPR’s Morning Edition to USA Today.
HOW: At Pitchapalooza, judges will help you improve your pitch, not tell you how bad it is. Judges critique everything from idea to style to potential in the marketplace and much, much more. Authors come away with concrete advice as well as a greater understanding of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Whether potential authors pitch themselves, or simply listen to trained professionals critique each presentation, Pitchapalooza is educational and entertaining for one and all. From Miami to Portland, from LA to NYC, and many stops along the way, Pitchapaloozas have consistently drawn standing-room-only crowds, press and blog coverage, and the kind of bookstore buzz reserved for celebrity authors.
PRIZE: At the end of Pitchapalooza, the judges will pick a winner. The winner receives an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for his/her book.
PRICE OF ADMISSION: To sign up to pitch, you must purchase a copy of The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published. Anyone who buys a copy of receives a FREE 20 minute consultation, a $100 value. If you don’t want to pitch, the event is FREE.
WHEN: Oct. 9, 5PM-6:30PM,
WHERE: Variety Preview Room, 582 Market St, SF
New York Times article: http://tinyurl.com/3tkp4gl.
Pitchapalooza mini movie: http://tinyurl.com/3jr8zte.
Pitchapalooza on NBC: http://thebookdoctors.com/the-book-doctors-pitchapalooza-on-nbc-television
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,
Got a good book idea? Do what I did: Bring it to the Pitchapalooza By Neal Wiegman
Pitch your book idea:
A second Pitchapalooza sponsored by Lyon Books will take place at the 1078 Gallery on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. For writers who can’t make it then, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry (pictured) will be available to listen to pitches on Northstate ublic Radio’s call-in show “I-5 LIVE!” Monday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m.
Three years ago I got the idea that I might have a book in me. It had been germinating for some time, but I hadn’t felt confident that I could do it. So when an opportunity came to pitch my idea—at what was called a Pitchapalooza—in front of a group that included a panel of judges who offered the possibility of being introduced to an agent, I decided to go for it.
That’s how, in November 2006, I found myself at Lyon Books, in downtown Chico, joining more than 30 wannabe authors standing before the microphone that afternoon. (A second Pitchapalooza is scheduled for Jan. 18; see the info box.)
That morning, in preparation for my one-minute pitch, I had written the first paragraph of what became a self-published historical novel, Walking the Way: A Medieval Quest.
When my turn came and I got up to face the crowd, I realized I was more nervous than I’d ever been in my life, although I’m used to speaking in front of groups. I think it was because of the time limitation. Fortunately, as I began, I was able to deal with my nervousness and steady my shaky voice by focusing on that first paragraph.
The panel of judges consisted of Susan Wooldridge, the Chico author of two best-selling books about writing, poemcrazy: freeing your life with words and Fool’s Gold: Making Something from Nothing and Freeing Your Creative Process; and the “Book Doctors,” Arielle Eckstut and her husband, David Henry Sterry, authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published.
Eckstut has been a literary agent for 18 years, and Sterry is the best-selling author of 13 books, the last of which appeared on the cover of The New York Times Book Review. They’ve appeared on National Public Radio many times and taught publishing at Stanford University. They’ve helped dozens of talented amateurs become professionally published authors.
Pitchapalooza participants, their time allowances strictly enforced by stopwatch, attempt to convince the experts that their idea is worth consideration by an agent. After each writer’s pitch, the judges critique everything from concept to potential in the marketplace. Aspiring authors come away with concrete advice on how to improve their pitches, as well as a greater understanding of the ins and outs of the publishing industry.
Even if a pitch was poorly written or presented, the three judges gave encouraging feedback. I was told that a selling point in my favor was the fact that my wife and I had actually walked the medieval pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain that the hero of my novel follows on his quest. (I described that walk in “The bones of Saint James,” a feature story in the Dec. 24, 2009, issue of the CN&R that was another outgrowth of the Pitchapalooza.)
Nancy Wiegman, my wife, also attended the November 2006 event and was so impressed with the number of writers in the Chico area that she was inspired to create a platform for their books through radio interviews. A few months later Nancy’s Bookshelf debuted on Northstate Public Radio. She has now interviewed more than 150 mostly local and regional authors for her show, which airs on KCHO, 91.7 FM, Fridays at 10 am.
Sterry eventually returned to Chico to be interviewed on Nancy’s Bookshelf about memoir writing and how he helps writers put their passion into print.
He described the Pitchapalooza, which he invented, as “kind of like an American Idol for books, where everybody gets one minute.” When Nancy commented that the judges’ evaluation of each pitch was always very kind, Sterry replied, “Well, there’s no Simon [Cowell]. Yes, I have to censor all the angry, bitter, cynical thoughts that come through my head.”
Sterry thinks it’s important that everyone pitching a book idea get encouraging words: “You don’t want to go in public and be humiliated. Many people have a dream of getting a book published, and who am I to say their dream shouldn’t come true?”
Eckstut and Sterry have done Pitchapaloozas all over the country for years. “What I’ve discovered is that at every single event there are at least five book ideas that someone pitches and you go, ‘Oh, my God, there is a great book just waiting to be born.’ And people don’t have the mechanism in place for even explaining what their book is. What’s one of the hardest things to do is to take a 300-page book and condense it down to be able to explain it in 25 seconds, 30 seconds. It’s really an art.”
there’s a nice mention of our events coming up on Thursday, January 6 at Anderson’s bookstore in Naperville. Thanks again to the Huffington Post!
Calling all NaNoWriMo Authors! Is your elevator pitch polished? Is it ready to tumble off your lips in an enthusiastic, one-minute explosive description of the next best seller?
If not, then get it ready! For on January 6, 2011, at 7 p.m. “Pitchapalooza!” is coming to Naperville!
Laura Goldberg contacted me from Workman Publishing, excited to discuss this book and the event.
“The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It and Market It … Successfully!”
The authors, book agent Arielle Eckstut and author/book doctor David Henry Sterry are the hosts of Pitchapalooza! Which will be held at Anderson’s Bookshops, 123 W Jefferson Ave. in Naperville, IL.
Laura’s description of the event: “Pitchapalooza!” concept is like “American Idol” for books… Anyone with an idea for a book has the chance to pitch it to a panel of judges consisting of the authors plus guest industry insiders and/or local authors. Each “contestant” gets only one minute. The judges critique everything from idea to style to marketplace potential and more. Authors come away with concrete advice on how to improve their pitch…. At the end of each Pitchapalooza, the judges come together to pick a winner. The winner receives a personal introduction from Ecksut and Sterry to a literary agent who would be appropriate for their book idea.”
Laura, this sounds fantastic! Can anyone walk in and toss their pitch at you? Is there a fee? “It’s a free event and everyone can throw their hat in the ring for a potential pitch, but 20 will be selected from a random draw.”
“If you win at one of these events, it is a leg up on getting published — with, in this case, an introduction to a literary agent. (But) There isn’t a guarantee of a book deal.”
Laura Points out that “Eckstut and Sterry demystify every step of the publishing process, such as how to:
* Come up with a search-engine-friendly, blockbuster title
* Create a selling proposal
* Find the right agent
The book includes interviews with…
* Seth Godin, Neil Gaiman, Amy Bloom, Margaret Atwood, Larry Kirshbaum, and Leonard Lopate
* Plus agents, publicists, editors, booksellers, web wizards, and social networking gurus
* Sample proposals, query letters, and a feature-rich website and community for authors.”
You can follow The Book Doctors on Twitter.
Good luck at, “Pitchapalooza!” Hosted at Anderson’s Bookshops
“A must-have for every aspiring writer.” —Khaled Hosseini, New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner
“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. . . . This little tome is the quiet secret of rock-star authors.” —Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Anderson’s Bookshops on Facebook
Excerpt of Chapter 2
See you there!