In two weeks I am going to Crime Bake, a wonderful mystery conference. There are two types of mystery conferences—one for the fan, and one for the writer. Bouchercon and Malice Domestic are fan conferences. They are fun and a great way to meet other writers and lots of readers. Crime Bake is a writer’s conference, with master classes in everything from creating characters to humor to podcasting, various panels on different topics, and an ask the experts session for research. And there is also an opportunity to pitch to an agent. I signed up for a pitch session.
Now this isn’t my first time at this rodeo. I’ve pitched before, sent pages and either gotten a rejection or no response. Best case this year—the agent signs me, sells my series and I become a famous author. Hey, it could happen. I always expect the best, but honestly, I am working on reframing this pitch session. It’s a great opportunity to practice the presentation—of both myself and my work. So instead of working up a case of nerves, I am stepping up my game all around. Here’s what I am doing.
- Working on the pitch. It needs to be short, informative and entertaining. And it needs to peak the interest of the agent, and anyone else I meet who may be interested.
- Getting ready for small talk. I am fine at small talk when I have nothing at stake, it is about my work or it is about someone else. But networking for my writing? I love my writing too much. I can’t love it less, but I need to start advocating for it more. So when I see an opportunity, I need to be ready.
- Pulling together my professional collateral materials. I am getting a more professional headshot than the pith helmet photo I am using on my Facebook fan page. I am getting cards with my name, twitter handle, website, email and telephone number that I can use if (when!) I meet people.
- Loading the computer. I am finding the most recent copies of my query letter, manuscript, short synopsis, long synopsis and anything else I may need, and putting them in an easily accessible file folder. I am also printing out my first chapter and synopsis and making a couple of copies. I may not need any of it, but better safe than sorry.
Have I forgotten anything? How do you prepare for conferences and pitch sessions?