Little Book That Could
Before everyone writes me about my title, I familiar with the classic children’s book, The Little Engine That Could. It’s a great little story about a train engine who conquers self-doubt with repeating, “I think I can. I think I can.” If we are honest as writers and editors, each of us have some element of self-doubt. That self-doubt can be easily reinforced in our world filled with rejection. You write something that you believe is brilliant and targeted for a particular audience. You gather your courage and boldly send it out to the editor and it comes back rejected—usually using some kind phrase like “not appropriate for our publishing program.”
At a writer’s conference or when you visit the publishing house (rare but it does happen), you have the opportunity to make a face to face pitch. As writers and editors, most of us (including me) would prefer to not make these person to person pitches. Yet it’s part of the relationship building process of the publishing business. In a few weeks, I’ll be at the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference. Yesterday I received my appointment schedule. They want me to check the schedule, block any additional times if needed and return it. Naturally the conference wants me to leave the maximum appointment times so the conferees can meet with me. As the editor, I’m going to be a bit self-preservational and block a few of these times. I’m teaching three workshops (already blocked). I’ve got over 40 different 15–minute meeting times on that schedule. You can imagine toward the end of the conference, any editor struggles to listen carefully to a new idea.
I’ve recently discovered a new little book to help in this area. If you want to know more about a pitch, check out What Is A Pitch? (an excerpt from the book). Chris Abbott works in television and you talk about pressure! Imagine walking into a room full of skeptical television producers and executives who are ready to listen to your story pitch. It’s Chris Abbott’s world. Ten Minutes to Pitch, Your last-minute guide and checklist for selling your story contains valuable insight about this area. The book assumes you are pitching an appropriate quality story to the right audience. With that assumption in mind, Abbott gives detailed tips about how to enter the room with confidence, pitch your idea then gracefully exit. I think it’s the little book that could make a difference in how you succeed in this process.