Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pitchapalooza: Planning to Attend

If you’re planning to attend a Pitchapalooza, there are a few things that have to come first. Absolutely first, you have to know when and where one is going to be held.

I found out about the Rhinebeck Pitchapalooza in a very roundabout way that proves I should probably keep up better with local news. The reality is, I find news so depressing sometimes that I choose to shield my preschooler and myself from such lovely stories as Guilty plea in Schenectady stabbing plot on pregnant woman and Senate panel OKs funding for area nuclear projects. Of course, this also means I sometimes miss important-to-my-career articles such as this.

That's right. Pitchapalooza was within minutes of my hometown last month, and I missed it. OK, the truth is, I did get wind of it, but not with enough advance notice to prepare or even attend.

So how did I find out about Rhinebeck Pitchapalooza, an hour and a half away? By plugging into the local writing community. I knew SCBWI had an Eastern NY chapter. I was even a member of the organization. But I was not one to attend meetings, so I hadn't gained much from this membership besides enjoying the member publication I receive in the mail.

Last month, I suddenly realized I should get out there - meet other writers, network, learn. My first local SCBWI meeting was the last before summer break, but I picked up an interesting bit of knowledge. Someone spoke up and advised us all to get on Twitter. She said sometimes agents and editors would be on there taking questions.

I'd never wanted to tweet before, but this sounded interesting. The next day, I opened an account. I started tweeting. I felt ridiculous. I began following a helpful and clearly clever agent from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. One day, Jennifer Laughran took some questions on her website. Soon after, she posted an announcement about the upcoming Rhinebeck Pitchapalooza.

I promised myself this time I would be ready. This time, I would go.

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