Did I mention I was a Pitchapalooza winner in Rhinebeck? I was! I’m very excited, which is, of course, one reason I’m sharing this information with you. But I also want to explain how it happened. Because it wasn’t just a fluke and it wasn’t simply talent combined with a little luck either. But I’ll get to more on that in my next post, since I don’t want any one post to be too long.
First, if you’re unsure of what Pitchapalooza is exactly, here’s some information. It’s basically billed as American Idol for publishing. If you’re not used to getting up in front of a crowd and speaking, yes, it’s scary. If you want advice from publishing experts—not to mention a little practice and exposure—it’s also definitely worth it. I should mention that while the panel had tons of ideas to make pitches better, their critiques were not harsh or mean-spirited. There’s no Simon! The general tone of the event was helpful and enthusiastic.
People had some great pitches, too. I don’t dare share the topics covered here, for fear I’ll send someone’s precious idea into the blogosphere without supervision. But there was one in particular I wished I had thought of myself. (Don’t worry. It’s not an idea I plan to pursue—it’s all yours, person who pitched it!)
I realize I was lucky to be called to pitch. Only about 25 people were randomly chosen from the crowd. They call two at a time, so one person is up and the next is on deck. That way, getting called isn’t a complete surprise. You know when it’s almost your turn. Then, you can hide behind the shelves and whisper-practice, like I did.
When you’re up, you’ve got one minute to pitch. It’s nice if you can look up from the page while you’re reading. If you’re too nervous for that, it doesn’t seem to count against you. People may laugh (you hope), but you can’t pause for effect, because time is ticking. When you’re down to 10 seconds left, you get a warning—a nice gesture since you’re cut off once the minute is up.
And then, you listen. Your pitch is about to be critiqued.