Wednesday, 27 June 2012

To Pitch or Not to Pitch - that is the question

In the last guest blog before the Conference begins, please welcome author, Chris Bell. She writes of her pitching experience at the 2010 SCBWI conference....
Chris Bell - pitching
From far away France, I can hear the buzz building for the 2012 SCBWI Australia and New Zealand Conference racing up in a couple of weeks. I'm almost turning the green of envy and lamenting my decision of months ago not to attend. But a girl can't zip off o/s on a research trip to France for several weeks and spring for an interstate conference a week or so later too. Sad as the fact is!

I'm excited for all those going remembering what a fantastic time I had in 2010, meeting new friends, catching up with lots of interstate writing buddies and attending the many fabulous sessions, especially, for me, the "Pitch to Publisher" session.

I almost bailed on the chance to pitch when I read the criteria description on the conference website and the terrifying words, "make it entertaining". Eek! I had no idea how to do that bar going into my character. I'm no actor, nor remotely hilarious. Still the idea persisted and in the end I did drop my name into the pitching bowl. 

To my bemusement now, I did go into my MC's voice, complete with a Scottish accent. (I was told later it was more Irish.) But it worked. 

The publishers responded very positively with all wanting to see the finished manuscript. Roles have since changed for several of those publishers, just as my novel has turned out to be more for adult than a YA readership, even though I'm sure it will crossover.

So my best advice if you're thinking of pitching at the conference is - GO FOR IT. You'll never have such a receptive/captive audience of friends and fellows and interested publishers.

Oh, and I'll also pass on Claire Saxby's excellent pre-pitch advice to me, "Breathe, go as slow as you can. You can never go too slowly."

Good luck, relax and have fun with it. Isn't that what kid's lit is all about?
PS: If you'd like to read more about the planning and my pitch session, please drop by my blog post To Pitch or Not to Pitch 
(Chris didn't mention that she did an enthralling pitch - we're looking forward to seeing her book one day ... Sheryl)


  1. I am really looking forward to the pitch session. I agree that it will be a great opportunity for those chosen to present their work.

  2. Thanks for your "enthralling pitch", Sheryl. Adrenalin can pump up the effect! Good luck to all those pitching. And I hope you'll all see my book one day in the not too distant future.

  3. I loved this, Chris - you are a very brave woman and I hope something wonderful comes of this, Scottish accent or no! x

  4. JULIA, this is for you.
    Your comment won't show up on the blog because it's Anonymous (not sure why not) so I've added it below. I'll answer it in the next comment.
    "Hello! I'm really enjoying the blog leading up to the conference. I just submitted a pitch, but then found some info through the Writer's Centre website that said it was only open to unpublished authors, so I've written to withdraw my entry. Perhaps you can mention it in the blog post for people like me who are pretty new to all of this and didn't know. Thanks! Julia."

  5. Julia, any author can try for a pitching session - that information is incorrect. The story you're pitching must not be published, but certainly all authors can do it.
    You need to send in your entry again because you are able to throw your hat in the ring.
    best wishes
    PS For some reason this blog is not admitting comments through Anonymous even though the setting is correct.