Monday, January 24, 2011
THE WRITER'S DIGEST CONFERENCE PITCH SLAM
I went to the Writer's Digest Conference at the Sheraton on Saturday. The main draw of this conference is the Pitch Slam, where you have 90 seconds to pitch your work to 50 agents.
I had been looking forward to it for a month. I crafted a beautiful pitch for my memoir, "The Precipice Dwellers".
I picked out the perfect outfit: fashionable, showing some personality yet professional. (And by that I simply mean that my tits weren't hanging out.) I got my hair cut. I even polished my silver pen and stocked my business card holder with fresh Mama D's Arts Bordello cards.
Then I walked into that sweaty madhouse with 400 eager writers; some of them rolling their suitcases cases around, all of them so hungry. Every 90 seconds a buzzer would go off and you'd hear "TIME!"
It was terrifying.
It reminded me of a low-rent casino in Vegas. And the stakes were just as high. But as The Gambler himself once sang, "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to run."
I stood there, dazed. My palms were as sweaty as my mouth was dry. I knew I should have had that 3rd gin and tonic for lunch. There was no way I'd be able to pitch my incredibly personal memoir under these conditions. I'd feel like I was selling out my family secrets like an auctioneer. But I also knew I'd be annoyed with myself if I didn't try to pitch something at least once.
So I chose an agent named Jud Laghi. He's the man behind books such as "Why Do Men Have Nipples?" and "The Hipster Handbook".
I sat down in front of him and said, "The book is called, 'MY FIRST BONER: A Pop Up Book About Your First Celebrity Crush'."
60 seconds later I shook his hand and left the conference room.