Sunday, March 11, 2012

Writing Conferences: Your chance to pitch

Daylight Saving Time. Although it's not yet spring officially, DST reminds us that summer days are just ahead. As you changed your clocks this weekend, did that activity signal "time to plan for summer?"

Writers conferences and summer go together like symphony galas and winter. For writers, especially those who need a push to finish a project, the thought of an upcoming conference is as welcoming as spring's first buds.  Perhaps looking forward to an exciting event is all the impetus you need to complete your book.

Imagine the opening social. Imagine conversing with an established author, who, like you, decided to write for publication, set goals,and invested in them. You can relate to the author who persevered and made it. Imagine that well-known author's blurb on the back cover of your book. What if that author invites you to rehearse your pitch to his or her empathetic ear before you must jump in with the real thing to an agent or publisher the next day?

The pitch. That's often the main reason authors attend a conference. The pitch is one of the most important pages of writing you'll ever do. Now is the time to prepare the pitch: to write it, read it, time it, polish it, memorize it, and then rehearse it until your two-minute speech sounds natural.

Perhaps you are months behind on the schedule you set for yourself, and have noting to pitch. If that's the case, and your writing group is hosting an annual workshop, plan to pitch in. It's your chance to make friends with members you're barely acquainted with. It's your chance to be a friend to the committee that has worked on behalf of your organization to make the event a success.

Years ago, a writer told me, "if you have nothing to pitch, you're spending money on a glorified pep rally. That's a good enough point--if you don't like pep rallies. Glancing back to school days, however, if you weren't part of the "in crowd," here's your chance to be a cheer leader.
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Panhandle Professional Writers hosts an annual weekend conference, Frontiers in Writing. Unlike that of previous years, 2012's Frontiers in Writing will not feature agents or publishers in its speakers' line-up. With self-publishing a growing option for writers, this year's emphasis is on learning. Regardless of how authors plan to publish their work, Frontiers in Writing will help them produce well-crafted prose or poetry, and offer information on copyright law and the publishing industry.

For information of the June 29-30 conference, see Panhandle Professional Writers' website

(c) 2012, Bernice W. Simpson

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