I arrived in NYC Thursday January 20th, 2011 to an okay temperature of 25 degrees. I was prepared for it, a little over prepared if I might say. I decided to multi task, making the trip also a girls weekend, which turned out to be a god send.
We rented a small vacation rental in Mid-Town which turned out to be just three blocks from the New York Sheraton & Towers and Times Square. (Score!)Let me just say is you ever want a near death experience that will only cost you $17 bucks take the New York Super Shuttle, it was an experience I’ll never forget, let’s just say those drivers treat their 15 passenger vans like a vesper.
My girlfriends and I were so excited to be in NYC that we went out to celebrate and I learned a few things:
1. Flat shoes are frown upon
2. New Yorkers don’t dance
3. And losing your coat check ticket can be costly.
4. And New York is truly the city that never sleeps, we left at 2am and the party was just starting.
Friday morning I was up bright an early despite only sleeping about two hours. I had some errands to run before the conference began at 3pm that afternoon, starting with emailing a few of the agents I follow on twitter to see if they would be in attendance, and to my surprise I got responses, a couple even wanted to meet for coffee afterwards.
I got an awesome carriage by a man who took pity on me and my kitten heels, trying to hope over the snow and ice, and all it cost me were a few princess waves. (Who says New Yorkers Aren’t Nice?)
After my errands I had just enough time to grab a bit with my girl friends, before meeting up with Steph and Nick (two attendees who responded to my writer’s digest discussion) we planned to meet up at registration and sit together and I can’t tell you how relaxing it was to have those connections prior to getting to the conference, not that I’m a shy girl (More on that later)
So My girl friends were like my glam squad/PR the whole trip they came with me to registration and help my place in line while I went to primp and by the time I got back they had even done some introductions for me. I was a little nervous, but I had already made up my mind on the plane that I was going to meet as many writers as I could in those three days.
So I find Steph in line and I was so excited to see her that I gave her a big hug, despite the fact that we were strangers. So she and I and some other’s I met in line go to find a seat and Nick was already holding a table for us with some others he met online. I had the greatest conversation with another writer from North Carolina, which got me more pumped to meet others. There were hundreds of faces, young and old and I wanted to know what they wrote, why they wrote, if their characters drove them crazy the way mine did sometimes. I was finally in an environment where I could talk about all the things the outside world would want to have me committed for. Like the way my character ties her shoes or the kind of music she plays when she’s driving alone.
So the open address is given by Richard Curtis, who had to be a comedian in his former life because he really had some funnies. And next was the pitch perfect workshop by Chuck Sambuchino. He started off by giving us the format of a pitch
· Genre, Word Count, whether or not the book is complete
· Log Line
· And a single paragraph pitch
After he described each part in detail he opened the floor for questions and added that if anyone would like to pitch him for practice that they were more than welcome, and I thought “Sure why not.” So a line forms and I think “Awe man, everyone is going to pitch him and I won’t have time.” So the Rich Knight steps up to the mic and asks Chuck if he can pitch. His log line gets a gasp from the entire room of 500 writers, it was so good, and staff members and I’m like “What was I thinking wanting to pitch my YA Paranormal? I’m going to be laughed out of the room.” So I change my mind at that exact moment and put my pitch away. Then people go through the line one by one asking questions and I’m like “Are you guys crazy, why aren’t you pitching? This is the best opportunity you could get to practice on a pro before the big pitch slam tomorrow.” So I change my mind again. I make my way to the back of the line and I’m standing there, no notes, fully expecting for my throat to close up.
It’s finally my turn I introduce myself, follow the steps Chuck gave us and I pitch my story, and I’m relaxed and I’m explaining Deyan and her issues and then I release I’m pitching in front of 400+ people and somewhere in the middle of my pitch I blank. I totally forget to add the paranormal part and Chuck is so awesome that he asks me a few questions to get me back on track and then he summarizes the story back to me and by sheer magic he actually got the story(Minus the paranormal element) and even cooler he didn’t hate it. So I go back to my seat my nerves die down and I sort of work out the words for my new pitch while Dan Blank share’s some awesome info about branding yourself.
At the end of the evening I get people crossing the room to tell me how brave I was and how much the like my story. I meet a group of other YA writers and it’s instantly like “Yay! Family.” I’m beaming, because I’ve basically just introduced myself to the entire conference and gained a really cool nick name
“The Pitch Girl”
As exciting as theses moments were, it was only a beginning of the conference; there was so much more. Turn back in tomorrow for my post about the TWEET UP that followed.