Today was the first day of the NY Pitch Conference. I’ve been a workshop leader there for ten years, and it has a very special place in my heart because that’s where I sold my first novel, The Fiction Class.
It was a truly life-changing experience. I’d been wading through the publishing waters for some years, trying to catch a wave. (I’ve just been in Monterey and surfing images are in my mind.) I wrote up a pitch and presented it to the first editor, who kindly informed me that no one would ever publish my book because it was about creative writing and no one cared about that.
The next editor was much more pleasant, and seemed genuinely interested in my book. Except that he quit publishing that very day and went to work for his family’s logging company in Canada. The third editor was also kind, but she was not the right editor for my book. Then, on Sunday morning, I went in to meet with the fourth editor, read my pitch and she said, “We’re going to want to publish this book!” Even a decade later I can remember how thrilled I was.
So now, when I’m a group leader, I always remind my troops that this is a very subjective business. Something that appeals to one person may not appeal to another. All you can do is keep pitching, and revise!