Attendees Hope to Pitch at Pitchapalooza
Pitchapalooza attendees who wanted to pitch their book ideas were asked to purchase Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry’s book, “The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published” in order to get their names added to a hat and be entered into a drawing to have a shot at giving their 60-second book pitch.
Out of approximately 120 attendees in a tightly packed space, 60 brave souls dropped their names into the hat, hoping to be chosen.
I, too, had high hopes. I had been working on a book for several months now, enthusiastic about bringing the unpopular topic of faith to the masses with “A Slice of Faith.” I have been adding steadily to my book and experimenting through reader reactions by blogging on Georgetown Patch’s sister site, Mount Vernon Patch.
I worked on a draft of my book pitch and changed it many times, always practicing out loud and stumbling on my words. I posted the final version on my Facebook account and subsequently changed it! I was so excited to recite my pitch. Hopefully.
I sat in the back of the Pitchapalooza area with my two girls, as my husband watched over our clunky stroller and fought to keep the playful shrieks and flinging crumbs to a minimum. And then, the presentation began with an introduction from Politics & Prose co-owner Bradley Graham, and subsequent words from Eckstut and Sterry.
Pitchapalooza Pitches - 60 Seconds to Impress
Immediately after the introductions, the pitches began and the names started getting called. One person was up and another “on deck,” which meant that the person in waiting had a few more minutes to reflect to see whether their book pitch would make an impact on the judges.
The program would last from 7 to 8:30 p.m., a generous hour and a half of letting young and old, prepared and unprepared, fiction and nonfiction presenters throw out their book pitch, with hopes of hitting a homerun.
The presenters faced a panel of four people, including Eckstut and Sterry along with two other book publishing professionals. The judges heard the pitches one-by-one and carefully timed the presenters, loudly sounding the buzzer at the 60-second mark.
Many presenters successfully squeezed in a whirlwind of plot and description into a short 60 seconds; many others had just gotten into the meaty part of their speeches when the buzzer sounded.
One of the first presenters was Julie Flygare, a health writer and sleep advocate who presented a glimpse into her book, “Wide Awake and Dreaming – A Memoir of Narcolepsy.” The subject matters of narcolepsy and cataplexy grabbed the audience and made them captive - doing exactly what proper book pitches are supposed to do.
After pitching, Julie mentioned that she blogged about her condition and experiences in RemRunner, providing more information about running and living with narcolepsy.
The judges were visibly intrigued with this little-known topic and mentioned that it is a given in today’s heavily influenced social media society to have a blog and start building an online audience.
Surprisingly, a few presenters admitted at the podium that they were not prepared. One elderly woman with a strong British accent claimed she stumbled into the event without understanding what the event was about.
She went on to say how she had already been published in England writing about travel adventures. She was now seeking to publish her rhymed poetry about traveling and asked basic questions on how to go about getting published.
The fact that this woman was selected randomly to present a book pitch despite claiming she was unprepared and happened to stumble in perfectly demonstrates the unfairness of life. Things always happen like that and it is up to us to make sense of things and make things right within our frame of thinking.
Another presenter that caught my eye and that of the judges was a tall man with shoulder-length gray hair and a bright yellow shirt. He walked up to the podium and the speaking version of Susan Boyle came out. It’s as if Ryan Seacrest as the radio announcer inhabited this presenter.
This man spoke loudly, clearl, and elegantly. As he carefully yet quickly enunciated each word, he provided a description of a written cartography project containing hundreds of little-known maps belonging to the federal government. The judges responded with a vital clue: “I love unique illustrated books.” This was one of the few non-fiction projects that were pitched.
Read more about about the background of Pitchapalooza in Part 1. Check back in Wednesday for Part 3 of this series.