One of the best, recurring, and amazing benefits of membership in a local Romance Writers of America chapter is the opportunity to pitch to agents and editors. In the last three years, the chance to sell my work had happened four times! Only once did I take advantage of it, with my Regency Romance about a governess.
That story hasn’t had a happily ever after ending yet, but I am not giving up. Still, I feel obliged to get the second book in Regency Banquet published before I spend too much time on other works. So I didn’t even plan to pitch to the current agent who was to speak at our meeting in April. What could I pitch?
Ideas I got lots of. But finished product? I have the governess story which needs rewriting and Book Two that is kind of short. I didn’t mind sitting out the pitches this time.
The night before the meeting, one of the amazing people in the group found out she had a contagious condition, one people who have small children frequently encounter. And she offered the spot to pitch to me. Yikes! How could I say no?
I had no idea how to pitch the second book, but it can stand alone and it is almost 40,000 words. So I went forward to my pitch appointment.
Did I mention the purple hair? Yeah, I am enjoying the fact I don’t have to hold down a job these days, and doing fun things like losing weight and dying my hair purple. Not sure how that will sit with other agents, but Kevan Lyon of Marshall and Lyon Literary Agency batted not an eye. It might have helped that she saw me in the first half of the meeting, so I didn’t come as a complete surprise.
If you ever get the chance to pitch to Ms. Lyon, do so. I felt so completely comfortable with her that I managed to not babble too much. We talked about my book as if it were 40K words and as if she could sell it if I could flesh it out to about 60K. We talked about the heat level, since I am writing erotic romance, and she suggested I look at the guidelines for submissions on a couple publishers’ sites. Best of all, she told me not to hurry with updating the story, to send it to her whenever I had it ready. Wow, that’s an amazing relief for a writer to hear.
In the final chapter, I don’t think I can get the second book up to the level Ms. Lyon needs it to be. I have pretty much decided to go forward with self publishing it this summer. But her input has certainly made it easy for me to go back over the story and make it stronger.
Some day, I hope to have a real book that I can pitch to her and actually have it ready to go. As far as I know, no agents at our meetings have ever said not to send the books pitched to them to their attention. The thing is, can they sell the book after you put in what is needed by their standards, or are you investing time where it’s not going to do any good anyway? It’s a call we all have to make some times. And I have made my call.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.