Monday, October 4, 2010

Pitch or Be Pitched Out

Last Tuesday, I went to a seminar on, “Successful Pitching”, taught by Molli Nickell. Oh,my, lions, tigers, and bears! Flying monkeys, too!

Before we received our execution notice we were allowed to eat dinner. I chose tilapia for my last meal and digested it while I chattered with other nervous-nillies. Someone came around with a bowl of numbers so we could blindly pick one. I picked number two. This wasn’t going to be good.

Not long after, Molli introduced herself(she resembled Glenda the Good Witch) and passed out a sheet of questions(the Wicked Witch of the West had to be around somewhere). We were told to work on our pitch, and she left the room. Oh, no, Toto!

My Dyslexia button got pushed, and the angsting began. Shivers went up and down my spine. Pretty pink butterflies flitted through tunnels in my stomach(the tunnels are real to me, they do exist, you know). My forehead glistened with what-the-hell-does-this-mean, and my pen went to scribbling, and crossing out stuff(too much stuff). I looked under the table and around the room for the Wicked Witch and the flying monkeys. This had to be their doings, not mine.

When Molli returned to the room she asked, “Are you ready to pitch?”
Flying monkeys, no! But the hour had come (where’s the Wizard when you need him). I didn’t have a clue where to begin. Too much information covered two pages. My insides knew it and I needed my Ruby Slippers, but I couldn’t find them.

She called the first lady to pitch. My pink butterflies danced with joy. One got caught in my throat while I watched contestant number one be tortured. Poor lady, she lost her focus. She couldn’t get past a minor character in her novel and the crickets sang. Her ten minutes were up(that’s all the time you get to verbally pitch your novel, TEN MINUTES, for real).

“Number two,” Molli said, looking around the room.

Yup! That was me. I looked around the room and under the table again for the Wicked Witch and the Flying Monkeys. I didn’t see them, but their presence was there.

On the way up to the torture arena, Molli said, “Breathe,and think about your shoes.”

What? My Ruby Slippers…can’t find them.

I about hyperventilated, and couldn’t get my thoughts passed my tingly thighs, and my numb knees on the way to the torture destination. When I got to the table where she sat, she extended her hand to me, and we played introductions before my knees buckled and I collapsed in a chair.

“Breathe,” she said again.

I did.

“Now, tell me about your story.”

I big smile stretched across my face(SMILE when brain failure occurs). When that didn’t work, I looked over Molli’s shoulder(a technique used when you’re trying to revive your brain-sometimes it works).

“Look at me, and tell me about your main character,” she said.

I did and said, “Lila is an eighteen year old girl….” The room closed in on me and my mind went blank. The crickets sang, and it was over.

In conclusion, if you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of potential publishers and agents I suggest checking out Molli’s site,, and practice, practice, practice. And if, you still don’t get it, focus on your main character, and the main points of the story pertaining to that character.

In about three weeks, I’ll be pitching in person to a publisher,and will blog about that. Hopefully, I’ll have the Wizard, the Good Witch, my three friends, and my Ruby Slippers available to me.


  1. WOW! Love the way you descibed it! I can't wait to hear what happens next. I can only imagine fumbling my words. A little technique I learned when I used to do corporate training is to press your thumb and finger together at your side while you're talking. Concentrate on that and it will relieve some anxiety and allow you to speak and not fidget... an outlet for your energy.

  2. And think "OMMMMMM"...right?

    Thanks for the advice,



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