I made it to Lit Fest! Given my work schedule and the threatening thunderstorms, it was not a sure thing. I missed several readings/panels/ workshops that I had on my to-do list, but I got there just in time for Pitchapalooza, which was surprisingly educational.
Pitchapalooza’s premise: Authors sign up to do a 90-second pitch at the microphone in front of Book Doctors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. They critique your pitch. About 20 people did this Sunday, and one lucky pitcher got an intro to an agent.
First things first: According to Eckstut and Sterry, not one of the pitchers had a bad premise or an unpromising story. So, everybody’s got talent.
Second: Listening to pitches really helps you craft your own pitch. I heard several people make the mistake of giving the whole backstory. I want to do that – my main character is fascinating! Others gave the names of all the characters in the book. Clearly not necessary for pitching purposes. Plus, don’t give away the whole plot in the pitch. (But the ending is the reason why my book has the title it does! I have to explain it! No, I don’t.)
Third: The world – or at least Chicago – is full of people who think their own life story is totally worth reading about. One woman overcame breast cancer and a bad boyfriend. Another was falsely accused of a crime. (Or was he guilty? not sure.) Someone else was homeless and now she lives in an awesome apartment on Lakeshore Drive. But I have to admit: all three of these stories could be interesting, if they were written well.
Last: The Book Doctors are in it for the cash. Buy their book, you get an appointment to consult with them. At which time, you will probably be offered the opportunity to become a Book Doctor client. On the other hand, the book actually looked pretty helpful. So I bought it. At full price. You, on the other hand, can get it at Amazon at a discount.
While at the Fest, I took the opportunity to while away an hour at Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, where I did my part to support the indies by spending $63.47. Among my purchases: Julia Keller’s debut mystery A Killing in the Hills, Janet Groth’s memoir The Receptionist, and Seth Godin’s Watcha Gonna Do With That Duck? So more good stuff to come.