Let’s talk Pitchapolooza

It was a last minute decision on my part to sign up.  Names were drawn from a box in lottery fashion.  The odds of my participation dwindled with each passing name called. The panel?  David Henry SterryMichelle Brower and Arielle Eckstut.

First up?  My fellow fantastic Broad, Diane.  Each Broad clapped and cheered their support.  After the initial shock of being first to bat, she revealed her star quality.  Clearly enunciated, she showed the panel the length and breadth of her vision. In other words – she rocked!

An eloquent gentleman, Kevin Hanrahan, won the Pitchapolooza with his pitch about working military dogs and their handlers in Afghanistan.  There was plenty of sniffling.  He gets an introduction to an agent or publisher.  After hearing his pitch, I could only agree with the decision.

We heard polished and not so polished pitches.  I credit each person who pitched with being confident in their writing. The panelists were generous with their feedback and encouragement.

During this entire time, I’m madly taking notes, scribbling corrections to my own pitch, and hoping to be chosen.  Sure, if I were to be called, I’d suck.

Really, really suck.

Time was dwindling, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to pitch.  My barely legible pitch was tucked back into my bag.  Arielle Eckstut announces they had time for one more name.  Each heartbeat marked the seconds between the announcement and the name.

‘Leila Gaskin’

I’m pretty sure that I looked as stunned as I felt.  ‘Oh crap!’ was my first thought as I dived for my edited pitch.  My Broads cheered and clapped.

I had 60 seconds to make an impression.  I consciously made sure my knees were unlocked.  Passing out was not on the agenda.

I don’t remember much about my actual reading, but I know that I made the panel laugh.

I received great feedback about adjusting my title, emphasizing what makes my character stand out from the sea of Urban Fantasy, and a confirmation that one of the agents would be interested in my query once I’d massaged somethings.

I trembled as I sat back down.

The lesson I took away from this experience is to hone, practice and live your project.  60 seconds can make an impression.



  • Intense! Thanks for sharing and being so open and honest about your pitching journey. It was enough to make me start seriously considering mine.

    • Thanks for stopping by. The experience was worth its weight in gold.

  • Wonderful post Leila. I thought you did a terrific job in an extremely stressful situation. I hijacked your post for my FB site! Hope you don’t mind.

    • Not at all. I can’t wait to see your project come to fruition. I love dogs (pit bulls are my babies). The Military Working Dogs are amazing!

  • *Waves at Kevin*

    Leila … Um. SHowed my star quality? Did you have your EYES closed, my dear friend? Or is your bias JUST that bad? Hee. I was a mess, and you know it. But I don’t mind. I got good feedback, and plan to use it.

    You should see the notes I wrote while my hands were shaking, writing down what they had to say. Oh my, hilarious!

    • I stick by my opinion of your stellar performance! 🙂

  • great post Leila. and you have great publicity starting already — dragon, menopause ……
    hasn’t it been tweeted everywhere already? 😉

    And Diane, you always look so good that’s half the battle. 😉
    [and yes, I still want your jewelry ;-D]

    *** waves to Kevin also ****

    • Thank you travel goddess of all things!

  • Pingback: Spamming Inspiration « Write Am I

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