Friday, August 12, 2011

A coward no more! (I hope.)

I had a marvelous time at the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles last week. I was able to hang out with friends from Chautauqua, the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, and my too-cool-for-school mentor Harold Underdown.

I had no trouble repeatedly walking through the lobby of a swanky LA hotel dressed as a monkey. (---->)

And yet, I have been an abject coward, because I really don't like to talk about my book.

When asked, I said that I wrote YA. (Which is only a little more specific than saying I write for children.) When pressed, I said it was a fairy tale adaptation. (Which is kind of true, but not really.) The truth is, I don't like to tell folks what my book is about because I am afraid.

I'm afraid I won't explain it clearly and concisely.

I'm afraid someone won't like it if I do manage to be clear and concise.

I'm afraid.

That fear is one reason why I gave the worst elevator non-pitch to an agent, ever.*

So I have resolved that by Sunday I will have written out my story in four sentences or less. Doesn't matter whether I call the description a pitch, a hook, a log line, or give it a Dickensian name like Estoria Quattlebush. From Sunday on, whenever someone asks what my story is about...

I. Will. Tell. Them.

How about you? Is it easy for you to talk about your story? Hard? I'd love tips for making it easier or stories that make me feel better about myself.

* He made small talk about staying on the floor right under the penthouses. I said the first thing that came to mind: "But you'd be the first to die if we had a fire." He had a funny expression on his face the next time he saw me. I don't blame him.


Matthew MacNish said...

It took me two years before I could summarize my novel in a high-concept two sentence pitch. And I'm still not done revising. Or with my query. Or my synopsis.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

A pitch is hard, hard, hard to write. Kudos (and cupcakes) to you for tackling it, Monkey Sister!! :)

Sarah said...

Thanks, Matthew. I don't feel so bad now.

Pitches are hard to write, but I can't make it better if I don't start using it! I'm determined to jump in. Maybe the monkey hat will help, Amy.

Michelle said...

I wouldn't have called you a coward before. Just a bit modest. :)

Sarah said...

A modest coward, Michelle. : )

Elizabeth said...

Nice blog....cute picture.

Stop by my blog if you like for an e-book giveaway and many newest being a review of THE WICKED WIVES.



Nora MacFarlane said...

Pitches are hard, you modest coward! :)