There are days I could just pinch myself. Last week held four of those days right in a row.
The intoxicating aroma of books, and being in the company of writers of said books had me souring to new levels. The adrenaline high caused from being around so many amazing people fed my social-hungry soul. My mind is still in a fog from the wealth of information swimming in it, although my energy level crashed and burned already.
These four days were spent at the Montrose Christian Writer’s Conference, where seventy other writers, authors and aspiring authors gathered with one common goal: to learn and get their works published! Boy, did I achieve the first half with flying colors!! WOW! After last week, I know how to market better, research more effectively, write cleaner, start my novel with more of a punch, appeal to more agents, and make a perfect pitch!
If you follow me on any social media, then you’ve already heard a little bit about this said pitch. We were tasked to create an “elevator pitch” to present to a panel of three judges (two agents & one acquisitions editor). They judged us on presentation, hitting all the needed points, holding their attention, etc.
What is an elevator pitch? Well, it’s a proposal delivered in about one minute. It must be concise, have a compelling hook, and identify a target audience. It’s quite the challenge to create! My friends and I obsessed over ours up until the last second.
Twelve of us presented our works, and the competition was fierce! There were fantasy writers, non-fiction, children’s books, historical fiction, and someone even presented theirs in the form of an original song!
I presented second to last. I knew that this was a make-it, or break-it, moment. Here was my result:
A serial killer is on the loose, terrorizing an old Pennsylvania town, when an aspiring pub singer finds herself entangled in the killer’s sights and a filthy past threatens to destroy everything she thought was true.
She discovers the hanged body of her brother, the victim of this killer who targets those with dark secrets and strings them up like Judas.
My adult psychological novel, The Judas Killer, reveals Loralie’s search for trust and truth in a world consumed in deception. Is she fated to become the very evil she is running from?
My tone came out creepy and powerful. It wasn’t presented in the most colorful way, but I gave it every ounce of drama background in my soul. I sat down with confidence in my work, and thought there might be a slim chance I could make third place. One could dream.
They started calling the winners. My best friend, Alison, placed in third. We cheered for joy!
Second place went to the talented girl who wrote the song. I thought there had to be a mistake because I thought she would win. Who could possibly place first now? Perhaps the children’s book writer with the catchy phrases, or the writers who dressed as their characters, or the teen writer who had my wanting her book, or…
“The winner is Laura Kudey!”
My jaw dropped to the floor. This moment was real no matter how many times I pinched myself.
Earlier in the week I had met with a highly esteemed Christian agent named Bob Hostetler. He was one of several one-on-one critiques I took advantage of during my conference week. During my fifteen-minutes with Bob I got the sense he just didn’t get me or my work. He gave me amazing advice about upping my word count, simplifying my genre, and fine-tuning my writing, but he didn’t seem interested in representing me. At the time, I walked away defeated because I had high hopes of working with him.
However, after this pitch night (where he was one of the judges) I had a chance to ask him if my pitch made him want to represent me. He enthusiastically answered yes, most definitely! He then proceeded to give me valuable advice in writing my proposal, and marketing myself. He encouraged me to try selling my book to the general market, but if I decide to sell to the christian fiction market he’ll be my first choice. Another pinch-able moment.
My favorite person though of the week is an exceptional editor named Kathy Ide.
She and I had an instant bond and chemistry! She understands my voice, is absolutely intrigued with the opening lines of my book, and with her help will provide a pathway for my book getting published! You’re going to hear a lot more about her in the future because I’m hiring her to make “The Judas Killer” shine! She’s also trying to get me to come out to California to attend one of the writer’s conferences she directs out there. With God’s guidance, it might just happen… Pinch me please!
The week crammed in multiple classes with an over-whelming amount of advice and information. Some of my favorite classes were taught by the lovely Cindy Sproles:
She also wants my book for the publishing company she works for!! Unfortunately, this company might not meet my needs, but I’m still overjoyed and flattered. 🙂
The best take-away from this incredible week though are the multiple writer friends I made and the relationships that became even stronger. Love these girls!!
As great as this week was, I also learned how much more work I need to do before my book is ready. I still have a long, hard road ahead which includes adding another 15,000+ words (yow!), and going through two editors. Unfortunately, my second editor (Kathy Ide) is booked six months out. This means I can’t even search for my agent until spring. I have my work cut out for me, but my future is growing brighter! This journey might take longer than I original imagined, but my next pinch-able moment will be here before I know it. 😉