I’ve always had a fear of public speaking so naturally I entered the Perfect Pitch.
What I was thinking of? Pitch Perfect was session where six writers were selected to talk about their manuscripts for five minutes. It means putting your work and your ideas right out there.
I was still nervous when it came time yesterday to pitch my novel, The Search Engine. I hadn’t slept well and had been busy with the blogging team but had a good support team of friends. That helps. The public speaking book and visualizations I had done helped as well. It felt a bit like going in for an operation. You have to take a deep breath and know it will be better when it’s over. I watched all the previous pitchers first – Annette Kendall with her Lost in Kakadu novel from which she read. (The judges said they hoped everyone had selected something to read. Tick.)
I watched Marissa Treichel with her excellent sounding parenting book, and Annette Marfording with her fascinating idea for an anthology of her Australian writers’ radio interviews and Sue Vader with her book that sets out a magical connection with David Boyd and his family, and Francis Dundovic-Cloake and her Sarajevo tale following me.
The judges, publishers Louise Thurtell of Allen and Unwin, Penny Hueston of Text Publishing, and John Hunter of University of Queensland Press made excellent and helpful comments.
As I began, I started to read my notes but looking up and smiling when I could, seeing many familiar faces. The crowd laughed mostly when I hoped they might, and then something happened. I started to enjoy it.
I’m sure this was because of the preparation – years on the book, and weeks, and hours on the pitch. The feedback from the publishers was positive with them identifying a couple of points in my pitch. I should more closely define my market and not mention any rejections.
Now I must go home and polish my manuscript for submission.