I’ve spotted a trend. It’s about the many authors who have appeared in the Perfect Pitch session at the festival over the years who have had books published since. There’s Lisa Walker and Liar Bird, Fertile FC’s One Got Past The Keeper, Jol and Kate Temple’s Parrot Carrot, Shamus Sillar’s Not Quite Tuscany, and there’s Susanna Freymark who has had some publishing news.
There are others too, so if you know about someone who ‘pitched perfectly’ and has gone on to be published, please add a comment. I hope this trend continues. Last year I was one of the six writers selected for Perfect Pitch. I was terrified beforehand but I soon became more confident after 30-hours of preparation. Of course not everyone needs that. I first had to overcome a fear of public speaking. I took the pressure off by allowing myself to read.
I would do Perfect Pitch all over again. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had on the road to publication. It made me see and present my book as if it was already there. The feedback was incredible. Complete strangers stopped me and told me they loved my pitch. The publishers on the judging panel gave great feedback with two saying I could send them the manuscript.
So what happened about that? Life. And redrafts. The book was supposed to be finished in order to enter the competition, and mine was. Then, a week before the pitch I was telling my hairdresser about it, and she made a comment, and suddenly I was staring down the barrel of a redraft. Since then the redrafting has continued. Then last month there were two title changes in a week, as well as rewrites of the end.
All the while I was being nudged along by brilliant and supportive new, and old, friends, who kept saying, ‘don’t waste your chance’, ‘just send it’. Soon, I kept saying, and kept at it. But life would crop up, and that hungry wolf would appear at the door. He can be difficult to calm, especially when the only work you’ve ever done, or know to do, relates to writing.
It is 51 weeks since I pitched. On Wednesday at 6.35.p.m I finished. I mean, finished, and emailed the book to one of the publishers. The other publisher prefers paper submissions. The publisher replied on Thursday saying, taking longer than expected over a redraft is a good thing as it shows I’ve done some hard yards. My synopsis and first chapter ‘tickled’ their ‘fancy’ and I may hear quickly, “one way or the other”.
I have some insight into how this year’s participants are feeling right now. I will watch Perfect Pitch next weekend with empathy, and immense curiosity, and pleasure. It’s compelling.