How easy it was for me to sit, the sun on my back, and to wait to hear what the Perfect Pitch entrants would come up with. It was easy for me, this time. Last year I stood there with five others. When it’s you standing up talking about this book that you have poured your heart and your work and your belief into, and when you are confronted not only by an audience but living breathing publishers any one of whom could be the one who sees you, and likes you, and loves your book, and may publish your book… well that part is not easy. And yet it is. It’s a beautifully simple moment where you can share the book that you alone made in all those quiet moments strung together into a productive whole. In the first moment of panic on stage you forget that the people sitting there, including the publishers on the panel and in the audience, simply want to hear a story. They want to hear about the story you created, and they want to hear something of the story of you, as someone who created a book, something that remains a wonder and that most people won’t ever do.
And so we in the audience watch and waited…
It seems Christopher Dewhirst has written a rollicking crime thriller, Fractured set in Shanghai and Casino and many places in between. Chris received very positive feedback from the panel of three judges to say there was lots of detail in his pitch about the story plot, and they would like to hear more about character motivations, and particularly of the love story.
Kathryn Lyster told her story of young lovers Rip and Sahara torn apart when Sahara left Byron for Sydney. It is a story of love, and longing and loss, and none of us was in any doubt that Kathryn spoke from the heart. The judges said the wonderful characterization gave the story extra poignancy.
David Roland’s book, “How I rescued my brain” was a firm favourite with the judges, who described him as a confident performer.
One of the judges spoke of “soundlessness of the first chapter as being amazing.” The judges said they could clearly see where the book is going. David said he would be finishing the book in eight months. He received a clear signal to continue his work on just as he has been going until now.
Anthony Brown is ex-policeman and now a psychotherapist for men supporting boys through to manhood. A former policeman, Anthony’s book describes his journey from dabbling in drugs and prostitutes and ticking off the list of “an unconscious death wish”.
He was doing grueling, heart-rending work in dark, damp places diving to find bodies. It’s work that would affect anyone profoundly.
“Diving beneath the mask ‘ will be a part memoir, and part guide of what to do, and what not to do, from a ‘macho cop’ using reiki and crystal as his weapons of choice. The judges said it was a fantastic pitch, and that their could be two books here maybe go for simpler idea not too much in one book
I had heard a chapter from Sharon Dean’s White Heron read before and had not forgotten it. It is the story of a banana farmer, Janice Bostock, who was also a world leading writer of haikus. Sharon was enthralled by Bostock’s life, a narrative that included twice marrying her husband, the second time after he had shot himself missing all vital organs, and surviving the pressure Janice was put under in stop her from writing but she persisted publishing several volumes of haiku and even writing a pornographic book set in a nursing home! The judges said it was a lovely pitch in s conversational style and that the wild details should definitely be part of the written synopsis. The judges said they wanted stories for trade publishing and that whether something was part of a PhD was of no relevance to them and would have to be written differently tor them.
Julia Prendergast impressed the judges and the audience with her quiet presence and the fact that she has written a book that sounds powerful yet disturbing. It also impressed us all that she had done so amid a busy family life with six children. It must be a good number of children, as John Marsden mentioned at a panel that has six children. Julia Prendergast’s novel is complete and the story about Chelsea who is on a quest to save her mother. The judges felt Julia’s book is brave and complex and said they would like her to “Tell us more about the story and sell it to us.” It was dark and interesting, they said.
There was a palpable sense of relief from the six authors as the session finished. The authors exchanged cards with the publishers before they could bask in the occasion before returning to their homes to add a whole new list of things to consider before sending off their finished works to agents and publishers.
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