How easy it was for me to sit, with the sun on my back, and to wait to hear what the Perfect Pitch entrants 2012 would come up with. It was easy for me, this time, just to watch. 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 real life publishers, any one of whom could be the one who loves your book, and may publish your book… In the first moment of panic on stage you can forget that the publishers and audience simply want to hear a about the story you created, and something about the story of you, as someone who created a book, something that remains a wonder and that most people won’t ever do….
Susanna Freymark, who pitched her novel a few years ago was superb in the MC role and Shamus Sillar, another former pitcher, kicked off proceedings.
It sounds like 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, They mentioned they would like to hear more about character motivations, and particularly of the love story.
Kathryn Lyster told us about her epic love story of 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 beautiful pitch from Katherine about her story of epic love dedicated to Sam who took his life weeks after their last kiss.
Feedback from the judges including HarperCollins publishing director Shona Martyn and Meredith Curnow from Vintage said the wonderful characterization gave the story extra poignancy. The judges said to be careful of telling publishers how marketable a story but still asked to speak to her afterwards.
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 an ex-policeman who did grueling, heart-rending work in dark, damp places diving to find bodies. It’s work that would affect anyone profoundly. Anthony is now a psychotherapist for men supporting boys through to manhood. His book describes his journey from dabbling in drugs and prostitutes and his realisation he was ticking off the list of “an unconscious death wish”.
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. They suggested he consider whether he was writing a memoir or guide and that there might be two books in there.
I had heard and could recall clearly a chapter from Sharon Dean’s White Heron read before and had not forgotten it. It is the story of a banana farmer, Janice Bostok, who was also a world-leading writer of haikus. Sharon was enthralled by Bostok’s life, a narrative that included twice marrying her husband, the second time after he had shot himself missing all vital organs. It also describes the pressure Janice was put under to stop her from writing but how she persisted publishing several volumes of haiku and even writing apornographic book set in a nursing home! The judges said it was a lovely pitch in s conversational style and that the wild details Sharon shared in the pitch should definitely be part of the written synopsis. The book emerged as part of a PhD.
The judges mentioned in general terms that books written as PhDs need to be written differently tor trade publishing.
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 for writers as John Marsden mentioned he 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.
The six authors exchanged cards with the publishers, paused to bask in the occasion, before returning to their homes with a new list of things to consider before sending off their finished works to agents and publishers.