SCBWI Agents’ Party – Why it’s worth feeling the fear and doing it anyway

This time last year I was madly practising my elevator pitch for ‘Phoenix Fire’, my middle grade contemporary fantasy, in preparation for the SCBWI Agents’ Party.

And wondering how on earth I was going to stand in front of an agent and actually get the words to come out in a sensible intelligible order! Every time I tried to pitch to my husband I started well enough and then got tied up in knots and seemed to peter out with a lot of sort of…you know… um… well the thing is…

I very nearly decided that launching myself into a room full of fierce looking agents was really not the best idea and I’d be much better off staying at home and reading about how it all went on Twitter.

But I didn’t.

I’m not sure where the resolve to go came from (probably the same little voice that didn’t let me stop writing the book once I’d started). But it reminded me that in the end, what have I got to lose? Nobody knows me there. If I blather or start singing randomly in the middle of my pitch or forget my name or the name of my book then really – so what? At least I’ll have had a go.

The first time I submitted my work I broke every Golden Rule in the book – other than sending it on violet scented notepaper with a photo of my dog and the caption ‘She loves listening to my stories’ – but in the end it didn’t stop me and no one has really held it against me. I just learned some stuff. So I figured even if I do everything I shouldn’t at the Agents’ Party, the bottom line is at least I’ll have learned what not to do – and after all it’s one more step on this learning ladder to getting published.

As it was, I did listen to the little voice cheering me on. I went, I pitched and I’m so glad I did, because the Agents’ Party was a brilliant event. It was packed with useful info, I met some great people to keep in touch with and best of all I met my lovely agent Jo Williamson there. (You can read more on that here and here).

So my advice is: if you’re dithering about whether to go, or are going and are nervous about pitching, or are just hiding under the table hoping no-one will notice until it’s all over – start by listening to that little voice that sometimes gets squished and squashed out of earshot by the noisy naysayer.  The little voice that made you buy the ticket (or almost buy the ticket – because there are a few places left!). Then check out the top tips from the brilliant Words and Pictures team.

And go for it : )

Good luck!

Oh and look out for the lovely Jo Williamson from the Antony Harwood Agency!



Category: Uncategorized | 2 comments

  • Elizabeth Dunn says:

    Singing in the middle of your pitch. Now there’s an idea. Ha ha. Am enjoying your blog and will rush back once I’ve done my morning writing to learn about the great agent meeting. Just love those stories.

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