Pitch Perfect by Kristin A. Oakley | Apr 12, 2019 

Last Saturday at Madison’s Concourse Hotel during UW-Madison Writers’ Institute, Bill Conner and I pitched our creative non-fiction book Abbey’s Ride for Life – The Bike Ride That Saved 240,000 Lives, Plus 1.

If you’ve ever had a job interview, then you have a small inkling of what it’s like to pitch your book to an agent. There’s the pressure of proving you have what they need and of knowing why you’re a good fit for the job, plus the stress of success —  if you get the job, your life will change.

But when you pitch to an agent, you’re also pitching your book — a 300-page story you’re passionate about and have spent years writing, workshopping, editing, and re-writing. And you only have 8 minutes to hook the agent.

I’d pitched both Carpe Diem, Illinois and The Devil Particle to agents before including two of the agents Bill and I would see that day, so I wasn’t nervous. But I was feeling the pressure. This was Bill’s book — if I screwed it up, I’d be letting him down.

Before Bill arrived, I’d had a full day of helping writers practice their pitches, running the Book Signing and Selling Event, and participating on a panel discussion about marketing. I wasn’t as tired as I thought I’d be, but I was worried how Bill would handle being thrown into this crazy literary world.

I had some time to relax so I bought a Diet Coke at the bar and sat in the comfortable hotel lobby waiting for Bill’s 4:45 p.m. arrival. Within minutes, Bill texted me he’d had a flat, but was hopeful he’d make it in time. Then he texted: “Just kidding” and walked into the hotel lobby. Honestly, that was the best thing he could have done. I knew I didn’t have to worry about him.

READ THE REST OF THE POST to get the scoop about pitching an agent.

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