Baby’s first pitch.

22 May

Yesterday I attended the Colorado Romance Writers mini-conference in nearby Arvada, at a golf club. As part of my day immersed in all things romance-novel writing, I pitched THROWN to a real live editor for the first time!

How this works is, you sign up ahead of time for a pitch appointment, and then you get 10 minutes (which is generous—at some conferences you only get five) to sit at a table with an editor, tell her about your book and hope to pique her interest. My appointment was at 10:10, so at 10:00 I went to the ladies room to primp and run hot water over my (freezing) hands so the editor wouldn’t think she had inadvertently grabbed a dead carp during the greeting handshake. It very much felt like a blind date, especially when I stuffed 42 breath strips into my mouth, nearly burning a hole in my tongue.

The editor was Kristin Sevick from Tor/Macmillan, a house known more for its science fiction than romance, but they certainly publish romance. Kristin was a dream first pitch, friendly and engaging, and I thanked her for making my first time so pleasant (wow, does that sound like I write romance novels, or what?). Even better, she likes horses, so we talked about Brooke and the difficulties of riding in or near New York City.

Happily, she asked for a query, synopsis, and my first three chapters!! Now, I know it’s a staggering long shot that my first pitch to an editor would result in my book getting published. But still, it was nice to be asked. Especially when I looked at the Macmillan website and all the romances seem to have ghosts, werewolves, vampires, demons, time travelers and/or people with special powers. Not sure Amanda, Grady, the horses et al are up to traveling in those circles, but who knows? And hey, if Kristin says, “I love your book, but I can only buy it if you add an alien or make the horses psychic,” I may oblige.

Kristin also taught me the term “math face,” which is the face a person who is actively afraid of math (me–and her) makes when forced to DO math. I thank her for that almost as much as for letting me send her my chapters.

Does anyone else find it interesting that my first pitch for my book was mere yards away from a bar? NOT that I went there for anything stronger than a Coke (cutting down on my Diet Coke consumption, and soda in general, but every now and then…) until after the mini-conference was over.

Speaking of the mini-conference, it was a day of education and inspiration from Harlequin author Kara Lennox, who has written more than 80(!) romance novels. She writes screenplays too, and a lot of her writing techniques are based on screenwriting techniques, which meshed beautifully with how I write, since I do the same thing. I got lots of tips on writing, as well as query letters, finding agents and the business of writing. Plus she was funny, which always helps.

AND I found out about the Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest because they posted the results on their website. I came in third, which ain’t bad for the first contest I’ve ever entered. It was a little disheartening to see how judges asked some of the other entrants for “fulls” (full manuscripts), but that just gives me something to strive for. Congrats to Katherine Lowry Logan and Virginia McCullough, who took first and second respectively in the Contemporary Single Title category.

Today, all I want to do is write, but I must go see Brooke (who was neglected yesterday) and do something about the rain forest that is taking over my backyard. I’ll get SOME writing in, but right about now, boy I wish I had servants. Any takers?

Thanks for reading and for your support!


  1. Marie Sexton Says:

    It was great meeting you at the mini-conference, and good luck with the submission to Kristin!

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