The most humiliating thing happened. I was chatting with Steve Meltzer (very senior editor at Dial) at the NJ SCBWI conference and he asked me what picture books I was shopping.
Uh... I have one about a girl and her doll and they pretend all the time. It's about imagination really and her brother keeps trying to steal her doll, but she keeps rescuing her, and .... well, really it's about sibling rivalry, but.. there is a lot of imaginary play, and... in the end, the doll goes missing, and the brother rescues her. Um, well.. it's a lot better than it sounds!
Could anything be more embarrassing.
Lessons to learn from this?
(1) Always have a pitch ready. I was not attending any pitch sessions, so I did not prepare anything. Plus, I have an agent, so I am not really attending conferences to pitch my work. I am there to just make connections and build relationships. But I should have had one ready just in case!
(2) Make sure your story has a strong hook. Even though this particular story has some universal themes and may appeal to a lot of people, I realized (in the midst of my stammering and stuttering, stumbling and bumbling) "This story is never going to sell!"
If I can't pitch it to an editor, how will an editor pitch it to a sales and marketing team?
Compare it to .. oh, say THREE NINJA PIGS: The three pigs get fed up with the big bad wolf and go to ninja school!
Sounds so much more appealing!
Do you have a good one line pitch for your story?