I attended a class today on how to pitch my book, taught by the charismatic Jon Land. Afterwards, I parked my ass on a bench in the hall as the crowd of desperate aspiring authors drowned him in questions.
I watched. I listened. I read his lips over the noise.
He met my eyes. I stared right back.
“Did you want to ask me something?” he asked over the ebb and flow of voices.
Shit. I probably shouldn’t have been staring. “Umm. Maybe, when the crowd clears.” I replied.
“It’s clear now,” he said and waved the hoverers away.
“Oh.” I stood and walked over. “I’d like to pitch my book to you,” I said.
He nodded. The hoverers hovered. I pitched.
“Whoa,” he replied. A heartbeart. Two. “Whoa.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Is that whoa good? Or whoa bad?”
“No, no,” he said. “It’s good. Give it to me again.”
“Feels like I Am Legend meets Children of Men.”
I sighed. Yeah, heard that before. “Inspirations maybe,” I said. “But it’s more.”
“Well, you have ghost children,” he said. “Give it to me again.”
I did. Two more times.
“Your pitch is perfect,” he finally said. “Don’t change it. And what you’re selling is a Paranormal Thriller. Make sure you pitch that up front. And find me if you have any questions.”
That night, my CC buddy and I cozied up to the hotel bar.
“You with the conference?” a voice asked from behind us.
“Yes,” we replied.
“Where’s your badge?” the curly haired man asked. I’d never seen him before and he was asking me. My buddy was still donning hers.
I shrugged. “Conference is over.”
“You should wear it,” he said, “and mingle.”
I turned back to my gin and tonic, shoulders aching with the weight of the day. “Sounds like a good job for you.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed my buddy shaking her head, pointing to his badge and mouthing, “Michael Palmer.”
Shit. I probably should’ve done my research on attending authors, huh?
I smiled and fell back on what I was good at. I gave him shit for the next thirty minutes (ie I teased him about his obsession with rhinos of all things and suggested a tattoo design for his bicep). Very funny, personable guy. He’s got stories to tell. By the end of the conversation, I was asking him for parental advice.
Someone he was traveling with tapped him on the shoulder.
“I’ve got this private party thing down the street,” he said. “Come with.”
I nodded and my buddy shook her head. We followed him out.
One cigarette later and my senses came to. I shook his hand. “Thanks for the invite, Michael Palmer. It was really nice to meet you.”
I lit another cigarette and watched him walk away.
Next to me, Heather Graham lit one too. I’d met her earlier in the day. Very cool chick.
So, what my writer friends want to know is: Are these cons worthwhile? Well, the classes taught things I’d already learned from CC. But the networking could be invaluable if you’re willing to stare someone down in the hallway, make an ass of yourself in a bar, or acquire a nicotine addiction. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my time.