Pitching For The Terrified. First Impressions.



All right.  It’s time to talk pitches.  I am qualified to write on this subject because  last week when I gave my first pitch, I had absolutely no idea what a pitch even was.  How does that qualify me, you ask?   I’m going to discuss Pitching for the Terrified, Mercedes Style.  What does that mean?  It means that if I can do it, you can definitely do it.

When I showed up outside the pitch room at KillerCon, I was just there for moral support.  Ain’t no WAY that I was going to pitch!  Is my book ready?  Yes.  Am I searching for an agent?  Of course.  So why wasn’t I pitching?  There are two main reasons for this: a) I’m a pansy b) I was unprepared.

Back when my husband and I were cute little babyfaced newlyweds, his marketing club partner had to back out of The Big Project.  The Big Project meant that they went to a competition at Disneyland and marketed imaginary things for a prize.  But if the partner couldn’t do it, what was my sweet husband to do?!

Get a new partner.  Me.

Did I know the first thing about marketing?  Not at all!  But I had a business suit, an unfortunately severe haircut, and a background in theatre.  I decided to fake it, and we actually made the top ten at Nationals.  (I know, right?)  And who knows how much farther we could have gone, but we dropped out of the competition so that I could walk at my college graduation.  Plus we were tired of Disneyland.

But I digress.

The thing that I learned at the Marketing competition was that appearance counts for a lot.  You can be so freaked out that you’re ready to rabbit right out of there, and that’s okay…just as long as they don’t realize it.  So straighten up.  Walk tall.  Hold out your hand, smile, and introduce yourself.  It doesn’t matter if you’re sweating bullets or feel like you’re going to fall over like a fainting goat.  Fake it ’til you make it.  When I get nervous, I get those uncomfortably moist palms.  Before pitching, I held a cold soft drink can in both hands to de-clammify me.  No joke.  So when I went in to shake hands, I knew that they would be cool and not yick-inducing.

The first woman that I pitched told me that she was impressed that I walked in calmly (faking!) and introduced myself.  It doesn’t happen as often as you’d think, apparently.  Impressions count.  In my next Pitching for the Terrified, I’ll tell you what this woman told me about pitching.  It was awesome, awesome advice. 

Ack, I just reread this and I’m afraid that I’m coming off like a know-it-all.  Geez, as if!  But pitching is scary, and I survived it, and hopefully the things I learned can help all of us.  Yay!

0 Comments on “Pitching For The Terrified. First Impressions.”

  1. I’m really impressed…and I’ll listen to your “know it all” opinions any day of the week. Public speaking scares the crap out of me. I would be the ‘fainting goat’ for sure!

  2. Thanks, Aaron! She had some great things to say, and that really helped my pitch a LOT.

    Cate, I always find one hidden way to de-stress. I’ll curl my toes, usually. I can keep a straight face, but my toes are curled like crazy. Or if I can’t do that (open toed shoes, for example), I’ll touch the underside of the ring on my left thumb. Bizarre, I know, but it’s discreet and grounding.

    Alan, I asked my husband if I sounded pompous, and he said anybody that uses the words “sweaty palms” and “yay!” in a post can’t possibly sound like a know-it-all. 😉

  3. Merc,
    Absolute killer idea to hold the can in your hand! Nice, honest advice here to be proud of. Thanks. Can’t wait to read the rest. Do you have advice on query letters?


  4. Hey Jenn,

    Do you still want a post of query letters? Like pitching, I can write a post on it because I was good and terrified…which was awesome because I received a lot of great advice.

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