I woke on the bathroom floor. I had closed my eyes only for a few minutes. Or six hours.
I ventured from the bathroom and discovered it light outside. Fantastic. Luckily, Billie (my roomie and one of the Apocalyptic 4) hadn’t needed to use the bathroom during the night. Otherwise, she would’ve tripped over my body and probably shrieked thinking I was dead (either that or panicking and deciding to dissolve my body in the tub with some HCl).
Either way, it was going to be a busy day. Unfortunately, my brain was still on the bathroom floor. It didn’t leave the bathroom floor the whole day.
Really, the first thing I remember is talking to Eileen down on the 11th floor. Boxed wine will do that to you. I had a panel at 1pm. We were going over some of the talking points. We only had 20 minutes to get our stuff together.
Susan MacGregor, who was also feeling the effects of boxed wine, told us that Sheila Gilbert of Daw books was taking book pitches. Though I was in no shape for human contact, let alone a pitch, this was simply too good of an opportunity to pass up.
While waiting, ran into Karen Dudley, a mystery writer whom I had met previously at Aqua Books in Winnipeg. She had done a fabulous reading there so it was nice to catch up. She asked if I had had lunch yet. Nope. ‘Great, lets grab something after our pitches.’ Fabulous. I’m not doing anything, right?
Just before me was Chadwick Ginther, the book buyer/guru for McNallys. This guy knows his stuff. I saw business cards being exchanged and so that was excellent for him.
Now it’s my turn. I introduced myself (so far so good) then immediately went into my pitch to Sheila.
“It’s about a guy…” (anyone who has done a pitch, knows that those are the worst words EVER). I fumbled, tripped, and stumbled. Luckily, Sheila was generous and when I said ‘sorry, my brain isn’t functioning’ she allowed me to read my pitch . So I read it (which is also a big no-no).
She said nothing so I assumed she wanted more and I decided to fill in the blanks.
“It’s about a guy who, wait, there’s a sword. And then this giant who jumps off a tower. Hold on, I screwed that up. So then the snake bites him, because he’s afraid of heights, and when the wagon crashes… I mentioned the shark, right? Let me start over…” This went on for five hours (or three minutes, but I’m pretty sure it was at least three hours).
After flailing for so long, I finally end it with ‘so would that be interested in something you’d like to see’? (I think at this point I was already packing my stuff to excuse myself) but she said ‘You had me with your copy pitch. I just wondered what else you had.”
Right. My own ineptitude couldn’t sink me! So she asked to see the completed manuscript in three weeks. Score!
Hmmm, I’m free now. It’s 1pm. Do I have anything planned? Nope. Free. I’ll just wander downstairs and hang out for a while until Karen’s free for lunch.
So I did. Hung out for a while. Tried to recharge, feeling positive about my tiny victory. Really just waiting around until Karen gets out of her pitch session.
Am I supposed to be doing something right now? Nope, couldn’t be.
I’ll just poke my head into this room and see what the panel is.
Crap, it’s my panel. And I’m late. The panel? Time Management. Yeah. So Eileen spots me, calls me over. I sit and quite honestly, Billie says ‘So what can you add’? Are you kidding me? I can’t string two coherent words together, the panel is 15 minutes in…and…what was the question again?
Crap, Karen is waiting for me for lunch.
So I excuse myself from my own panel (I have to get some water…but there’s water right here…ummm, fresh water) to tell Karen Dudley that I can’t make it. And run into Rob Sawyer and his gang who want to talk about the pitch from before.
“Sorry guys, I’m in the middle of a panel.”
“Like right now.”
Sigh. So I finish off the panel.
Next up – the latest incarnation of the Apocalyptic Four meets with our publisher (Brian Hades). He was interested in taking a look – so that’s good news. Had to excuse myself early, however.
When writers are making outlines, often we put stuff down like ‘action happens here’ or more famously ‘stuff happens.’ Well, for the next four hours, ‘stuff happens’. I’m supposed to be a in a Read-Off but my story wasn’t finished (too bad, it was cool) so I had to skip. Then I was going to watch Eileen but they had 27 people read at 5 minutes each. I was in no condition for that. (The good news is that Eileen came 2nd and a publisher approached her after asking if she had anything longer completed. Excellent news!)
I went to dinner with Robert Sawyer, Virginia O’Dine, Hayden Trenholm, Liz Trenholm, Chadwick Ginther, Karen Dudley, and Karl Johanson.
More stuff happened. I call it an early night because Sunday was the Aurora’s. I’ll take it easy…recharge…recycle…reuse (or whatever). In fact, I started sucking other people’s energy. Eileen, standing next to me, looked at me and said ‘You’re draining energy from the room’. Nice. Thank you, Eileen (she then took two steps back).
Saturday ended up a huge positive. Successful pitch to New York publisher, successful pitch to current publisher, and I learned a thing or two about Time Management.
I see you took a few lessons from me. That’s more or less how I pitch, without having slept on the bathroom floor the night before. Glad it helped.