Speaking this weekend – Pitching 101

This Saturday, I’ll be speaking at the MORWA chapter meeting on pitching at conference. I really need to get a savvy title for my pitching talk on par with the “Selling the Hard Sell” or “Page 1, 5, 50 – Keeping Them Hooked” title.

I was asked to do this talk after doing an informal coffee talk last year for the chapter on pitching. Here was my interview:

Kim: “Hey, you’ve pitched at conference, right?”
Jeannie: “Umm, twice?”
Kim: “Can you talk about it?”
Jeannie: “Okay.”

Kim is Kimberly Killion, our chapter president, who couldn’t do the talk herself because, well, she had to be president at the same time. I’m only vice-president. My job is pretty easy. I take notes and get flowers to celebrate first sales and accomplishments. And I soothe ruffled feathers if there happen to be any. I also have signing power on the checkbook should the treasurer be out of town.

This weekend, the informal talk is morphing into a one hour formal workshop. At first I thought it was odd that I was actually doing a talk on pitching because I was shaking like mad when I first pitched. I had gone to Nationals twice before attempting to pitch and everyone always seemed so nervous and keyed up. It’s a boiler room atmosphere down in the pitch room, really.

Kind of funny, but I remember checking out a book in high school from the library titled, “How to Talk to People”, because I was morbidly shy. More funny stuff – my first job out of college was a speaking job as a technical trainer.  After a few years in technology, I switched careers to teach high school science. Every time I stood in front of class, I got that fluttery stomach feeling. So perhaps this puts me in a good place to give this sort of talk. No one knows how to fake confidence better than me. 🙂

I did have one freak out moment when I realized that Margie Lawson was our speaker last month, and she rocked the house. Talk about a hard act to follow! *cliche alert!* More irony – next month I’ll be speaking in Los Angeles at the LARA chapter meeting, following on the heels of their Bob Mayer all day workshop. I really need to get someone to help me plan these engagements better.

The Gateway to the Best Contest

Ah, nostalgia…this time last year I was polishing Butterfly Swords and trying to enter it in contests in preparation for the Golden Heart®. The Golden Pen contest is closed for entries, but the Gateway has just opened!

I’m a little partial because:

1) MORWA is my home chapter and I’m coordinating the historical category

2) This was the very, very first contest where I finaled. It was with The Dragon and the Pearl (aka Silk and Shadows at the time) and not Butterfly Swords, though I did get great feedback on Butterfly.

3) This was the first time I received a request for a full manuscript off of pages — which means the first time an industry professional took notice!

Anyone who has their eye on the Golden Heart® or who wants to get good writing feedback, should enter the Gateway. There’s a half-off discount on multiple entries and MORWA as a chapter is very much into critique with the majority of the members also being active in the CORE critique group. Because of this, the comments tend to be very detailed on the entries. (No guarantees! But you have a much better chance, honestly!)

Here’s the bulletin below. More details about the significance of this contest to my writing journey will be revealed in an interview I’m doing with author Keli Gwyn on September 3rd on her blog: Romance Writers on the Journey

*****Permission to forward*****

Gateway to the Best contest is open! One of last year’s finalists, Jeannie
Lin, won a Golden Heart last month and sold her book. Two other
Gateway winners also finaled in the Golden Heart.

Entries consist of first twenty-five pages; no synopsis. Electronic entries

Final judges are:
Historical -* Esi Sogah, Avon*
Contemporary Series -* Laura Barth, Harlequin*
Paranormal -* LaToya Smith,** Grand Central*
Single Title -* Katherine Pelz, Berkley*
Suspense -* Margo Lipschultz, Harlequin*

Deadline is Sept. 11 with payment via PayPal or check.

First entry is $30. Half price for multiple entries. No restriction on
number of entries in each category.

The first place winners will each receive a certificate, a one-year
membership to MORWA (e-newsletter only), a Gateway Arch charm, and an
electronic banner announcing the win for the author’s website. The second
place winners will each receive a certificate and a one-year membership to
MORWA (e-newsletter only). The third place winners will each receive a

Grand prize winner receives $100 and a critique of full manuscript by one
major Published Author.

For more information, visit http://www.morwa.org/gateway.htm or contact me.
Nancy Litzau
Gateway coordinator

Missouri Romance Writers (MORWA)
nlitzau@sbcglobal. net