Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hey, Pitch to Us!: Two publishers’ top five reasons

by Kathryn Craft

Pitch appointments fill quickly at The Write Stuff, and for more than two weeks now, all 75 of the available agent appointments have been filled. Appointments with our two publishers have filled more slowly. This always happens. My guess as to why: If you can sign with an agent, all windows of opportunity are still open; if you sign with a publisher—especially a small press—you’ll never know "what might have been."

But in today’s economy, here’s another way of looking at it: an agent may or may not be able to sell your book. A publisher, on the other hand, has the power to put your project into print.

To stimulate submissions, I asked our publishers—Renee Rocco from Lyrical Press and Laurie Edwards of Leap Books—to give me the top five reasons conferees should consider pitching to them at The Write Stuff. Here are their responses.

The top five reasons to pitch commercial fiction to Lyrical Press, as written by publisher Renee Rocco:

1. Lyrical Press offers its authors a solid marketing plan, professional and dedicated staff, as well as publishers who guide their authors throughout the publication process. From acquisition through to the expiration of a book's contract, Lyrical remains by an author's side for the life of the relationship.

2. The company is always evolving, experimenting with new ways to expand and reach a wider audience—offering readers three platforms in which to enjoy a Lyrical book: ebook, print and audio.

3. Comprehensive content and line editing cycles and a talented cover design staff assure authors their manuscripts will be in the best shape possible when presented to readers.

4. Although Lyrical Press has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the house never takes for granted that publishing is a competitive business.

5. Lyrical's motto is, "If you dare to write it, we dare to consider it". That's right, we dare you to write something amazing!

The top five reasons to pitch young adult fiction to Leap Books, as written by publisher Laurie Edwards:

So why should you pitch to Leap Books? Many reasons spring to mind, but I’m limited to five, so here they are (although I must admit math isn’t my strong point, so I may have miscounted):

• Because you’re a workaholic, driven to succeed, and love to work long hours on revising your books to make them the best they can be (Notice I said books. We’re looking for authors who are interested in a writing career.) and you want an editor who understands your vision and voice, and will work with you to shape your masterpieces for the marketplace.

• Because you love YA with your whole heart and would rather write for a teen readership, even though most people ask when you plan to write a REAL book. And because you know that teens deserve top quality literature.

• Because you’re a unique individual with a special story to tell—one that touches hearts, souls, minds, and one that lingers in the imagination long after the covers are closed.

• Because you want the time and attention a small press can give you and would like to have more input in the finished project.

• Because you’ve checked out our website and/or read our books and you believe your book would be the perfect fit. And you believe in our mission to encourage reluctant readers to pick up an enticing book.

• Because you love a family atmosphere, including all the craziness and dysfunction it entails—the laughing, crying, cheering, encouraging, arguing (no, no, it’s called discussion)—and you want the support and caring that goes with it.

And if that’s not enough to entice you, I’ll throw in a few bonus reasons:

• Because I promise not to bite your head off. I’m not scary or intimidating. I understand the knee-knocking, trembling hands, and sweaty palms. Been there, done that. As an author myself, I know the agony and anxiety behind every pitch session. So you can come in expecting to relax and have fun.

• But the main and most important reason is that you like Leap Books and what we stand for. You’re impressed with what we’ve put out so far and would like to see your book on our website and in our catalog.

If you’ve read the brochure, you know Leap Books is a teen and tween fiction publisher with a passion for getting teens to read. If you’ve checked out the website, you can tell we’re seeking to be cool and edgy. If you’ve read our latest releases, you know we place a lot of emphasis on voice and we love discovering new talent. If you’ve talked to our authors, you’ve heard we care—about each and every one of them. If you’ve talked to our readers, you’ve discovered they love what we’re doing.

If after all that, you believe your book is right for us, then please pitch it to me. It’ll make my day. And best of all, I might just say yes.

If appointments with these two publishers remain open on conference day, we will open up their appointments to authors who already have an agent appointment. Check with the conference registration table at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, March 27, to see if this opportunity exists.

Thank you for your interest in The Write Stuff! Registration closes with a March 12 postmark.

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