My recent trip to New York City for the Algonkian Writers Pitch Conference was everything I'd hoped it would be. From day one, our astute and patient conference leader, Caitlin Alexander, schooled us on the elements of a successful pitch by having us deliver our pitches straight out the gate. Intimidating -- and right on time.
I left the conference with an agent and an editor each asking for my manuscript (woo-hoo! more on that later) and concrete skills to bring to my own agent pitches at home. I also met wonderfully imaginative and endearing writers from around the country, who enchanted me with their own stories, personal as well as fiction.
One of the objectives of the conference was to obtain expert feedback from editors working in the publishing industry to bring back to our manuscript revision process. I was grateful to have my kinship spirit and muse, Rob Lorey, with whom to digest conference ideas and problem-solve fixes.
Two major take-aways from the conference were: (1) women represent the lion's share of the book-buying market; and, therefore (2) novels need to have at least one prominent female character with whom readers can identify. Zoë, the central character in LOVE GODS, is certainly prominent -- but she arrives on the scene in chapter 8. Would readers be patient enough to read through several chapters getting to know David and Stephen before meeting Zoë.
Thanks to Rob's artistic ken, I was able to solve this problem by adding a short sizzler up front.