Pitching: My awkward dating life saved my ass

I’m at the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writing Association) Conference this week. This event is like Gay Pride for writers–so a lot fewer speedos, but everyone is stoked about their alternative lifestyle of colorful characters.

About 35 literary agents and editors are here, listening to all of us desperate writer freaks pitch our super neat stories. I did this last year for the first time. I was so nervous, all I did was read my pitch to agents. I got some requests for samples out of it, so I figured it must not be that bad.

Working with a slightly better pitch this year, I again tried reading to agents. Oh my God, the way their eyes glazed over when I did that. I realized what I look like on the other side of the table: an OK Cupid date who is citing a list of reasons why he is so great. Shoot me in the face.

I had time to talk to a couple more agents, so I figured I might as well try abandoning my rehearsed pitch and just be conversational about my book. I’ve been on a lot of shitty dates, and I won’t lie–many of them were made bad from me spilling word vomit on the table. Reining in that experience, I turned on my charm and tried to get my book laid. SCORE! That’s exactly what they wanted. In just four minutes, those agents figured out my hook, my style, and laughed at me breaking the cussing barrier. I was having an amazing hair day too, which I take as a sign that I was meant to get lucky.

Five agent & editor cards are tucked behind my conference name badge now. Five. I’m probably going to get humbled/rejected by most of them, but I’m walking on water now.

I’ll admit my mind wanders in the gutter so much, it’s more like a fast-flowing canal of dirty jokes and uncomfortable moments in a silent, crowded room, but after spending most of my twenties serial dating, I am good at flirting and selling myself. I recognize when someone isn’t interested and switch tactics or move on to the next target. Here are my quick and dirty dating tips I’ve applied to pitching:

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