In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Prepare for the ACFW Conference with the MBT Polish and Pitch Scrimmage

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at

"The 2010 My Book Therapy (MBT )Polish and Pitch Conference was worth the time and money I invested. I learned the skills I needed to pitch my book ideas at writing conferences--and I had fun while I did it." ~Roxanne Sherwood Gray, writer

You've written your novel. Revised it, with hopes of having one more look at it before the September ACFW conference.Your critique group helped you slog through the book proposal. (Market analysis, anyone?)
All that's left is, gulp, pitching your book to that dreaded, I mean, dream editor or agent.
Nothing to it, right?
Just keep telling yourself that.
Better yet, stop talking to yourself and make plans to attend the MBT Polish and Pitch Scrimmage.

Susan May Warren

Bestselling author Susan May Warren remembers pitching her first book at an ACFW conference. She remembers being nervous. Stumbling over her words. How she paused for a moment and thought, "Wait a minute. I love this book. I believe in this book." Her passion for her story propelled her past the nervousness to pitch the idea and land her first contract.
The Scrimmage, scheduled on September 21, the day before the ACFW conference begins, equips you to  make your 15 minute appointments count. The coaches, including Susie and author Jim Rubart, will help you craft your pitch and premise, polishing them into a solid verbal presentation for editors and agents.
I attended Susie's first-ever Polish and Pitch Seminar in May 2011. The thought of pitching my then-novel-in-progress felt like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. But by the time I sat down with agent Chip MacGregor (somebody hold my hand, please!) for a practice pitch session, I was calm. Well, calmer.  I had a pitch--including this one sentence hook: Can the wrong kiss lead to Mr. Right?--and Susie sitting next to me for moral support.
Pitch sheet for my debut novel, Wish You Were Here

By the time ACFW rolled around, I'd taken what I'd learned at the conference and produced a pitch sheet (Many thanks to my graphic designer friend, Marty Osborn.) I looked forward to sitting across from editors and sharing my book idea with them because I was prepared. Eight months later, I sat with my fabulous agent Rachelle Gardner and signed a two-book contract with Howard Books. (This is the part of the story that still flabbergasts me!)
Does the Scrimmage guarantee you a book contract? Sorry, no. But here's what you do get:

  • 4 hours of instruction
  • small group pitching practice
  • handout for future reference
  • interaction with other writers

There are lots of ways to advance your writing career. Attending the Scrimmage is one of the best investments you'll ever make. Consider this a personal invitation from me to you to join us for a worthwhile and fun four hours that will help you be more than ready to pitch your book at ACFW! To hear more about the Scrimmage, visit writer and fellow MBT Ponderer Melissa Tagg's blog, Tag(g)lines. My fun friend even shows you how not to pitch a book via her vlog post!

Are you excited about the ACFW conference? Ready to pitch your book? What are you doing to get ready? 

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At 7:59 AM, Blogger Melissa Tagg said...

Yay, fun stuff, Beth!! So excited about your book(s)! See ya soon...:)

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Lisa Jordan said...

Love the cartoon! So fitting. I'm so excited for ACFW & the Scrimmage, but most of all, to see my sweet friends!

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

ACFW is a great conference & the Scrimmage just makes it all the better. I'm looking forward to connecting with friends too--and meeting some of my online writing friends face-to-face (finally!)
M-Tagg, loved your vlog of a pitch!

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

Fun, Beth! I'm so excited for you all. I hope the Scrimmage goes well, and that your individual pitching times go well. I'll miss seeing you all. :)

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Reba J. Hoffman said...

Oh no! You mean "Pitch" is not slinging a softball toward a bat? I'm really in trouble. I have to change my entire "what to bring" list. I'd be worried if I weren't attending My Book Therapy's Polish and Pitch Workshop! Whewww...

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

I love pitching at a conference ... baseball? Not so much.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Elaine Stock said...

Good post! This will be my 3rd ACFW conference and I'm working on preparing my pitch. I'm seriously thinking about *not* creating a One-Sheet, though since when I've met with agents & editors at the past conferences, truthfully, they were not interested in this sheet but instead of what I had to say. Actually, the only ones who seemed interested were fellow writers. Do you have any thoughts on these infamous One-sheets?


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