My first writers convention was the CRW conference two years ago. Compared to RWA Nationals, I guess it is small, but I had plenty to do and plenty to learn. I was nervous about pitching, especially since my manuscript wasn’t complete. I probably shouldn’t have been pitching with my incomplete ms, but I did. And it was worthwhile for me. It boosted my writing ego to have agents and editors tell me to send it to then when it was finished. It gave me a reason to finish the darn thing and a deadline to have it complete.
If I hadn’t pitched with my mostly there manuscript, I’m not sure it would have ever gotten to where it is now. Why? Because when I did finish it, six months later, I had people to send it to. Now they did reject it, but that turned out to be a good thing. It needed rejection and it needed polishing. But I didn’t know that, and I didn’t know where to begin. Rejection gave me a direction.
Should everyone pitch? Well, not if you really don’t have something close to done. Mine was close. I had the beginning, middle, and end all done, it just needed to be longer. I knew what my concept was, I understood my characters and plot, I knew what the agents and editors needed to know to make a decision. How far are you on your work? Does it need to be finished before you present it? Can it be close to done? Its been two years and knowing what I know now, I’d say it should be done, finished, all the way done. Why?
Because if they want it, you want to be able to send it. You don’t want to wait the six months I waited. And as for that pitching opportunity passing you by, if you are a member of a good organization, like CRW and RWA, there will be another opportunity for you to pitch. So pitch if you have something to pitch. Pitch if you are ready to shine. Pitch if you want to learn something about yourself and your ms. But if you aren’t ready, use those convention opportunities to discover what it is you need to do to be ready.
Oh and if you are attending CRW’s mini-con in May, pitch anyway. Because we have a special opportunity with an editor who has stated that your ms doesn’t need to be done. She will answer questions, look at those first paragraphs and give you advice. So should you pitch this May? It isn’t a question with an editor like this. Everyone should be signed up to pitch, finished or not.