I am dotting some "i's" and crossing some "t's" at the moment including writing/practicing my pitches, making "writing" business cards, and generally organizing myself. (Shouldn't forget to pack clothing. That's important, too.)
I have four pitch sessions scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and I am only nervous about them if I think about them...at all. Today was good for me, though, because I had lunch with my friends who are all at least avid readers; one of them is coming to the writing conference with me. They wanted to hear my pitches, so, amid our 2 year-olds running around the house screaming (mine wet her pants in the middle of my pitch), I told my friends my stories.
Good things about practicing in stressful environments: 1. it really, really forces you to focus, 2. it prepares you for the worst. I can almost guarantee that NO ONE will bust into my pitch sessions to demand that I change her wet underpants. Or, if someone does, I maybe will take up gourmet cooking instead.
On top of that, my friends are really savvy and had some really great suggestions for tightening up my pitches. One suggestion was to begin each pitch with the two-sentence "elevator pitch," instead of giving background to set up the story. That's a big "duh" on my part. It seems so obvious to hook pitch listeners with the pithy one-liner rather than drag them into the boring back story first. They are so right.
Just as a treat for my loyal readers, here are the elevator pitches for the two books I'm trying to sell:
Liz A. Stratton Closes the Store.
The question of which sex would run the world better is an ancient one. But, what if a woman ran for President to end an unpopular war? And accidentally called a sex-strike in the process?
Something is killing livestock and dogs in rural Oregon and leaving a trail of poisonous scales in its wake. When a Fish and Wildlife officer ends up in the hospital after cutting her hand on a scale, a race to find the creature and a cure for its toxin begins.