I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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

Used with permission of Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com

"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.

Author Susan May Warren
Bestselling uthor 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 looking forward to the ACFW conference? Feeling ready to pitch your book? What are you doing to prepare? 

**Note: octopusmom won the copy of Deep Cover by Sandra Orchard. Please contact the MBT Ponderers at beth@bethvogt.com with your address so we can mail you the book!**


  1. Great post, Beth.

    Sitting in front of an editor or agent can be so knee-knocking. But, like you said, if you're prepared, it's not so scary. And that's a beautiful and well laid-out One-Sheet. And I'm still Happy DaNGing over your 2-book deal.

  2. So glad I can be there. Looking forward to it all. Thanks, Beth.

  3. I'll be at ACFW and the Scrimmage. Even though I have one book published, I still plan to hone my pitching skills because that face-to-face interaction with editors helps cement a writer/editor relationship. This year, I will be pitching the rest of my series to my editor and pray she wants to hang out with the rest of Shelby Lake's residents.

  4. Woohoo, I can't wait for the Scrimmage!

  5. See you all there! I love how ACFW gives us a chance to reconnect with friends--and make new ones. And the speakers are excellent. The Scrimmage is just one more resource to help us make the most of the conference.

  6. Even though I can't be at ACFW this year, it helps me realize how helpful it will be to attend The Scrimmage next year (here's hoping!) when I get to attend ACFW. Hope you all have a wonderful time!

  7. Making the pitch ... it's one of the most fun--and most nerve-wracking--parts of any writers conference.

  8. Beth, I agree with "making the pitch is the most ... nerve-wracking" part of the writers conference. Not the most fun. But Susie Warren makes the learning process fun. And she prepared me to do it well.

  9. MBT Ponderers, I've awarded you the Liebster Award for a fabulous blog. You can check out the announcement on my SandraOrchard.blogspot blog.