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And let me tell you, I fluffed it a bit.

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But I had practiced dozens of times, and was ready to go. I made my way through, answered some questions, and found myself walking away with my mission complete: I had a card with submission instructions! Someone wanted to hear more! From there, it was on to the next queue, and the next pitch.

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Two hours whizzed by, and I found myself with five publishers who were willing to hear more. Everyone comes from a different angle, so enjoy! Finding out how nervous your fellow writers are develops a sense of unity, camaraderie and develops contacts.

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Be engaged with your community. Keep your pitch pithy and to the point. Include basic plot, the most interesting characters, and the one or two points that make it stand out. Three minutes is longer than you think. Have confidence in yourself and your work.

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Have at least a few chapters printed and ready to roll. If you do print your whole manuscript, keep some bull clips handy in case they only want a few chapters. Keep your pitch as short as possible. Just the bare bones. Work on broadcast timing of three words per second. Prepare to be flexible: Some publishers will let you go then ask questions; some will interrupt.

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And be prepared to ask them questions: Listen to what the publishers say. The rejection may not be because of your manuscript. There may not be room in their list, or there may be a similar project. Take this and use it to refine your work. Last year one publisher asked me for the first three chapters of a YA manuscript. They declined, but gave me some excellent detailed feedback. I rewrote the manuscript, and then was awarded a mentorship for the story.

If you are thinking of going next year get in early! My good friend Helen and I booked together and were spurring each other on โ€” it was so good to have someone to talk to who is in the same boat! Thanks Helen for all of your help and Skype session to practice.

It was very well organised and not overly crowded. But, there was a good selection of publishers and one agent.

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I knew my story and had practiced the pitch until I knew it off by heart. I may have stumbled a couple of times but I got it all out. And, she took my lovely plastic folder from Office Works with my chapters! Now the next one!

All in all โ€” it was a great afternoon. Thank you to all the publishers who took the time to listen to my pitch โ€” it is much appreciated. It may well be that nothing comes of this but either way it helped me overcome my nervousness about pitching and each publisher gave me different advice on the novel and the pitch, which I will put to good use. I also met some great people, including Jeffery Doherty who ended up being my queuing buddy, and caught up with Robin Riedstra who I drank lots of champagne with at a weekend workshop with Kate Forsyth, as well as the author of a few pirate tales Rebecca Perry, Elizabeth Foster and of course Helen Petrovic, my pitching buddy and sounding board for all things writing!