Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's hard out here for a pimp: the sequel

I sit down at the table, elevator pitch in hand, book manuscript in my lap. The bell rings. I have three minutes. The agent across from me is already skeptical; that's his job. I have to find a way to make myself -- and my novel -- stand out. It reminds me of that scene in the movie "Hustle and Flow" when D-Jay is trying to get Skinny Black to listen to his demo tape. Welcome to Speed Dating with Agents at the San Francisco Writers Conference.

The Speed Dating event is just like it sounds: you have a dozen literary agents in a room full of conference attendees who, like me, paid an extra $50 for the hour-long event. The agents stand up and tell the attendees who they are and what type of work they're looking for. Then you sit down with an agent, and you have three minutes to pitch your book, including time for the agent's response. You give your spiel. A bell rings. You stop talking. The agent responds. Then – ding! – the bell rings again and you move to the next one. Pretty intense, huh?

I'm doing it again this weekend -- my second year at the SF Writers Conference. So wish me luck. Because it's hard out here for a pimp.


  1. All the best, Brian! May all your pitches find a happy mark. And have fun.

  2. I can't get that song out of my head since reading your post--it's hard out here for a pimp...When he tryin to get this money for the rent. good luck at conference--whoop that trick!

  3. Your book? Crichton's Andromeda Strain (with big pharma) meets Clancy's Patriot Games. Knock 'em dead!

  4. I discovered the SFWC thanks to your blog post last year, and this year I was invited to attend as an independent editor. Our two days of five-minute sessions were dizzying and insane, too, but it was a great experience to be able to help so many writers with their pitches and first pages, and then check back in with them after the speed dating event and see how those that work paid off.

    I hope you got some good nibbles out there!

  5. Gabrielle - I'm glad I helped you discover SFWC. It was a big success, as I'll blog about tomorrow. Sorry we didn't get a chance to meet at the conference!