As we well know, it’s sometimes easier (albeit painful) learning from our mistakes or, as author Steve Piacente put it so eloquently in a comment the other day, from those things that have fallen flat.
My favorite “bad pitch” story actually came from more than one female literary agent who’s shared that aspiring authors slid their manuscripts under stall doors in the women’s restroom. For the record, we’ve yet to hear a happy ending to this urban pitch legend…
Famed author Sandra Brown told a fun one at a writer’s conference about her first book signing. She sat outside a mall all day without selling a single book, despite alluring folks to the table with brownies. At the end of the day, before she was going to pack it in, a woman came running across the mall to her table and Sandra thought she’d finally land a sale. But no, the woman was simply after the last, lone brownie… (See, it can happen to the best-selling of us, too!)
I think my own worst experience was at a bookstore event where I was asked to do a demo and speech. I started talking, a bit nervous, and paused to take a sip of water… that went down the wrong pipe! Spitting, sputtering and coughing, I tried to continue but (as it always does in such a predicament) it just got worse. Red-faced and watery-eyed, I must’ve looked a mess, anything but the perfect image I was hoping to project! (Note to self: Breathe deep, speak slower, and if all else fails, have a good joke at the ready.)
Now, here’s your chance to share, vent and otherwise exorcise the demons of your own pitches or promos that fell flat. Forgot your bookmarks? Lost your voice in a reading? Tell us your funniest, most embarassing or awful story with your comment below… AND what you learned from the experience.
Don’t be shy; we’ve all got ’em!