For me, the month of August should be renamed Writers’ month. It’s the month I spend with my writer buddies, soaking in the atmosphere of Byron Bay Writers Festival, followed by the fabulous Romance Writers of Australia conference. I always plan to spend the rest of the month making full use of my renewed writing mojo, and hopefully this year, life will also cooperate.
Last year, I attended the Pitching competition for the first time at Byron Bay, in preparation for pitching at the Romance Writers conference. If you think pitching one on one to an editor or an agent is scary, imagine pitching on a microphone to a panel of editors in front of a tent full of people. This is where pitching becomes performance art.
It was fascinating: the pitches ranged from Neil Young presenting his story of a footy team taking on fatherhood all at the same time (and One Got Past the Keeper will be published by Hachette Australia in August), to a semi-quasi religious/vampire story and the winners – a hubby and wife team pitching a time travel to Ancient Rome/Greece/Egypt series in the style of Lonely Planet guidebooks. They came with props including a souvenir t-shirt from Ancient Rome.
The different approaches from each pitch helped me refine my pitch for RWA and gave me hints and tips on how to pitch .
Pitch Perfect is on again this year at Bryon Bay Writers Festival and everyone has the opportunity to enter the competition or watch the fun of the pitching. But it is not the only opportunity for writers offered by the festival. Varuna is also offering editorial consulations with Tegan Bennett Daylight.
Here is the information direct from BBWF for both opportunities:
Budding authors should be dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s on their manuscripts in preparation for the close of the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival Pitch Perfect competition.
Siboney Duff, Writer Development Manager, believes this is a rare chance for writers to pitch to some of Australia’s top publishers. “Six finalists will practice their powers of persuasion with representatives from Text Publishing, Allen & Unwin and UQP,” says Duff. “In the increasingly competitive world of publishing, face-to-face pitching opportunities are becoming rarer and rarer. This could be our next top Australian author’s big break.”
Pitch Perfect has been the publishing springboard for a number of writers. “Over the years many competition finalists have gained publishing deals directly from their Pitch Perfect performances,” says Duff. “Last year, Neil Young pitched his idea for a unique treatment of exploring the challenging transition for men into fatherhood. Hachette Australia requested the manuscript and Young’s book One got past the keeper will be on the shelves in August.”
Duff says the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre will ensure finalists are as well prepared as possible: “We are offering all successful applicants the chance to participate in a pitching workshop with multi-published author Jesse Blackadder before they have to do it for real at the Festival.”
According to Duff, the Pitch Perfect session at the Festival is one of the most entertaining to watch. “Pitching is probably one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of becoming an author,” says Duff. “I encourage everyone to come along and support our finalists in their attempts to wow the publishers.”
Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre and Byron Bay Writers’ Festival Director Candida Baker believes anyone with a great idea and a completed manuscript should enter: “The Festival has seen a significant amount of participants go on to become published authors,” she says. “This could be the event that launches a career for a writer.”
The competition closes on July 15. Pitch Perfect is being held on Festival Saturday, August 6 kicking off at 11.15am. The pitching workshop, to take place on Wednesday, August 3, between 5.30-7.30pm, will be free to Pitch finalists, but all applicants will have the chance to attend and refine their pitching skills.
To purchase tickets or download a Pitch Perfect Competition application form visit www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or call 1300 368 552.
Varuna and the Festival team up to assist budding writers
Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre Writer Development Manager Siboney Duff understands that being a writer can be challenging due to the solitary nature of the work: “Solitude is certainly an essential part of the creative process, but there comes a time when every author needs to show their work to another person.”
The consultations will be conducted by multi-published author Tegan Bennett Daylight. “Tegan has over twenty years experience as a teacher, critic and publishers’ reader,” says Duff. “Her expert advice will help writers prepare their manuscripts for submission.”
Duff believes new writers can particularly benefit from the BBWF Litlink Varuna Editorial Consults. “The opportunity to have an experienced writer and editor read over your work and provide constructive feedback is invaluable, especially if you are relatively new to the creative writing process.”
Applications close on July 13 and places are strictly limited. “Places are going fast so I encourage writers that are interested applying for a consultation to do so now,” says Duff.
To download a BBWF Litlink Varuna Editorial Consults application form visit www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or email Siboney@nrwc.org.au.
But that’s not all. Along with a weekend packed full of panels and discussions, there are four days of workshops leading up to the festival. For the full program, visit www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au and maybe I’ll see you there!