From Pitch to Publication (Pt 4): Diane Hester

Welcome to the fourth and final post in a series of special guest interviews with authors who received a publishing contract after pitching their manuscript at an RWA conference. I hope these interviews motivate and inspire you with the knowledge that pitching appointments can and do lead to publication!

Please welcome Diane Hester…

1. Congratulations on receiving a publishing contract! Which conference did you pitch at and had you ever pitched before?

I pitched to Beverley Cousins of Random House Australia at RWA’s 2011 conference. In 2010 I had attended the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon and pitched to twelve editors and agents in the space of two days – the first time I’d ever pitched at a conference. (Talk about jumping in at the deep end!)

2. What was going through your mind before the pitch, and afterwards did you feel it had been a success?

Before the pitch I tried to focus on my story. By keeping in mind what I loved about it I felt more excitement than fear going into the session. And Bev was so nice she put me totally at ease, so by the time I came out I was feeling much more relaxed.

3. How long did it take to hear back after your submission? What was the next step?

I sent Bev my first fifty pages the week after the conference and on the first of November she emailed me requesting the full. On 14 Dec she emailed again to say she had enjoyed the story and wanted to take things to the next step of showing it to some colleagues. In that email she asked how amenable I was to plot adjustments and mentioned one she felt I should make. I told her I had no problem with changing it. I then heard back on 20 December that my book had been accepted.

4. After submitting your full manuscript, did you get a call with an offer of publication, or did you have to make changes to your manuscript first?

I think because the change Bev wanted me to make in the ms wasn’t major she was okay offering me a contract before I’d actually done the revisions.

5. How did it feel when you received an offer of publication?

Like I’d won the lottery. After ten years of trying and being rejected, to finally have that success is one of the high points of my life.

6. Do you have any advice for writers who are thinking of pitching at the next conference, or for writers who have already pitched and are anxiously awaiting the results after sending in their submissions?

Pitching at a conference gives a writer a real advantage over submitting via query letter. Many editors only accept submissions through agents, so if you don’t have one the only way to get your work to those editors is to pitch it in person. Second, many editors see an author’s attendance at conferences as proof of their commitment and professionalism. Plus they know that when an author attends a conference run by an organization as respected as RWA, they’ve been thoroughly informed not only on the craft of writing, but on the workings of the publishing industry in general.

7. Which book got (or is getting) published as a result of your conference pitch? Can you give us a brief blurb?

RUN TO ME is a chase thriller.  It’s set in the woods of northern Maine where a woman suffering post traumatic stress protects a homeless boy from killers and in the process comes to believe he’s the son she lost two years earlier. Aided by the local doctor, they flee into the New England wilds to escape their pursuers, and there come to love and trust one another in order to survive.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us today, Diane, and all the best with your book! 🙂

Leave a comment


  1. I LOVE your cover Diane. Congratulations on your sale and thanks for sharing your story with us!

  2. Congratulations on your sale, Diane. Sounds like a very exciting story and it’s great to see that your perseverance paid off.

  3. Cath Evans

     /  November 13, 2012

    What a great pitch you must have made! I love these stories.

    Good luck with your release, Diane.


  4. What a fantastic cover! Well done

  1. book review: run to me by diane hester | the musings of monique

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