San Francisco Writers Conference

 Pip at the Registration desk!

Pip at the Registration desk!

I attended the San Francisco Writer’s Conference from February 15th through the 19th and have some big news to share with all of you! But first, I’m sharing a photo of Pip. He is an adorable cat that monitors the comings and goings at the Golden Gate Hotel. He watched as I checked in, kept me company at breakfast and escorted me to my room each night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a social cat!

The focus of this conference was the “Pitch to an Agent Speed-dating Session”, scheduled for Sunday morning. Registration materials indicated that authors who had a completed book would have three minutes to give a sales pitch for their book to a literary agent. The goal: that one or more agents would ask for more information, leading to possible publication. Before I left for the conference, I wrote my pitch and practiced it until I was able to deliver it naturally, and with emotion. I felt prepared and confident, and cautiously optimistic.

However, at the first classroom session on Thursday morning, I learned the pitch was to be one minute long, not three. I rewrote it. Then the rules for what had to be said within that minute changed. Then they changed again. By Saturday night, I was feeling frustrated and defeated. I had rewritten my pitch about ten times, and, though it met most of the new rules, I felt the essence of my book was lost. I also had not had time to practice.

On Sunday morning, I decided to stick with the original pitch – the one that I could do naturally, from my heart. It was three-minutes long, but I knew where the one-minute mark was so I planned to stop talking at that point and let the agent take the lead. The agents were at tables around a conference room; every three minutes a bell would ring, indicating it was time to move on to another agent. We could pitch to as many agents as we wanted within the hour time slot. There were two agents that I was specifically targeting: Jody Rein and Jennifer Chen Tran.

I started with Jody who had indicated she was looking for a “beautifully written memoir that was both rare and wonderful”. When I stopped talking at the one minute mark, Jody started asking questions! She wanted to know more and asked me to e-mail her a proposal. It was just the confidence booster I needed.

I then spoke with Jennifer, who was looking for a memoir that would “bring a marginalized topic into the conscious of society”. When I finished, Jennifer also wanted to know more and asked me to send her the first fifty pages of The Best Girl!

By following my heart, I accomplished what I set out to do. There is no guarantee that either Jody or Jennifer will become my agent, but it is a start.

Thank you for reading my blog, cheering me on and following my progress. Here is the pitch I gave at the conference:

Time and again, we’ve heard the news headlines: A woman has been maimed, or possibly killed, at the hands of her loved one. But this book focuses on raising society’s awareness to a line typically buried deep within: her minor children were present.

I was one of those children, and in my memoir, The Best Girl, I take readers through my experience growing up in a family struggling with domestic violence, alcoholism and mental illness. I tell the story from the first person point of view so that readers can see and feel what I saw and felt as a toddler, young child and adolescent. Readers will watch as, even at a very young age, I become a child that wants to please everyone. My resilience and determination to be The Best Girl, fuels my internal hope that my dad will be healed and my mom will smile.

Readers will cheer for the heroes in the book – neighbors who put themselves in the line of danger on our behalf, a guardian angel who seems to find us just when we need her, and a teacher that comes into my life at just the right time.

The Best Girl provides hope for children who witness horrific scenes committed by the very people that are entrusted to provide them with safety, security and unconditional love.

The Best Girl will appeal to those concerned with societal issues pertaining to family relationships and parenting. Professionals involved in domestic abuse: advocates, victims, survivors, first responders, lawyers and judges will appreciate the awareness to the issue this book brings. And finally, professionals who work with children will gain an increased understanding of how what a child sees and observes affects their emotional and physical states.