I'll have to be brief because I just got back from dinner with my group and have to tweak my pitch AGAIN before our editor meeting tomorrow. Today we pitched to a guy from Random House, and a woman from a subsidiary of RH. Both went well, but the first one was the real payoff. Dana Isaacson is a Senior Editor at RH. I was the 2nd to last person for that pitch (and the 4th to last later, and the 3rd to last tomorrow, grrrrr!) but he was still smiling and stood to greet me (very nice!) and shake my hand. As I made my pitch he stopped and asked questions and made some approving noises (which I read wrong and was thinking that he'd heard it all before and I was blowing it), and when I was finished said that he loved the title (I've changed it from 'Killing the Good Girl' to 'Goodbye Good Girl') and the story and then whipped out his card and told me to send the first 3 chapters on his recommendation to an editor at Ballantine!!!
I was out of there in 4 mins. It was mind-blowing. Amazing. Mostly because the day started out so badly. I knocked a bottle of clear nail polish on the bathroom floor where it broke and smelled so strong I had to shut the door and leave the window open in there all day. Then the printer in the business center was disconnected so I couldn't print my new pitch so I ran upstairs to the concierge in desperation, and he let me print it from behind his desk. I got to the conference with five mins to spare. Nothing like a little adrenalin rush to start the day.
Back to Dana, I think he suggested an agent to two other people, so we were doing well. The second editor, Sally Kim, told me I had great credentials and a good story and should have no trouble getting an agent. She had some good suggestions about what to include in the query letter (specific to my story, not to the query letter process in general, so no need to share them here), and was very encouraging, but no magic. That was fine. She did like two of the other women's books so that made us all feel good. She was really sharp and had something positive to say to everyone so it was a nice way to end the day. When I walked out, I heard her say to Sally Koslow, "This is a really good group," which lifted my spirits.
Ended up going out to dinner with Michael Neff again at some Mexican place in the West Village. Didn't have enough energy for the comedy club after, so went back to the hotel to work on the pitch again. I'm very aware that Sally has heard it 4 times now and want to change a few things. I can't decide if it's good that she's there in the room with us during the pitches or not. It find it rather inhibiting, but I guess she needs to see and hear it so she can give feedback herself. Sometimes she's been supportive, and sometimes not. When I walked into the room for the Sally Kim pitch, I heard Sally Koslow (just too many darn Sallys!) say under her breath, 'This is a good one.' I just can't pin her down, which is frustrating.
One more editor tomorrow and then home. I've had a wonderful time here and met some incredible women (we're forming an online group - I would read every one of their books; they are that good), and I'm so pleased that that's happened. (Did I just say 'pleased'? God, I sound like I'm Dame Judi Dench or something.) I hope we can keep the group going, the four of us, because it's rare to meet cool women that you bond with, who are also writers. A real gift.
I am, however, ready to go home. Got poems to write for the aerial show and class starts next Thursday. Also the Maryland Writers Association meeting is tomorrow night. Lots to do!