Thursday, February 19, 2015


I just came from a conference with the Florida Romance Writers, and I’m looking forward to a very busy year. I’ll be attending the RT Booklovers Convention and RWA Nationals of course, also Book Expo America. In addition to those mega conferences, I’ll be going to Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans conference, and to the Orange County RWA later in the year.

Asa Marie Bradley and Deb Werksman at Florida RWA conference
Here’s what made the conference in Florida so great:

The authors were well prepared

The chapter had run a pitch training session, so everyone was prepared with a smooth and effective pitch. I could tell they had worked on them, shared them with others, and polished their pitches.

BTW, I don’t have any problem with an author reading her pitch to me. It shows a level of preparation and polishing that I can appreciate.

Another thing that was great is that the authors understood the difference between a pitch and a plot summary:
A pitch tells the editor:
·         What subgenre the book is
·         How many following projects are envisioned in the series
·         The length of the book/s
·         The all-important hook—it’s that juicy gem of a sentence or two that makes me immediately know I can sell this—my sales reps and the buyers are going to get it immediately

This meant that we could take full advantage of our time together—I could hear about an author’s project if we ran into each other in the elevator, or at the coffee shop, or while waiting for a session to start, or over dinner, lunch, etc.

Please, with me, know that I want to hear about your writing—that’s why I’m at the conference. So you don’t need to worry about disturbing me, interrupting me, or me not being prepared to hear a pitch. I realize I’m different from other editors in this regard. That’s one of the reasons it’s useful to find out how different editors prefer to hear about/receive materials. Long live submission guidelines!

So, by the time we sat down for the formal pitches, there were very few I was hearing about for the first time.

This meant we could delve deeper, ask questions about subgenres, the category, the industry, the author’s vision for her career, etc. I love these in-depth conversations.

The projects I heard about were fantastic, even when they weren’t right for my list, or for the publishing house.

It was clear that these authors were serious—they wanted to develop their craft, they wanted to build their audience, they wanted to build careers. What they were working on was well-thought-out and original.

·Another great part of the conference was the Floridian Idol, in which 2 pages of a manuscript were read to the editors and agents, and we got to comment and/or request to see the project. It was fascinating to see the breadth and depth of the writing coming out of this chapter, and also to see the very different reactions of the editors and agents. There was something strong about every single one, whether it was right for me or not.

My inner Simon Cowell comes out at these kinds of events, although I try not to be harsh. Remember, Simon gives the best coaching!

Kudos to the Florida Romance Writers, thank you so much for having me at your conference, and I can’t wait to see your proposals.

BTW, I am open for pitches and submissions AT ALL TIMES! 24/7/365! So you don’t need to wait to meet me at a conference, or for a formal pitch session online. Just go here: or email me direct:

Don’t be shy!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Deb! It was so much fun to get to hang out with you. Thanks for great conversations!