Pitch Slams

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fountain923

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Do NF books have to be finished to be in a pitch slam? I have heard that is not always necessary for NF books.

If so, however, is it better to wait to attend once you are finished with the book? I was wondering if an initial failure to land a deal in your unfinished state could work against you if you returned later on to pitch at the same conference (or to the same personnel) with your finished work (or more prepared pitch)? Should you take a chance and seize the day or really hold back till your the most prepared?

Thanks.
 

byarvin

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Not in any slam I've entered. In my experience (with cookbooks and travel guides) finished manuscripts work against you. A partially executed idea that needs a bit of guidance to fit in is more likely to find a publisher than a project that is already written in the eyes of the author.

Note that I'm not talking about memoir or personal experience here.

I still urge you to read the rules first, each event can be different and participants will often bend the rules to suit themselves.

Good luck!!
 
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Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

For non-fiction, a completed manuscript is only necessary if it's memoir. And even then, agents are likely to ask you for a proposal and two or three chapters or x-number of pages.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

fountain923

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Another thing I've wondered about (I've never been to a slam for NF) is in relation to the great amount of info and research we may have been amassing due to the nature of our books in progress. Sometimes each chapter might even focus on a different area of our main topic (in a "different section of the library," as it were. Although we have been diligent in our analysis (as with film books, e.g.) and research...and it's all being put down in our notes/writing...there may be a lot there.

The pitch is a few,, short minutes,, granted.. But if they question you afterwards, does it get like a doctoral exam--where you can be asked any specific example of something on anything about your work in progress? How do you prepare if this is the case? Seems as if you'd have to review everything you've done so far, facts and all, if this were the case, to at least have some of them on hand to discuss.
 
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Helix

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Another thing I've wondered about (I've never been to a slam for NF) is in relation to the great amount of info and research we may have been amassing due to the nature of our books in progress. Sometimes each chapter might even focus on a different area of our main topic (in a "different section of the library," as it were. Although we have been diligent in our analysis (as with film books, e.g.) and research...and it's all being put down in our notes/writing...there may be a lot there.

The pitch is a few,, short minutes,, granted.. But if they question you afterwards, does it get like a doctoral exam--where you can be asked any specific example of something on anything about your work in progress? How do you prepare if this is the case? Seems as if you'd have to review everything you've done so far, facts and all, if this were the case, to at least have some of them on hand to discuss.

I didn't even know there was a pitch slam for non-fiction, so I can't speak from experience. But I would suggest that one of the questions you'll get asked -- because this is a really important one -- is are you qualified to write the book? What is it about your background that makes you an authority on the topic?
 
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byarvin

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Helix, they always ask that - or at least they always ask me that. These days, many food and travel books have at least a little bit of memoir in them and your qualifications can be really interesting.
 
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bunny hugger

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I've also never done an NF pitch slam, but I have "pre-queried" NF without even having a written sample. It's good to write towards what the publisher wants whenever possible.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away