There are lots of ways to share a book and, in doing so, improve as a writer. Not all those ways are created equal, and some work better than others.
I’m pretty sure there are various websites that basically serve as online writing workshops, and I’m nearly certain that part of Richard Nash’s Red Lemonade has some of that functionality, wherein writers post chapters and stories and the best rise to the top. I’ve participated in both writing groups and online writing workshops in the past, and they all share one thing in common: all are best with a smaller amount of material, and honestly most effective for short stories.
Last week, I found out about Galleycat’s Book Pitch Party about an hour before its deadline. I like Galleycat; I haven’t been able to keep up with it as much, lately, but when I can, I’m not sure there’s a more valuable resource for publishing.
The Pitch Party, the contest post announced, was held in the W Union Square’s Underbar, which is one of the swanky-hip sorts of rooms Manhattan is famous for. Reminded me a lot, in fact, of the Happy Ending Lounge, on Broome Street, which is where I read for The Nervous Breakdown.
We can argue the real validity of writers reading in a bar. Most, unfortunately, can’t. It’s not writers’ fault; writing is held as a solitary sort of profession, and even I get nervous enough my stage presence isn’t yet where I’d like it to be. Probably takes a lot more practice than I have, even though I stand before classrooms all the time. There’s something, too, about reading in a dim lounge; there are always clinks and murmurs, and it’s obvious in a way it never is when a band’s on.
When I heard it was in New York, and it was for pitches, I had to submit. So I went through my email and basically lifted my usual query for The Prodigal Hour and sent it in.
The following day, I was congratulated to be a finalist. I was going to pitch!