Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 16th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Pitch It

ae_BooksAspiring authors get the chance to tell their story at ‘Pitchapalooza’
Do you have what it takes to be the next James Durbin of the literary world? In what has been touted as the American Idol for aspiring authors, book doctors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are bringing their acclaimed “Pitchapalooza” event to Bookshop Santa Cruz on Thursday, July 28.

The event should go something like this: Twenty-five would-be authors will be picked at random to pitch their story ideas to a panel of publishing industry insiders. Each contestant will have one minute to take to the stage and start talking. Once the idea has been pitched and the minute is up, the judges will critique everything from the idea itself to the writer’s pitching style and the marketability of the potential book. At the end of Pitchapalooza, judges will convene to pick a winner—who will receive a half-hour consultation with Eckstut and Sterry on how to turn his or her idea into a published manuscript.

 

Even though there will only be one official winner at the event, everyone who attends should leave with something, whether it’s sound advice on the ins and out of the publishing industry, inspiration for writing the book they’ve always dreamed of, or simply the pure entertainment of watching this reality TV-style evening of friendly competition.

ae_books2If anyone should be able to judge who has what it takes to be a celebrity writer it’s Eckstut and Sterry. Co-authors of “The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published,” they have helped numerous people find their voices in print through workshops they’ve run around the country as well as through their book (originally published as “Putting Your Passion Into Print”).

Eckstut is a literary agent for the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, while Sterry is a professional “book doctor” and editor. The couple helped to launch Timothy Ferriss, best-selling author of “The 4-Hour Work Week,” who attended one of their publishing workshops. Ferriss lauds “The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published” as “the quiet secret of rock star authors.”

Pitchapalooza events have produced three winners who have subsequently secured book deals with publishing houses: One winner was a San Francisco Bay Area resident, writing an anthology of stories about the dating experiences of Muslim-American women, one was an author from Kansas City who received a three-book deal for her paranormal young adult fiction and the other was the author of “The Elements of Style for Fruit Trees,” a book that includes everything you ever wanted to know about these botanical beings.

Sterry says the significance of this event for would-be authors looking to be published is this: It’s all about the pitch. “When I’m writing a book, the first thing I try to do is figure out how to get the pitch right. If the editor or agent don’t fall in love with you within 60 seconds of reading your pitch, you’re in the trash. However, if you write a great pitch and that editor falls in love, you may get a book.”

So the idea is that even if you don’t walk away from Pitchapalooza as a winner, you will still get closer to your dreams of being an author by learning how to pitch your book in a way that will capture the attention of agents and editors.

“In Santa Cruz I imagine we’ll get macrobiotic cookbooks, murder mysteries involving dope dealers and cool stories about the ocean,” muses Sterry. “I’ll be shocked if we don’t get a book deal out of Santa Cruz.”

So what does it take to make a winning pitch? Sterry says it’s a finesse of specific details that evoke pictorial images in the mind balanced with an overarching sense of the story. In other words, a great pitch tells a few select details that combine the macro- and micro-world in an artful way.

He also recommends that Pitchapalooza contestants follow the old writer’s adage, “Show, don’t tell.”

“People often say ‘my book is funny’ or ‘suspenseful’ or ‘lyrically poetic,’” laments the book doctor. “It’s like when someone wears a T-shirt that says ‘sexy’ on it—let me be the judge of that.

“I don’t want someone to tell me how funny their book is; I want them to make me laugh. I don’t want someone to tell me how suspenseful their book is; I want them to put me on the edge of my seat. I don’t want someone to tell me how lyrical their book is; I want them to wow me with their prose.”

 


“Pitchapalooza” will take place at Bookshop Santa Cruz at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. For more information, call 423-0900.

 

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Jovan Rameau, July 22, 2011
If I have to go to Santa Cruz for a chance like this to meet book doctors Arielle & David for this “Pitchapalooza” event, I will GO. Come what may! I will moonwalk my way to Santa Cruz from Michael Jackson's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This I swear on my life. I have a book to get published:www.dancingintheshadow.com

FROM HAITI TO MICHAEL JACKSON STAR: THIS IS HOW I EAT

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

A Different Revolution

Aries Moon late Wednesday and Thursday. We think new thoughts and initiate new ideas. Sun in Virgo with Saturn in Scorpio help disciples to create orderly structures to anchor and bring forth new ideas. Stabilizing Taurus moon Friday and Saturday. We anchor new ideas into form and matter, like seeds planted in the soil. We tend them, waiting for green shoots to emerge. Like the gestating Virgo Sun Madonna, awaiting the birth of the holy child, the Soul, the new light at winter solstice. Mercury and Chiron converse about what hurts and what heals.Saturday is a complex day with Mercury (communication), Mars (action!) and Uranus (revolution). Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries. Oppositions (recognizing something new appearing over there somewhere) eventually synthesize. Mercury in Libra calls for Right Action and Right Relations, especially with money. Uranus in Aries—the revolution this time must be different.  Also on Saturday, Mars enters Sagittarius. Where are we going, what are our goals, where’s justice, where’s the mountain, do we have good shoes? Sunday Venus trines Pluto—in-depth assessment of money, values and resources. Gemini moon Monday; we talk a lot, tending to tasks in gardens and neighborhoods. Cancer Moon Tuesday and Wednesday; we nurture and nourish. The stars and planets remind us.Note: William Meader, esoteric author & international teacher, will be speaking on “The Soul of Humanity Evolving Through Crisis” at Meditation Mount, 7pm, Friday, Sept. 12.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

What's your all-time best Skyview Flea Market score?

Santa Cruz | eBay Business

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

When you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.

 

Wood Fire Woodie

Scotts Valley pizzeria gets fired up the old-school way