Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
May 04th
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

 

Mountain Mystic

When Cora Evans died in Boulder Creek in 1957, her thousands of pages of religious writings hadn’t yet been published. More than a half a century later, Evans’ fiery visions and spiritual devotion have inspired a crusade within Catholicism to make her the Santa Cruz Mountains’ first saint

 

Wesak (Water) Taurus Solar Festival, Buddha Blesses the Earth

A most important celebration occurs Sunday, May 3—the Wesak Taurus Buddha Solar Festival/full moon. At the moment of the full moon the Buddha’s presence enters the Earth plane for eight minutes. He brings the Will-to-Good from the Father, which, when reaching humanity becomes goodwill (Mother Principle). Held yearly in a valley hidden deep within the Himalayas, the Wesak festival is prepared for for months in advance (beginning at Winter Solstice). On festival day, amidst pilgrims, disciples and Holy Ones gathered in the valley, the Buddha is invoked through movement, symbols and mantrams. At the moment of the full moon, hearing the words, “We are ready, Buddha, come,” the Lord of Illumination (brother of the Christ) appears in the clouds above the altar to emanate forth the will and purpose of God to earth. The blessing of the father is then held in safekeeping for distribution at the June full moon Goodwill Festival. The day of Wesak (May 3, 8:42 p.m. West Coast) all disciples (east and west) place crystal vessels filled with pure water outside (in gardens, on rooftops, porches and steps) under the heavens. As the Buddha blesses the world, all waters, including waters within our bodies, are blessed. The Buddha is accompanied by the Forces of Enlightenment to illuminate humanity’s minds. Humanity then begins to express new constructive, productive and beneficial ways of the Art of Livingness. Wesak covers five days—two days (before) of dedicated preparation, the actual festival “Day of Safeguarding,” and two days (after) distributing goodwill (the NGWS to humanity). Join us in the Valley by reciting the Great Invocation, mantra of direction for humanity.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 1

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Hole in the Wall

Popular Aptos spot opens for dinner

 

How do you connect with the natural world?

My connection to the natural world is through my art. I totally feel it there very physically in nature and even right here on the street. Jonathan Rosen, Felton, Pastor

 

Hess Collection Winery

My friend Emma from London came to visit for a few days in early March, so I took her wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains—a rare treat for her, as there aren’t too many vineyards in the middle of London. Her visit reminded me how fortunate we are to live in this paradise of ultra-fresh produce, with grapes growing in wild profusion.

 

Springtime Walkabout

May Day Flower Festival, free tours of the UCSC Farm, and a nondairy chocolate indulgence