Dear Miss Snark:
I've heard it said before that the publishing world is very, very small, and I'm now starting to panic. Last year I attended a quite horrible "pitch" conference where I paid to learn my pitch in one day (ha) then pitch it to four editors (one senior, three acquiring) from fairly large houses. Needless to say, I felt my pitch at the time was horrible, and that I was horrible too (as in nervous as hell and not as prepared as I'd hoped). I did not show my writing to any of the editors except one (the senior editor) who asked for it and told me she loved my writing but thought that the first chapter needed revising for plot. She wanted me to let her know what I did with it, and I'm planning to send it to her again soon. My question is, have I now completely blown my chances of ever getting published with those other houses, since the acquiring editors didn't ask to see the writing after my pitch?? Or am I being paranoid. (I can feel the sting of the cluegun as I write this).
If they haven't read your work, it doesn't count as a pass.
Pitching is vastly over rated as a way to present books.
I hate "the pitch", and I think it's useless from querier to agent. Being able to talk about a book persuasively in 30 seconds is NOT something you can just quickly learn to do. I work on it every day, and hone pitches repeatedly for books I represent and this is my FULL TIME JOB. I write down my pitch and I use a script to pitch when I'm on the phone. And I'm not nervous. Face to face with an editor at a conference, I'd be tongue tied and shaking in my stiletto heeled boots too.
Far better to write a zippy query letter with a good hook and some bio, and let me read five compelling pages.
Polish your query letter and get back in the ring.