WestBow Authors Attend the Book-to-Screen PitchFest New York 2013

Shauna Mayer, author of WestBow Press title “Confessions of 5 Christian Wives,” practices her pitch with Keith Ogorek.

This past weekend, about 100 authors came together in the heart of Times Square in New York City at the Marriott Marquis for the Book to Screen PitchFest event, where authors learn how to pitch their book’s movie, television and theater potential to entertainment representatives and then have the chance to pitch their stories. WestBow Press was represented at this event by two authors who pitched their Christian stories to representatives from a range of top companies in television, film, and talent management.

During the event, authors heard from Robert Kosberg, known as Hollywood’s “King of the Pitch.” Mr. Kosberg has had years of experience pitching stories that ultimately are made in to movies. On Saturday morning he gave an entertaining and informative lecture, stressing the importance of having a great idea that you can present in a compelling way. After the lecture, the group divided into three rooms to practice delivering their two minute pitch directly to either Mr. Kosberg; Keith Ogorek, Senior VP of Global Marketing for Author Solutions; or Caroline Weiss, Author Solutions’ Director of New Media.

Kenneth Regan, author of “A Christmas Miracle Comes to Holy Nativity,” attended the recent PitchFest in New York City.

During this practice round they were given  advice about improving their pitch, and benefited from hearing the advice and pitches for the other authors in their group. WestBow Press author Shauna Mayer, who wrote her non-fiction book “Confessions of 5 Christian Wives,” presented her pitch and was told during the practice round that it sounded like it would make a great faith-based reality TV show. After the practice round and Mr. Kosberg’s lecture, Mayer and the other authors were able to revise their pitches and present their ideas in the most compelling way.

The afternoon brought the main event, a speed-dating style series of pitching books to New York entertainment representatives. Using their new skills, authors told their story in two minutes or less to nine different companies. The pitches were scored.  Representatives interested in any of the stories pitched, have the option of requesting a full manuscript for review.

Kenneth Regan, author of “A Christmas Miracle Comes to Holy Nativity” from WestBow Press, said this about his pitching experience:

“I entered the event hotel with trepidation not knowing what lay ahead.  But from my first greeting at the event, I was made to feel comfortable.  The opening night was a chance to meet other authors, which I found to be a very supportive community.  We also met the speakers who would lead us through the weekend.  They were informative and made themselves available throughout the event to answer any questions, offer suggestions, and calm nerves.  The advice and coaching made us well prepared for our pitches.  While the pitching experience was quite nerve-wracking, it also proved to be exhilarating.  The event was put together well, making for a positive overall experience.  Even if nothing else comes from it, it proved to be a valuable learning experience.  And who knows what it may lead to?”

 


Eileen K Parsons: Writing, Selling, and Keeping Your Sanity

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Eileen K Parsons; author of “The First Rose of Summer.”

Prior to publishing my novel, “The First Rose of Summer,” if anyone had ever said to me, “The writing part is easy,” I would have thought they were crazy.  I’ve been writing for years.  Some days the words flow easily.  Other days, just focusing on the computer screen takes real effort.  Writing is a part of me.  I love it, but never would I say “it’s easy.”

Editing is far more difficult, sometimes downright painful.  Those first changes are the hardest.  ParsonsThese words are a part of you.  It’s like being told to cut off a finger.  But, the editor is an expert, it’s their job.  So, just as we don’t need eleven fingers, that extra, unnecessary scene has to be cut.  And, once finished, the editing has made your work greater.

Finally, it’s written, it’s edited, it’s sent to the publisher.  Release dates are set, launches are scheduled.  By the grace and direction of the Lord, your book is ready for the masses.  Your private launch is successful; family and friends buy your book and, thanks to their recommendations to their family and friends, your first public signing is also a success.

Those first signings, however, are not reality.  The real work is about to begin.

The independent book store hosts your next signing.  Refreshments are offered.  You set up your table, pray for God’s continued blessing and smile as the doors open.  Two people walk in.  Both stop for refreshments.  One takes cookies and coffee, tips his hat to you and promptly leaves the store.  The second customer walks over to your table, munching on a cookie and sipping their coffee.

“So, you wrote this?  Where can I get a copy?” they ask, admiring the cover and reading the description.

“Well, yes I did write it, and you can get it here, in this store,” you reply with a smile.

“No, I mean is it available in a real bookstore?  You know, like (chain bookstore)?”

You feel that “you’ve-got-to-be-kidding” look on your face.  “Yes, it’s available through (chain bookstore),” you reply.  You’d like to add, “This IS a real book store.  Look around!”  But, you don’t; you remain professional.

“Okay, thanks,” they say, turning away, scattering cookie crumbs as they leave the store.

Selling our book is the hardest stage.  Frustration and discouragement taunt us endlessly.  To overcome them, we must remember that not everyone wants what we offer.  Don’t take it personally.  More importantly, we must focus on God and His hand in our journey.  Trusting Him and His call on our life will help us stay sane, even as the cookie crumbs trail out the door.

–  Eileen K Parsons
10/12/13

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 300- 450 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Cynthia Eggl: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Author Shares Her Story of Survival

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Cynthia Eggl; breast cancer survivor and author of ““Boundless Blessings and God’s Grace – My Journey through Breast Cancer.”

I completed monthly breast self-exams, annual mammograms starting at age forty, annual physicals, with no indication of breast cancer.  Excruciating breast pain radiating out under my left arm finally forced me to my doctor’s office. Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family; I’m the first to be diagnosed with this disease. I was stunned when I learned I had stage

Cynthia Eggl chats with a reader at a recent book signing.

Cynthia Eggl chats with a reader at a recent book signing.

2b breast cancer in April 2011. Despite having a double lumpectomy, removal of nine lymph nodes, sixteen chemo, and thirty-three radiation treatments, I decided I would take action to help others—by educating people about being proactive, rather than reactive, and encouraging and inspiring them to offer up their walk to God, should they be placed in a similar circumstance. I chose faith over worry!

There is no doubt in my mind that God entrusted me with the message of hope, which I shared when I published my book, Boundless Blessings and God’s Grace—My Journey through Breast Cancer. Publishing a book was never on my bucket list. Many family members and those closest to me told me what an inspiration I had been to them and others throughout my battle. Writing my journal was cathartic—it helped me deal with my emotions, allowing me to provide updates as to how I was coping. But it also provided a way to spread the message to trust in God during challenging times, to educate people about awareness, preventative care, and offered a look from a patient’s perspective in surviving this grueling health ordeal as I fought for my life.

Eggl CoverA recent gratifying moment occurred when I stopped in an office to drop off my signed books, and by the time I left, I had sold and signed three more books. One person purchased my book because of a recent TV story I had done, and she wanted her sister, who had been recently diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer, to be able to read it for encouragement. I have six book-signing events scheduled during October and November, giving me a chance to thank people for their prayers, compassion, and support.

I am still fighting the side effects of my breast cancer battle today, but I take whatever it is God gives me and make the most of every day. My favorite quote is, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” I am quite simply grateful to be alive!

My book is available as an ebook, in paperback and hardcover, published by Westbow Press.  More information can be found at www.boundlessblessingsandgodsgrace.com or my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Cynthia-J-Eggl/137992159692239

– Cynthia Eggl
10/3/2013

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 300- 450 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


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