Pitch the Publisher – unexpected lessons learned

Recently, the 20th annual Read by the Sea literary festival took place in little ol’ River John, Nova Scotia. Not sure if this was a first time offering in the program of activities, but there was a ‘Pitch the Publisher’ session on the Saturday morning of the main event. I thought wonderful, let’s take advantage of this. Like many people, with both writing and photography, everyone wants to/thinks they can become a writer or photographer with the advent of self-publishing and digital photography respectively.

My partner, Mr. C5, like me has his own blog. We have two very different writing styles which in my opinion and others is quite complementary. But his writing is quite unique again from what others tell us. Thus I made a decision last year that I wanted to try to get Mr. C5 published but using a real publisher, not self-publishing. Not only does he have a unique writing style, but the messages he is trying to impart are so pertinent, necessary, urgent during these very uncertain times which are leading to climate collapse. I really do think we have something that would be of interest to many, actually something that could prove to be super useful. I am saying this because of the feedback we get from blog visitors, people we know and many we do not know. The one page pitch specifics is included below.

I/we didn’t have much time to prepare. It turns out that I missed seeing the information where I was to submit a package of materials, answering a set of questions, which would then be provided to the publishers who would be in attendance at the event, by a deadline in the previous month. I also found out that there were more pitches than spots to present, so a panel reviewed the pitches and chose amongst them. I was advised I might still be able to pitch if there was some time after the chosen ones had pitched.

So I got the package together, resumes of both of us, target audience, genre, description in a few sentences, an example of writing and a list of tentative chapters. I was planning on doing the pitch since one of Mr. C5’s forte is not public speaking. However in the days leading up to the event, he stated he wanted and felt he could do the pitch. So I acquiesced since the bulk of the book/project was going to be his work.

Well things did not go exactly as hoped or planned. On the positive side we actually did get to pitch, having just a few minutes to do it. On the negative side, Mr. C5 really didn’t convey what he needed to in the 3 minutes we had which was what I had expected. Needless to say I was really disappointed in how this transpired. As is usual, it takes me about a day to figure out why I had the emotional reaction I did. I realized I was embarrassed. I felt our ‘performance’ was so unprofessional, unrehearsed, so very amateurish. I expressed and articulated how I felt – that is my way even if my words might be painful to hear for me and the receiver.

However it was later that night that I had the more important, sobering learning. I have written elsewhere explorations of my privilege. In this case I have had the good fortune of having access to a good education up to the highest level that one can obtain – the doctoral degree. You better be sure you can write to do this, but also as an academic you need to be able to engage in public speaking as this is what teaching is all about (I know there are so many academics that are terrible public speakers – that is another story). The point is that my upper middle class background has provided me with communication skills that Mr. C5 did not have access to because of his very challenging life circumstances. Yes he can write and write well, having a very good vocabulary and decent spelling, but his voice was not heard, silenced actually because of his lower socio-economic status. I of course felt terrible but at the same time really appreciated this learning, a reminder of my background and what I so often take for granted. Humbling indeed.

And so without further ado, here was the written portion of our pitch. Comments appreciated.

Read by the Sea

Pitch the Publisher

July 6th, 2019

Idea for the book: 

Imagine the Road Warrior meets Sarah Connor (Terminator franchinse movies)

C5 presents the Adapters Movement:  Post Modern Survivalism Exposed.  Tales from the Dark Green Mountain Survival Research Centre, an experiment in homesteading, permaculture and off-grid living in an age of planetary collapse.  Co-authored by Mr. & Mrs. C5.

Why we are the most qualified people to write this book: 

Ever since Mr. C5 learned about the concept of exponential population growth at the tender age of 8, he had dedicated his life to becoming the ultimate boy scout; Mrs. C5 came to acknowledge the dire state of affairs through her sociology teaching.  Together they have more than 5 decades of experience living off-grid, creating self-sufficient systems for food & shelter, resulting in many lessons learned through failure, adaptation, more failure and some success. 

Why anyone would want to read this book:

The world is facing anthropomorphic climate chaos, resource depletion and economic contraction resulting in societal disintegration.  If you are wondering how you, your family and friends might survive these inevitable disasters of our age, this is the book for you.  Exploring the origins of the Adapters Movement, the Survivalist and Prepper movements will be described and critiqued. 

In the vein of Jacques Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, Mr. C5 has a unique writing voice, irrevent, edgy and humourous.  Not for the faint of heart, if you walk away not feeling jolted out of your complacency, then nothing will. 

Genre:  Nonfiction, a guide for those seeking to get through the global changes we are facing

Target audience:  Anyone who is woke to what is happening to the planet

Tentative chapters:

  • Introduction
  • The collapse and chaos we are facing
  • Stages of grief: Emotional and psychological adaptation
  • The Antecedents of the Adapters Movements:  The path from survivalism to prepping to adaptation
  • The Adapters Movement summarized
  • Principles of the Adapters Movement – a chapter per principle
  • Conclusion
  • Resources

I have already done some research into what publishers I will target, ones of course that would be interested in this subject matter. New Society Publishers (Canadian) & Chelsea Green Publishers (U.S.) come to mind.

So what do you think?

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2 Responses to Pitch the Publisher – unexpected lessons learned

  1. Tyler says:

    Interesting. What’s more interesting is the lack of response since this was posted 2 weeks ago which surprises me. I don’t check your jobsite often but I would have thought there would be the odd comment by now.
    So. I’ll jump in. I agree Ross’ writings are unique, edgy, thought provoking and humorous. And there is definitely a goldmine of information squirreled away in his head. But I think the main focus of your pitch is too dark (whether its dark or not, publishers will be very careful with dark product). This reply box is not the appropriate method for providing feedback other than in general terms. I’ll send you an email of suggestions.

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