Last weekend, I was one of 60 wannabe writers to storm a room filled with publishers at a Writers Victoria / Australian Society of Authors ‘Literary speed dating’ event.

There were only two publishers focussing on commercial women’s fiction – Hachette and Text – so they were top of my list! I made a beeline straight for the former, figuring I was on the same side of the room and could get there fairly quickly once the doors opened.

Elbows held politely by my side, I walked as quickly as I could and made it third in line. Each person had a very strict three minutes with each publisher – the ‘speed’ in ‘speed dating’ – however I think some could have done ejector seats!

I took a short, one page pitch and the first page of my manuscript. This is now the third draft of said ms and I’m delighted with how it’s turning out – that continual layering and finessing is really making a difference!

Fingers crossed that whatever I said works – three minutes can be either very short or very long… depending on the facial cues and responsiveness of the publisher on the other side of the table! I can tell you it’s then a very long time waiting in between pitches. You get into a queue and wait for ages until it’s your turn. The adrenaline wanes and nervous tension sets in – each time!

As I’d booked so far in advance, had left two sick children at home, travelled from regional Victoria for two nights in Melbourne and have been writing so long… I decided not just to leave it with my main ms. I took pitches for a children’s story and a young adult novel as well – and with mixed results.

Nobody was interested in my proposed YA novel, which was quite good considering it’s only a couple of thousand words long and I could have laboured over it for years! It is something I want to work on in the future, but I will leave it for now!

One publisher took my children’s picture book ms, but if I don’t get anywhere there, I have a plan forming in that regard. My regular self publishing podcasts have been talking about the rise of audio books – I’m thinking that something along those lines with children’s stories would be a plan at some point in the future.

I have no idea whether I’ll hear anything back about Flying In, Flying Out but it won’t be the end if I don’t… if there’s anything I’ve learned through the process is that there are many different options and giving up isn’t one of them!