The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday January 27th

Writers pitch books at Flyleaf

Author David Henry Sterry attended a party in San Francisco where people drunkenly pitched book ideas to a publisher.

Sterry said this party was the influence for the largely successful event, Pitchapalooza, which is expected to bring hundreds of people to Flyleaf Books on Saturday.

The event gives local writers the opportunity to be published by pitching their book ideas to a panel in one minute.

Sterry and his wife, Arielle Eckstut, created Pitchapalooza and are promoting and organizing the event.

Bookstores around the country have hosted the event since its inception five years ago.

“There are so many talented writers who aren’t able to get their work out into the world because they don’t understand how the book business works,” Sterry said. “And that’s part of what we supply to them.”

Sterry said, at the event, participants must purchase a copy of his and Eckstut’s book, “The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published,” in order to be eligible to pitch their idea. As many as 20 writers will be selected at random to pitch from those who purchase the book.

“We critique their pitches in a kind, gentle way,” Sterry said. “No one is going to ask the writers who dressed them this morning or whether they cut their hair in a Cuisinart.”

Eckstut said that on average, the event draws between 150 and 250 writers who want to pitch.

Those not selected will receive a 20-minute consultation with Sterry and Eckstut about their idea. Eckstut said they hear ideas from amateur writers who haven’t written a book yet to ideas from established authors.

“There’s so much mean, bitter, angry nastiness in the publishing business and we don’t think it’s right,” Sterry said. “Our job is to help people no matter what stage they are in the process.”

Sterry and Eckstrut will serve on a judging panel with Craig Popelars, Chuck Adams and Cathy Pories from Chapel Hill-based Algonquin Books. They will select a winner at the end of the event.

Sterry said they match the winning writer with a publisher that is best suited for their work.

Jamie Fiocco, one of the owners of Flyleaf, said the event should bring a lot of writers.

“The number one question we get everyday from writers is, ‘How do I get published?’” Fiocco said. “And I think this event will be good for that.”

Eckstut said the event is educational, even to those watching and not pitching ideas.

“The art of pitching extends far beyond the book to really everything that you want to do and that you have a dream with in your life,” Eckstut said.

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