Coco Pinchard The Consequences Of Love And Sex is now complete. I’m always a bit sad to finish a book. Starting one is so exciting, and as you hurtle towards the final draft, all the fun you’ve had trying out ideas, and creating new characters with limitless possibilities has to be set in stone. There has to be a final draft. It has to end. Of course, it’s not the end, just the beginning, as the real work begins; promotion and book release!
The cover is now complete (I’ll be doing a cover reveal very shortly). I now need to write the book description, the blurb. The snippet that entices readers. This is the bit I’m hopeless at, boiling down my story into two hundred words or less.
A few years ago we moved to Los Angeles for a year, to work and experience life in Hollywood. When we arrived I was armed with a pile of Television pilots I’d written, plus a screenplay (which ended up becoming my novel, Lost In Crazytown).
In Hollywood, pitching your work is almost more important than writing it. My husband Ján reminded me that I had to get out there and start promoting myself. I had to perfect my pitch. With scripts, you don’t write a blurb, you need a pitch. I think it’s called a pitch because there is so much competition in Hollywood. Like a baseball pitcher you have to lob your idea at someone fast and grab their attention. You also need an ‘Elevator Pitch’ which is an even shorter, super-fast summing up of your TV pilot/screenplay, that you can blurt out at someone influential if you happen upon a chance meeting. It needn’t be an elevator, you could bump into them anywhere, but you have to be concise as they may only listen to you for ten seconds – or the time it takes to reach their destination in the elevator.
Through a miracle chance meeting, a rather wobbly pitch, and my husband Ján doing a lot of the talking, I landed a job working for the actress Jennifer Coolidge, writing additional material for her US stand up show (I think she found my stuttering Britishness quite endearing). It was a great gig, and we got to know her quite well, so when her birthday came around she invited us to a party at her house.
Jennifer lives in the Hollywood Hills in a beautiful house surrounded by palm trees, exotic flowers, and a view of the Hollywood sign. When we arrived, it was chock full with friends and industry people, actors, writers, and one very famous writer Michael Patrick-King, writer/producer/director of Sex And The City.
Ján nudged me excitedly, and I realised with sweaty palms that this was an amazing opportunity to pitch. I was in the same room as Michael Patrick King. When would that happen again? I could give him my elevator pitch. I might even get to do the full pitch.
For the rest of the evening I was in a blind panic. In Los Angeles everyone is always hustling, selling, doing deals. I could see that Michael Patrick King wasn’t working the room, rather the room was working itself around him. I stayed sat at the table with Ján, nibbling at the Thai food buffet.
‘Go and introduce yourself,’ said Ján.
‘I’ll just have another drink,’ I said, trembling. Halfway through the evening, a huge birthday cake emerged and we all sang to Jennifer, then Ján got up to get a drink and Michael Patrick King came and sat next to me! I grinned at him. He smiled politely. I picked at some peanut chicken.
Speak! I thought Say something! The silence went on as we watched the birthday cake being cut. Then Ján came back and hovered behind me, willing me to start talking. His stare turned to a glare TALK TO HIM! PITCH BITCH! I gulped and nodded. Michael Patrick King turned to get some cake, and I looked at the back of his head. It was right next to me. I thought about all the things that had come out of that head, all the ideas… The Sex And The City episodes… Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha… Carrie!
Ján rolled his eyes.
Okay, I mouthed. I had thought of something to say, could you pass me a piece of cake please? It’s a perfect conversation opener! I swallowed and went to speak, but Michael Patrick King saw a friend across the room, and excusing himself, got up to say hello. He was gone. The moment to pitch had passed, and it had been far longer than just a mere elevator ride.
I have always regretted not talking to him. But maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe in the future we’ll meet again. Maybe he’ll remember the mute British guy with peanut sauce on his face who didn’t hassle him at a private party.
I wish I’d told him how much I enjoy Sex And The City. How it inspired me, and gave me the confidence to write from the female perspective. And I really wish I’d tried out my elevator pitch on him… What might have happened?
Anyhow. Life is full of fantastic second chances and after a fun year in Los Angeles we came back to Europe with my pile of scripts and a dog-eared little bunch of papers called The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard… Since then I’ve been lucky enough to write full time, and complete three more books of Coco’s adventures. Which reminds me, back to Coco Pinchard, The Consequences Of Love And Sex. One blurb, coming right up.