Greetings Fellow Scribes!
Okay, I'm going to keep it short and sweet since spring has sprung and we're all no doubt enjoying all of the Cadbury eggs floating about this week.
Lately I've come across a bit of a sticky wicket, and I would love your opinion. I'm calling it "Le Pitch", which is defined as a person pitching writing services to fellow writing group members. If you're so fortunate as to be unfamiliar with this practice, let me explain.
Over the past few years I've been a member of two different writing groups where other members, under the guise of being fellow writers, have pitched fee-paying services to other group members via group meetings or e-mail (using private e-mail addresses lifted from the group directory). To be clear, I am not referring to the listing of writing services on a group resource page, or to a speaker who has been invited to address the group about writing services.
Now I do not in any way begrudge anyone the ability to make a buck, and I am certain that there are many terrific writing service providers out there who are doing a lot of good for our fellow writers. But le pitch is not helping writers; if anything it is stifling their voices. At least that's what I assume happened to the woman I saw caught in the snare of this ugly practice. Fresh pages in hand, she stood in front of a group and read her work, her voice trembling and her hands shaking. When she was finished, the member making le pitch leaned over and handed her a business card for editorial services. The woman stuffed the card and her pages into her bag, beat a path to the door twenty minutes later, and never returned.
Come on! There's a time and a place to make le pitch, and a writing group is not one of them. And yet this new custom seems to be taking hold. It's a practice that seems akin to therapists infiltrating twelve step meetings for the purposes of advertising their counseling services. In other words, a violation of the spirit of the organization, and a way to thwart the purpose of the group.
But what do I know? I could be wrong. What do you think? Has this ever happened to you? Am I out of line on this one, or do you agree?