Monday, April 30, 2012

How to pitch to an editor or agent

Get ready for your pitch session!

  • Be professional.
  • Dress in business casual.
  • Don't chew gum.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Be friendly, but not over-friendly.

  • Have your elevator pitch ready, one to two sentences of your book. 
  • (Love this idea!) Have something prepared like a one-page synopsis of your book to hand to the agent. Here's an idea: one sheet with summary of book at the top, bullet points of key features that would help it be marketable, ideas for marketing and a little bit about yourself.
  • Do what feels right to you like practice your pitch or have notes in front of you.
  • When the meeting is over say "thank you" and move on.
  • Clarify what they are asking you to send, how and where.
  • If they say "I wish I could take it on", ask "do you know of an agent or editor who might be interested?" Write down the names. After the conference contact the other agents or editors and say "so-and-so at the writers conference said you might be interested in seeing my work."
  • They might say something about how the story isn't working. Now is your opportunity to talk to a professional. Ask what they think would be better or make it more marketable. They may not know without looking at the full work but it can't hurt to ask.

Use a writers conference as an opportunity to further your career!


Julie Daines said...

These are great tips! Although I've always heard NEVER give anything to an agent unless they ask for it--such as a synopsis, first chapter, or anything.

I usually have something prepared, but I've never yet given it away. Half the time, they don't even want my business card.

My other advice to you Taffy, start off with that little three liner hook, then when she says, "Hmmm" in an "I'm intrigued" way, give her the brief query pitch we worked on. Then, let her ask the questions about the story and you answer.

Agents are looking for--or avoiding--certain things, let her ask the questions to get the information about your story that may interest her.

With my latest pitch to Sara Megibow, she specifically asked if this was another high school story. I was surprised by that question. Apparently she did not want a YA set mostly in high school. So when I answered No, she seemed even more pleased.

Then, as your time is winding down and if you feel a lag in conversation, thank them for taking the time to visit our conference.

And there it is, my two cents of pitching to agents advice. It got me full request! And I'm sure you'll get a request too! You already did once!!!

Taffy said...

Thanks, Julie! You always help me and give good advice! I'm practicing my pitch today. And tomorrow. And Friday. :)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Great advice! Pitch sessions are the best!

Andrea said...

I heard agents rarely take on in person pitches. I wonder how true it is.