Monday, May 14, 2012

365 Days of the Query: The In-Person Pitch

Since it's conference season, a lot of people are preparing in-person pitches. I did some at Desert Dreams, but before I share what I learned, be sure to read this post from Meredith Barnes' blog, La Vie en Prose.

Here's what I have to add:

1. You don't (necessarily) need a script.

A lot of people bring index cards with a fully-written pitch written out. That's fine if that works for you, but if you work better with bullet-points, use those instead.

However, you should at least have your one-line hook memorized (including word-count, title and genre). Also have basic plot points ready when the agent asks you questions about your book.

2. Be yourself.

For my first pitch, I was unnecessarily formal, and it didn't work in my favor. One way to stand out is to demonstrate your personality, and individuality. Remember, agents are people too. Just talk to them like you would anyone else--not just about books or writing--but any topic that is of interest to both of you.

3. Use the opportunity well.

Getting pages or requests from an agent is a good goal, but it shouldn't be the only one. Agents are a wealth of knowledge about the publishing industry--use this to your advantage and ask questions.

Do you have tips for  in-person pitches? Add them in the comments section!


Angelica R. Jackson said...

I would say that #3 could just as easily say the goal is for the agent to ask for MORE. Whether that means pages, more about you and your work, advice on where to eat dinner--the connection is important.

The Writer Librarian said...

Great advice, Angelica. Will definitely keep that in mind for future pitches!