Step 1 -- Prepare
- Complete the manuscript. Have it ready to submit.
- Have the right mindset, try not to think this one pitch are“the big chance." It’s one conversation, there will be more.
- Do your research. Be sure that person wants what you have, the more specific the better. www.publishersmarketplace is a great place for information.
- Prepare 3 index cards. 3 One for the story-line, one for characters,and one for your questions.
Step 2 – Get started
- Arrive early; don’t drink too much coffee/sugar/alcohol.
- Dress professionally; leave your giant, overstuffed conference tote bags with the check-in desk.
Step 3 – Be at ease
- Introduce yourself, shake hands, and make eye contact.
- Be pleasant, enthusiastic and lively.
Step 4 – Throw the pitch
- Keep the story-line focused and short, then tell about the characters, then how your work stands out (theme, characters, hook?)
- Read from the index cards if you must.
- Pitch one book, two at the most. Offer more if asked.
- If the editor/agent cuts you off to ask questions, stop saying whatever it was you were saying and address whatever he/she asked.
- If editor/agent is not interested do not discuss how to rewrite book to make him/her want it. Ask your prepared questions instead.
- In group appointments, the same applies; yes you have to share the time but 1) you will learn by listening to others and 2) group appointments are less likely to get canceled.
Step 7 – Ask questions
- Agents and editors want questions. Ask specific, but not pointed, questions.
- Don't ask the editor or agent what you should write next.
- Don't ask about other editors or agents.
Step 6 – Close
- A short appointment is not a bad sign.
- Leave your business card with your title on the back.
- Thank them for their time, say something nice.
Step 7 – Enjoy the afterglow
- Send whatever you agreed to send.
- If you were not asked to send anything, send a thank you note.