Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pitching to an Editor or Agent?

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.