Saturday, December 01, 2007

Pitching Agents III: The Slam

A wonderful literary agent offers advice on what to do during a pitch session:
  1. Relax. This is a conversation between two polite, professional adults.
  2. Do your research. Read the Web site and otherwise carefully research any agent you're going to talk to, so you know if they're someone who might even have a chance of being right for you (and vice versa).
  3. LISTEN. After your initial pitch listen carefully to what the agent has to say. Don't argue. You can ignore what you hear later if you want, but for the moment you're getting free consulting from someone who makes a living in publishing, so take advantage of it.
From other agents:
  1. Agents and editors, for the most part, who offer to listen to pitches at a writers conference do so by choice. They want to hear the author’s pitch; they’re looking for, or are open to discovering, a new author and talent. So don’t be shy or scared.
  2. Open up your session with a one-sentence description of your book and its audience. If it's a novel, you could also discuss the arc of the storyline IN GENERAL.
  3. You may be asked for other book ideas you are working on, so be prepared to talk about them.
  4. Whether requested or rejected, use any remaining time for questions. This is really an opportunity for authors to interview agents and find out if it's the right agent for them. Ask about the agent, the agency or general publishing news.
Naturally, the last word goes to Miss Snark:
If an author finds himself trapped in an elevator with me, the only thing I want to hear is, "I've got a bottle of hooch and I want to share."

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