Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pitching to Editors and Agents

I have to tell you, I've been exploring the "social" media of Facebook and Twitter, in addition to my web page and MySpace, and it's enough to keep a person too busy to write. But yesterday (Saturday), I tweeted or twittered (whatever) about pitching to an editor or agent at a conference, so I thought I'd share with you guys as well.

Every year, I get to organize pitches for two or three (or more) writer's conferences, and apparently, I've become the go-to girl for such things. In June, I'll be attending a conference for which I have secured three editors, one confirmed agent and possibly another, and two movie producers. I'm kind of proud of myself, happy I was able to provide this quality and quantity to this con and ready to spend some time myself talking to my pitching guests.

On the first day of this con, I'll be doing a workshop on pitching. A lot of the people who have signed up are already excited to attend my workshop, and I hope I can provide them the information and confidence for them to ace their pitch sessions and hopefully get asked to submit.

So here are some of my tips to make your pitch sessions work for you.
#1. First, please dress appropriately. I can't tell you how many people show up in sloppy or costume clothes, looking goofy or scary or both. I'm pretty sure most agents and editors don't want to sit down with people dressed like that. Business casual is my suggestion, because sometimes the editors/agents show up dressed in suits and blazers, and sometimes they're wearing jeans and T's. If you dress business casual, you show you're in the business of writing - not the weird end of the scale.

#2. Shake hands firmly, but not too firmly. I hate those limp fish handshakes. Ick. A handshake can tell the other person a little bit about you, so shake hands like you mean business, because, again, writing IS a business.

#3. Be on time, and be prepared. Have your pitch rehearsed and perfect. Practice in front of the mirror, if you have to, but be ready to talk when they ask - "So tell me about your book." And always have a backup. They might not want your first idea, or say something like "I don't think that will work for us," so be prepared to pitch something else. You need to have a second pitch, also, because the editor/agent wants to know you have more than one book in you. Make yourself a cheat sheet if you have to.

#4. Don't bring your book, manuscript, sample chapters or anything but your cheat sheet unless you have a) asked permission or b) been asked or invited to do so.

Well, that's a start. If you have questions, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you.
In the meantime, happy writing!

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