Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pitching to an Agent

I'm happy to report that my first experience pitching to an agent was a very pleasant one. I had the opportunity to do this at the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together in West Chester, Ohio. For an excellent rundown of this event, check out Renee Vincent's blog at http://bit.ly/dhtdQO.

Before attending the conference, I asked several writers for advice about pitching. Some of the most important things I learned were:
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare!
  • Do your research. Make sure the agent you talk to represents the type of book you've written.
  • Be in love with your story, know it inside and out, and be enthusiastic about it!
  • Prepare a two to three sentence summary of the book, complete with hook, description and word count.
  • Be prepared to describe something that makes your book unique.
  • Be prepared to explain your target audience and age demographic.
  • Be prepared to tell what authors your writing style resembles.
  • Be preparedd to ask the agent questions, such as, "What are you looking for in a first time author?"
  • Be professional. The pitch is like a job interview.
  • You really won't know what to expect!

I felt prepared. But after pitching my three sentence summary, the agent only asked one question, specifically about my book, that I hadn't expected! Even though my answer wasn't polished, since I hadn't anticipated that question, the agent still expressed interest and asked me to submit a few pages and a synopsis. Of course she can't commit to anything until she's read my material to determine if it's a proper fit for her agency.

Overall, the pitch was a positive experience, and the agent I spoke to was kind, approachable, and gave me her undivided attention. My best advice to anyone pitching--be prepared, because you really won't know what to expect!

What's your best advice for pitching to an agent or editor?

Follow me on Twitter: @maria_mckenzie.

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