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  • Writer's pictureJudy

April 28, 2024: Pitching Agents

I attended a Writer’s Conference earlier this month.  Like all conferences, it was invigorating to be gathered together with other professionals in the world of writing.  The passion and enthusiasm of fellow writers, along with the knowledge and insight of industry professionals, is always a winning combination.

 

 

At this conference, I was also lucky enough to have scheduled one-on-one pitch sessions with four different literary agents. Getting a chance to actually sit across the table from an agent, as you tell them about your project, is priceless.

 

I was nervous.  Each session was only 10 minutes, so I planned and practiced my pitch.  I revised and revised and rewrote. I studied and rehearsed. I visualized and imagined.

 

While all writers prepare for these types of things in ways that work for them, here are my tips for how to prepare to pitch an agent!

 

Tips:

-       Do some research on the agent.

o   This allows you to pick an agent to pitch to who is actually interested in your genre, but it will also give you a way to connect your pitch to what they are seeking. “I know you like fast-paced mysteries, and I think my manuscript will check that box for you!”

 

-       Make sure your pitch includes the essentials.

o   Genre, audience, and word count right up front, so the agent knows what they are listening to, and then the usual- main characters, plot, the struggle or themes. Don’t spoil the ending though, as you want to entice the agent into wanting to read the manuscript!

 

-       Add some information about you.

o   What are your writing credentials, your expertise, and why are you the one to tell this story? Keep the information focused on you as a professional author, and not your gardening hobby, (unless of course, the book is about gardening!)

 

-       Practice your pitch.

o   Most pitch sessions are very short, so you want to take advantage of every minute, without sounding like you are racing to the end. This takes practice. Breathe, pause, smile, and look at the agent.

 

-       Listen to the Agent’s advice!

o   Yes, do everything in your power to increase your chance of success, and dream big, but realize that if you can walk away with insightful feedback, some tips from the agent, or even just an honest “why this project won’t work for me”, that can be counted as a win.

 

These kind of pitch sessions are usually pretty tightly run as well. There are places where writers wait for their opportunity to sit across from the agent, gathered with our notes and folders. I found this time to be a mini-support session. Writers chatting with each other about their projects, their manuscripts, and how nervous everyone is. The comradery was instant, and the best wishes given were sincere.

 

Yes, preparation is the key to success. Especially when pitching to literary agents!




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