I’ll be attending a writers’ conference and have a 10-minute appointment with a literary agent. Do you have any suggestions on what the pitch should – and shouldn’t – include? Is there something people do that really annoys you? Anything that’s particularly effective?
The most important thing your pitch should include is your blurb. Really, it doesn’t need to be that different from your query letter, a short, compelling description of your book. Everyone is different, very different, when it comes to what makes a successful pitch. I think it’s Janet Reid who has posted on the subject, and what she’s looking for is different from what I want to see. All that being said, if you give a short, compelling pitch you’ll win an agent over every time.
Here are my tips for pitching successfully.
- Bring along your query, a short 1-2 page synopsis, and the first chapter of your book. Have it out when you sit down in case the agent finds it easier to read off that.
- When you sit down, introduce yourself and take a moment to ask the agent how she’s doing or how she’s enjoying the conference. In other words, a few seconds or a minute of small talk tends to break the ice and make everyone a little more comfortable.
- Start your pitch with your title and genre, then give your blurb. Your blurb should not go on and on. It only needs to be a written paragraph, and if it’s easier for you to read it go ahead and read it.
- Have questions. In other words, use your time wisely. When authors pitch to me I’ll often ask questions about the book, but I always ask the author if she has any questions for me. Have some. This is your one-on-one time with an agent, so use it. Ask questions about her, the agency, the business of publishing. Think of it as a pre-interview. If she calls to offer representation, you already have a sense of how well you talk and how comfortable you are with her.
- Relax and enjoy yourself. 10 minutes can go quickly.