In talking about pitching I focus a lot on agent pitches and the author who is searching for an agent. The question I was asked lately concerned editors. If given the opportunity to pitch an editor is there anything you should do differently?
After some thought I decided that I don’t think so. Most editors, if they are attending a pitch session, are open to the possibility of receiving unagented material. In all likelihood they would prefer working with an agent, and will recommend you get one, but if they are requesting material, they are willing to consider your work without an agent.
That being said, one great question to ask an editor during your pitch is if she has a recommendation for agents who would be good for the type of book you’re writing. Or agents she particularly likes working with. I would imagine there will be some editors who hesitate to answer that question. I would also imagine there are a few who will happily give you a short list. Keep in mind, these aren’t referrals so don’t use them as such, but it’s certainly helpful when putting together your submission list.
My advice when pitching is that you should always make an effort to know a little about the agent you’re pitching to, especially about the clients she represents. It doesn’t mean you need to have read every book, but a general feel for who a few of the authors are and the types of books they write ensure you’re pitching the right person. It also gives you a chance to ask with some knowledge if the type of book you’re writing is right for her list.
With editors that’s a little tricky. I think instead of killing yourself over Publishers Marketplace to know what the editor is buying, getting a feel for the house they work for and the types of books the house publishes is enough.