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Pitching to Editors

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.

Category: BlogWriters' Conferences



  1. A perfectly timed post, Jessica, as I am pitching to an editor in August. I’d planned on using the time as much for ‘fact-finding’ as for pitching because I want an agent – so don’t want to sub directly to an editor. But now wonder if perhaps I could tailor my approach more from a pitching direction? I’m curious about your comment “In all likelihood they would prefer working with an agent”. How would you approach this:
    1. with the editor during the pitch, if they ask to see pages? Something like: “I’m really wanting an agent for my career. When I sign with one I’ll let them know you are interested in seeing pages.”?
    2. with a prospective agent? Add something like this to a query? “I have a submission request from Editor Extraordinaire, however nothing has been submitted to date.”?

    Thanks =)

    1. If you get a request I would always suggest you send it. Waiting too long can mean the editor’s interest goes away and an offer can mean an easy path to getting an agent.

  2. *Bangs head on desk

    I love YA, I’d forgotten how much until I started writing it, I’m having so much fun. But I haven’t really read much YA since my daughter moved out 3 years ago. I love my sons but our reading (and gaming) hobbies don’t always mesh. I’ve been nagging my daughter to help me find ‘nice’ YA books again, I didn’t think of looking at bookends author lists. So now I’m armed with my Kindle and heading to the bestsellers tab.

    Have a good summer everyone, I’m puppy sitting for my daughter and using it as an excuse to get a new beagle puppy. Well, poor Daisy will be sooo lonely all by herself. Wish me luck.

    1. Sadly it’s mid-winter here, Hollie. On the upside, it’s mid-winter which means the days are getting longer and in a few months it will be warmer *grin*.

      Beagle pup! Is an excuse needed? Enjoy your dog sitting and the new puppy 😉

  3. I stand corrected, reading through the YA blurbs and CC Hunter’s Shadow falls series caught my eye.
    The blurb sounded really familiar, it turns out that middle son (16) has read the series and as soon as he saw there was a book he was missing bought it for his Wales trip on Monday.

    The good news is we already have the other books, the really good news, Josh is now reading all your YA blurbs. Which means they come out of the kid’s book allowance, not mine and hubby doesn’t limit the kids book buying as long as they read.

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