Sharpening the Wit
I’ll be pitching GLAMOUR to agents this weekend at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. It will be my first time pitching this story, but not my first time pitching to agents. The process is nerve-wracking, although I’ve always had at least one agent request pages as a result of my stammering about my latest project. I have experience pitching to at least a dozen agents, and this is what I’ve learned:
Be polite. To everyone.
Practice your pitch, and bring a hard copy to read from, just in case you’re too nervous to remember it.
Prioritize the agents you want to talk to. You may only get a chance to pitch to one agent, so make sure the one you pitch to is the best one for you. If you don’t know how to figure that out, look the agent up in Publishers Marketplace, and check to see how successful they are at sellingbooks in your genre. Sometimes, agents say they are seeking to represent writers in a certain genre, but if they haven’t ever sold anything in that genre, you might reconsider pitching to them.
Don’t pitch to agents who aren’t actively seeking writers in your genre. It wastes their time, and you may actually prevent someone else from talking to that agent.
Don’t take their comments about your storyas comments about you. Take what they say as a learning experience and move on to the next agent.
If an agent isn’t interested, don’t argue. Thank them for their time and move on to the next agent.
If an agent gives you the nod and asks for pages, make sure you understand exactly what she/he wants and how she wants you to send it before you walk away.
If you get the nod, be happy, but don’t go overboard. A request for pages is no guarantee that the agent will like your writing or be willing to represent you. In fact, you may never hear from the agent again. But then again, you might.