The Blog

All Posts in Category: Pitch sessions

Why You Should Meet New People

The publishing business is based on relationships. It’s much easier to sign with an agent if the agent has met you or one of her clients refers you. Contacts are important — and just as important is having friends who know what it’s like to get three rejection letters in one day.

Attending writing workshops and conferences can increase your writing skills, put you in touch with agents and editor who might be able to do you good, help you understand the ins and outs of publishing, and teach you how to succeed. Plus, you may meet some friends you’ll put on speed dial.

  • Professional writers are always looking for experts to interview or work with. If you’re an expert, they’ll be interested in knowing about your subject and your book.
  • Learn about the publishing business in a hands-on, question-and-answer way.
  • Skip the conferences meant for beginners. You won’t meet established, professional writers there.
  • Conferences are a great place to meet potential editors and agents. Some conferences have times specifically set aside for you to meet with editors and agents to tell them about your book and find out if they’d be interested in it.
  • Go with an open mind. You may not meet the Hollywood producer who can change your life, but you may meet a lifelong friend – and that will also change your life!

Seven Tips for Pitch Sessions

Pitch sessions are a popular draw at writers’ conferences. Editors or agents agree to meet with a number of writers for a few minutes each and give those writers the opportunity to pitch their book idea.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not going to sell your book in a five-minute (or even a ten-minute) session with an agent.  So relax.  What you’re trying to do is start a relationship.  That’s how books get sold.  While it’s important to think about what you’re going to say ahead of time, if you get too focused on you and your pitch, you won’t listen to what the editor or agent is saying.  It’s hard to make a connection with someone if all you can think about is your own agenda.

That said, here are 7 tips for getting ready:

  1. Describe what your book is about in a couple of sentences.  Know what shelf your book will fit on in the bookstore. Look up a few titles of books similar to yours so that the agent or editor can relate to what you’re trying to do.
  2. Be prepared for obvious questions:  Why are you the right person to write this             book?  Who is the audience for this book?  How will you research and write it?
  3. Be prepared for not-obvious questions.  This is a matter of knowing your subject matter thoroughly, and understanding what you can bring to the table.
  4. Ask your own questions: What are you looking for?  What is a common mistake writers make when pitching you?  Use the time to listen, not just to talk.
  5. Don’t get freaked out if the editor or agent hates your book idea.  You can take the time to ask some of the questions in #4, or just bow out gracefully.
  6. Breathe.  Give the other person time to talk.
  7. Have a way for the agent/editor to contact you.  No agent or editor is going to want to lug home fifty-seven book proposals and thirty-two full manuscripts, but there’s nothing wrong with having one sheet of paper that gives your contact information and a brief overview of your book idea.