Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, April 27, 2009

How to Maximize Pitch Sessions

Thank you so much to all of the wonderful people at the Pike's Peak Writer's Conference -- it was a great weekend full of friendly people, useful publishing information, and repeated pleas that everyone drink enough water. (To avoid altitude sickness. Colorado Springers are militant about the importance of hydration.)

The conference included pitch sessions. I honestly have somewhat mixed feelings about these, mainly due to the fact that I'm fairly terrible at listening to a pitch and having any idea whether or not it's something I'd be interested in. It's all about the writing.

I can tell someone whether their project sounds viable to me or not and give them suggestions for how best to characterize it in the query letter (e.g. "Don't call it a Western, call it a historical thriller!"), but beyond that, my experience of pitch sessions is often a matter of listening politely, asking them to send it to me if it sounds reasonably up my alley, and then wait for the query to arrive in my Inbox (which people are free to send anyway).

I think what most people who participate in pitches don't realize is that they're not going to get an agent from the pitch. They may make a personal connection with the agent and the pitch may well be impressive, but the agent doesn't really know much until they actually see the material. Ultimately: how well you do in a pitch session has extremely little to no bearing on whether or not you'll get published.

Here are some suggestions on how authors could maximize their pitch sessions:

1. Spend as little time as possible talking about your project. Honestly, beyond a bare bones description, I don't need to hear much about the project. I'm going to need to see the writing to have any idea about whether the project is up my alley.

2. Go in with questions. A pitch session is the author's time. You have an agent's undivided attention. Pick their brain, get targeted feedback, show them your query. Whatever you think would be helpful.

3. Focus on making a personal connection. This is an opportunity for you to put a face and a personality with a project. I definitely remember the people I meet with at pitch sessions, and if you seem professional and cool, I'll remember that when I see your query.

4. Listen to feedback. I really tried to help some people with their projects, but quite a few authors bristle at the faintest suggestion that they change their work or approach. You don't have to take my suggestions, and, in fact, you shouldn't if you disagree with them. But the last thing I want to see in a prospective client is someone who is not open to any suggestions whatsoever.

5. It's okay to be nervous. Heck, I'd be nervous too. I'm not holding it against you.

Just remember: a pitch session is your time. There is no rule that says you have to spend the time talking about your project. Think outside of the pitch session box and make that time work for you.






88 comments:

PT Hammonds said...

Going to a conference this weekend and got my pitch appointment via email today. Thanks for taking some of the pressure off.

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

Pitch sessions are really for screenwriters, those who hope to put their foot into the film/TV writing biz. For screenwriters, it's all about networking, networking, and networking, trying to impress producers at meetings. Definitely for not literary writers.

It's a waste of time.

TecZ aka Dalton C Teczon - Writer said...

Thank you Nathan for the helpful advice. So it sounds like it's still ultimately down to the query and story sellability? So the conferences just are really about the social eliment then? I've never been to one yet, so I'm trying to understand how it plays in helping to get an agent.

David said...

Nathan, er, you meant e.g., not i.e., dincha?

Visitors from the Lower States rarely drink enough water when they come up here to the Colorado Front Range. Then they faint and clutter up the sidewalks. It's quite annoying!

Pete Miller said...

Having a bunch of TV writer friends, when I hear 'pitch session' I think of a writer trying to get a producer to pay them to write a script based on the verbal pitch of the idea.

When a book author is pitching, I am assuming the book is already written. Is that correct?

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks, David.

tecz- Yeah, it's more about meeting authors and trying to help them out. It's still the writing that lands the agent, not the person.

Nathan Bransford said...

pete-

It's not always written, sometimes writers want feedback on the viability of works in progress.

Anonymous said...

Hi.
As someone who lived in Colorado's mountains for many years,
I only suffered from altitude sickness once.
I was so sick, I laid on the floor with a pounding migraine-like headache all weekend and could not even lift my head. The brain swells.
The only real cure is to go back down to a lower elevation. It ruined my ski weekend.
I bet your hosts were trying hard not to let writers lose their travel and conference fee investment.
And also enjoy beautiful Colorado!!
I hope you did too!

Alan Orloff said...

At the very first pitch session I ever went to, the agent tried to sell me his book!

Mercy Loomis said...

I was at a conference last month and had a pitch session for my novel, and I definitely did not think it was a waste of time. You can see what I said about it on my blog here. The best thing was being able to ask questions from someone who has been working in the industry for a long time. I found it to be a very valuable experience, even if she decides not to represent me.

Venus Vaughn said...

Thanks so much for admitting that the pitch session has nothing to do with the writing.

You can be as alluring and witty as hell, but it don't mean crap about the writing. And you can be as awkward as a frog on roller skates, but have a sparkling script.

I appreciate the chance to meet an agent, but I would never count on that to sell a manuscript.

Yat-Yee said...

It was great meeting you at Pikes Peak. Your comments at the the critique and panel sessions were really helpful.

Glad you drank enough water.

(word verification: splam)

Anonymous said...

The very thought of it terrifies me.

There must be very brave writers out there.

Thanks for clarifying.

PurpleClover said...

Thanks...I'm forwarding this on!

Bane of Anubis said...

Glad to hear pitch sessions aren't overly crucial and networking isn't the end all be all - b/c, though not a complete misanthrope, I definitely have a hard time w/ both; though if I can talk hoops w/ my fellow writers/perspective agents (or preferably play 'em), then I'd be far more at ease :)

lynnrush said...

Great suggestions, Nathan.

Janica Unruh said...

I'm pitching this weekend, so thanks for the tips. As always, very helpful!

Anna said...

first, Colorado Springs is a lovely place; we lived there for 5 years and my youngest child calls that her birthplace. great for a quick suntan and once down in elevation, I always felt like the oxygen was pouring through my veins.

second, I am REALLY glad to hear your take on pitch sessions. personally I'd rather send a query. not sure why, but there it is...

very interesting! thanks for the info...

Kristi said...

Good to know about the pitch sessions as I had a hard time even selling Girl Scout cookies as a child (I was told the Thin Mints would sell themselves - ha!) I was planning on going the query route anyway, so thanks for the validation.

Hope you enjoyed our beautiful state! :)

jimnduncan said...

I've become more and more convinced over the past year or two that pitching agents really is a waste of time. Those that attend conferences and do pitch sessions are alredy open to taking queries, and if you've done a bit of research, you already know if they have an interest in your genre. So, why waste time fumbling through a story blurb?

I expect this might be a bit different with pitching an editor, since they aren't always open to unsolicited queries, but still. If they are interested in your type of story, which you can pitch in 30 seconds or less, get that out of the way, and pick their brain about more interesting subject matter.

I think most agents/editors who do pitches will request a query from people who pitch. They don't have the heart not to. Let's face it, saying no face-to-face is far more difficult than sending an email. Unless of course they don't rep or publish your type of story. In which case, you shouldn't have been pitching them in the first place. I'm a firm believer in not pitching agents/editors that you know don't rep your kind of story. You're wasting their time, and it's a bit disrespectful I think.

As Nathan said, it's a chance to make an impression. Talk shop, talk sports, talk favorite authors, or whatever. You'll do more for your query chances if they have an interesting conversation with you than any amount of stellar blurb writing.

"I have a supernatural suspense with an FBI agent on the verge of a breakdown, who has to enlist the help of her prime suspect and get over the death of her partner in order to catch a killer who can bounce back and forth between the worlds of the living and the dead. Sound ok to query you with? Cool. So who do you think the Kings should take in the next lottery?"

Thirty seconds of bleh, and nine and a half minutes of get-to-know-you banter. Be memorable in person and let your writing speak for itself.

Rebecca Knight said...

Thanks, Nathan :)!

If only I could print out this post, go back in time, and show it to myself before my first conference last year. I was very nervous because I thought this was my "one chance" to impress said agent and knew very little about the querying process.

I agree--thanks for taking some of the pressure off and reminding us that we can ask questions and relax a little!

Word Verification: Irvel. Urkel's evil twin?

Critinka said...

At the risk of exposing myself as a total noob, when you say "The conference included pitch sessions," how does that work?

Do writers schedule with the agent beforehand? Or are writers told an agent will be at a certain place at a certain time, so go pitch? Or do writers have to hunt down an agent, 28 Days Later style, and snag their attention? (I'm kidding on this last one. Partly.)

I think I'd be terrified to pitch at conference. I tend to sound really lame when I'm nervous, and when you're facing someone as opposed to composing a query letter to send, there's no way to edit out that, "Hey, you don't mind if I call you Nate-dawg, do you?"

Mira said...

I really like the idea that the writing (talent) matters more than the smoozing. There are too many circumstances in life where that isn't true.

I wonder if people should just bring their writing into pitch sessions. Are they allowed to do that?

And thanks for the tips on how best to utilize the sessions.

Sooki Scott said...

Even after I'd practiced my pitch repeatedly, my voice quivered like a wet puppy. But the agent I met with was kind and comforting. And that I valued.

As to your tips, I never thought about bringing out my query letter, nor did it occur to me to talk less about the book--good to know. And regarding advice and criticism, I'd like to think I'm open to all help. I know I sure try to be. Thanks for the list.



Confucius says, "Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses."

Cicily Janus said...

Nice to have you here in the Springs, Nathan. You provided VALUABLE information for all of our authors and everyone was raving over your kindness. Glad to hear you were sufficiently beat over the head with our water policy!

Nice to clarify pitch appts. I coached a few of the pitchees and had to tell them to relax that I've never known an agent to bite or to reach across a table with a pen and contract. So it's just a hey, should I or shouldn't I deal. nice to hear this from you.

Glad you made it back home safe.

Richard Mabry said...

Interestingly enough, I got to know my own agent at a conference when she was an editor and, even though she passed on that novel (and rightly so), we "clicked." I applaud your suggestion that a pitch session can be productively spent getting to know each other after briefly talking about your project. The writing will speak for itself if/when you ask for a sample.

And, by the way, Rachelle said she enjoyed having coffee with you at the conference.

Robin Constantine said...

Great topic, glad to finally hear an agent's perspective on it. The thought of pitching always makes me nervous, so I love #5 in particular.

Nett Robbens said...

Thanks for the advice Nathan! I’m going to RWA in July, and I’m a little nervous about pitching. However, your tips have helped calm my nerves—for now, kind of, sort of, maybe. :)

Jil said...

Nathan, thank you for making me realize that agents really are human beings. The ones who are too uptight i wouldn't want to work with anyway.

So I shall rewrite my query with that thought in mind, aimed at the kindly, wise person I want to be reading it and who would be inspiring in a long term writing relationship.

Kristin said...

After attending and pitching at PPWC, I have to agree with you in that I have mixed feelings about pitch sessions. Although my pitch session went very well, I found meals and down times to be much more effective ways to get to know agents/editors. I also heard the requests/demands about drinking ... but NOT water, from the "open bars".
I enjoyed your session with Ginger. Thank you for going and for being so friendly and approachable.

T. Anne said...

I pitched last year to several agents and was asked to send in partial's, all that could have been accomplished through queries as well. I did like meeting them. There were hundreds of people running through the lines, so I'm not sure it was worth it in the end.

Marilyn Peake said...

Thanks so much, Nathan, for this insider's view of writer's conferences.

Genny said...

This was great, Nathan. Thanks!

Kathie Leung said...

Perfect timing, Nathan. When can we get together to try this out? Kidding. Kinda. I have ample time to give this a test run before heading off to my first conference. Tons of thanks!

pjd said...

I would agree 100% with the advice given in the post. I was fortunate enough in the one set of pitch sessions I did to get some valuable feedback, both during and after each 3-minute session.

I would disagree that they are a waste of time. If you have the right expectations and attitude, they are a great opportunity. (Though I suspect which agents you get also factors into the result.)

This post is really about what you should expect from the pitch session. Don't expect a sale. Don't expect a rejection. Do expect a request for a query.

YMMV.

Kristine Overbrook said...

Thank you for this entry. I will be pitching in July at the RWA National conference, and I'm just terrified.

There will also be the opportunity to talk to someone at the bar or the elevator instead of the formal sessions.

What do you think of writers pitching to you in those situations?

I'm working on a "high concept" pitch. Only because they are short and I don't think I will be remember anything more than that.

Do you think it would look bad if I brought notes?

Margaret Yang said...

I pitched ten times at ten different conferences.

Guess how I got my (very good) agent? Query letter!

However, I still appreciated those pitch sessions as a chance to get to know agents/editors as human beings.

Margaret Yang said...

Oh, and what Nathan's far too modest to admit: everyone at the Pike's Peak conference treated him like a rock star. Did you buy a single drink for yourself the whole weekend? (Okay, guilty, I bought him one.) Then there were the groupies taking their pictures with him...

Oh, wait, that was me too--but not ONLY me. And I only had to do it because I promised my best friend a photo. Really!

Dan said...

Hey Nathan,
Going to my first convention this weekend (SCBWI in Davis). If we're not signed up for the written critique, should we bring anything with us? Is it better just to chat in general and then query later?

Jen C said...

Nathan,

Regarding the personal side of things, how likely would you be to take on a client who has written a stellar book but is, you know, a bit of a knob?

Fawn Neun said...

I admit that if I ever did sign up for a pitch session, I'd probably quietly push a query letter across the table and go get us both a drink. I stumble and stammer when I speak, I like to think I can make up for that in print.

Cass said...

Thanks for sharing your opinion on pitch sessions. I will be attending my first conference next month, and didn't sign up for any. After reading your post, I'm happy with my decision.

Look forward to meeting you at SCBWI Western Washington!

Cass

Trisha Pearson said...

Thank you for sharing this information, Nathan. Now I don't feel quite so guilty about not scheduling a pitch session at the SCBWI Western Washington next month. And after reading your tips, maybe I won't be too chicken at the next conference. Maybe.

Dawn Maria said...

I've only had one pitch session, which went almost exactly like the steps you mentioned. I left feeling great that the agent asked for my full MS and confused because I couldn't remember much of what was said beyond my bragging about my homemade buffalo wings, some American Idol gossip and a brief mention of my book's title.

Of course now, after reading your post, I'm in fear of what the agent will think of my writing once he reads the manuscript!

Yat-Yee said...

To those of you who wonder about bringing a couple of pages for the agent/editor to read: I did that. I talked a little bit, and then asked if the agent would rather read a page or two. He did. Worked well, I thought.

Sue McK said...

Nathan, I have a question for you.

In your opinion, what percentage of agents actually sign someone from only a pitch? Do you know?

If it's low, why do agents bother to go to conferences if they're not getting anything out of it? I'd think it would put them farther behind in reading queries.

Thanks,
Sue

Mira said...

3 minutes? Is a pitch session really 3 minutes?

Wow. I'd go in with a delectable pastry, a smile and a copy of a query letter.

Stephanie Baffone said...

Nathan,
Awesome post. Having attended some writer's conference's myself and pitched, your feedback is very helpful. I love how accessible you make solid info like this to aspiring writer's. You remind us that you are human too and realize so are we! Loved your comment on nervousness!

Nathan Bransford said...

dan-

Yeah, it's fine to chat first and query later. I'm happy to listen to a brief pitch if people want some specific feedback, but it's totally fine to just chat about anything or ask questions.

jen c-

It really depends on the particular project.

sue mck-

I know some agents have signed authors they met at conferences, but I haven't. I don't think it's anything particular to do with conferences, just that the odds are long in general. I'm always hopeful though. We get a lot out of conferences, whether it's meeting the other agents/editors/authors who are there or meeting potential clients.

The Writers Canvas said...

Great advice, Nathan! I've found your approach works well, and often will have my "hook" typed on the back of a biz card which I leave with the agent.

Glad you had fun!

Elaine

Melissa said...

Of course, the real secret to a successful pitch session is to bring the agent lots of bacon, Kings' tickets, and a bottle of fine wine.

Mira said...

Oh shoot. Is bringing a delectable pastry doing that sycophancy thing again?

Darn it.

Okay. Instead, I'd bring a pastry that was over-cooked and kind of chewy.

Laurie said...

Nathan, Thank you so much for answering my question about the value of paying extra for time with an agent. I was on the fence about a weekend event next month and you saved me $200. Since I just found out today that my car needs a new water pump, I'm more than grateful!

This post is a great follow up to that question. It's really nice to see an agent's perspective on pitch sessions.

Nathan Bransford said...

melissa speaks the truth.

Kathleen Noud said...

Thanks for the tips Nathan.
I was thinking of attending a pitch appointment later this year where the agent/publisher has read 10 pages and a synopsis before the appointment.
I like this setup as it cuts down my slushpile waiting time & I'll have an idea if they are interested or not.

JPM said...

Thanks for "keeping it real", Nathan! It's so easy to be intimidated and caught up in the process that we lose touch with the chance to just connect and converse with the agent. Yours was a very refreshing post.

Anonymous said...

is it a full moon?

the comments section of Editorial Ass was outta control today.

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=37191093&postID=9182341738647539183&page=1

(No, I am not Cindy Pon, though I know many of you will be tempted to believe that.)

csmith said...

Thanks for this Nathan. My bank balance agrees too. While I would really love to fly over to the US and meet with agents and publishers, minor inconveniences such as "eating" and "petrol" stand it my way. It's good to know I'm not metaphorically shooting myself in the foot.

Oh and by "seem professional and cool" I am assuming you mean nice-cool not standoffish-cool?

Thanks

Memoirs of a Bulimic Black Boy said...

I've always found the real work of any conference occurs during Happy Hour. Amazing things happen over vodka/crans

April Hollands said...

Thanks Nathan. I'm going to my very first pitch session in the UK in two weeks and I had thought about taking my query letter to ask for feedback, and wondered if it would be cheeky. You've confirmed that I'm on the right track.

PurpleClover said...

Is it wrong to bring the first two to five pages of a chapter?

I was thinking if you could give the pitch and then provide some samples you could get the most feedback. Is that considered rude to bring samples?

At least for those of us who can't afford to go we have the hope we aren't missing a great deal (other than the camaraderie). I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go to one but have to rely on my good ol' query letter until we can afford to take a family vaca-. :)

Alicia Walker said...

I'm so glad someone blogged about conferences. I'm going to the BEA in May (my first conference) and made a list of which agents to visit. Two agents attending have seen my full MS and I really just want to have their opinions.

I'm curious as to how many agents it's possible to meet during a pitch session. How many lines will I be able to make it through?

Can you really talk to them outside the pitch? I think I'd feel like I was bothering them. Do you feel bothered by that?

Once in high school my dance team saw Olivia Newton John in a restaurant. The whole team swarmed her, asking for autographs and pictures. I held back thinking everyone should give her space.

Melissa McInerney said...

So glad to have this info AFTER my pitch session. Nathan, I enjoyed talking to you and agree wholeheartedly with your post. I sincerely hope I wasn't a bristler and listened to your comments respectfully. Also hope I made a good impression, not one of those you think about when you write 'how not to pitch' posts.

p.s. I'd have been happy to bring libations, but at 9 am?

Robert Treskillard said...

Great advice, Nathan.

This eases my fears about how I spent a pitch session last fall asking advice rather than "pitching".

Anonymous said...

I think #4 can work both ways -- you don't want clients that aren't going to take your thoughts into consideration, but also, there are agents out there that will make you do endless rewrites to the point of changing the entirety of your book. And then not sell it. (I had this agent, unfortunately)

I pitched to a (different) well-known agent at a conference a few years ago and he was insistent to the point of being rude that the word count of my novel should be "cut in half." Which I found incredibly odd, since I hadn't told him what my word count was. Huh?

At least I knew not to query him, though. Sometimes I think that's the benefit of pitch appointments -- just to see if the other person is an ass.

terri said...

Thanks for the post and advice!

I am going to a small conference in July and decided to go for the 'full experience' including a pitch session and a manuscript evaluation.

At this con, you submit 5 pages 30 days before the con to one of the writers who will be presenting seminars. You are scheduled for a one-on-one session with the writer to talk about your manuscript. I signed up for the thriller author and will be sending a political suspense I am having trouble pacing.

Next up is a pitch session with one of the agents. I researched her and will be presenting a sardonic chick lit WIP to gauge her reaction. I chose that one over the thriller because it is more in line with her 'want list' on her website.

I'll be looking more for an eval of the query and if she likes the voice of the piece than the mystical offer of representation. Also a chance to meet someone in person that I've read about and maybe snag an autograph on a book she agented (I am a bit of an autograph hound).

So, it sounds like I am being realistic and your post makes me look forward to it even more.

However, I'm not sure she will appreciate bacon. I have to do some more research before I go bearing gifts . . .

verify word: playss - what I will be doing at the conference (how cool is that?)

Dara said...

Thanks! I have to admit, I was a little clueless about pitch sessions. I'm more inclined to try one now, knowing that it's more about getting feedback and making a personal connection.

Lunatic said...

Hmm, do they serve drinks at the pitch sessions? And, if so, is it okay to get drunk with the agent? See, I want an agent that's not a lightweight. :)

Fred

Scott said...

Thanks for clearing this up, Nathan. You probably saved most of us a lot of money. There's extremely little I can see coming out of such a session, and would prefer to read advice on blogs where I, and others, can comment and ask questions. If only there were such a place... :-)

Back to solving the query puzzle.

A.L. Davroe said...

Thanks Nathan! I have a pitch session coming up and I had no idea what I was supposed to do. After reading this I'm less nervous and more confident about milking the agent for info on how to improve both my query and my novel.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has tried a little of everything at a conference, I encourage everyone to try it out and participate as much as possible.

I've had a manuscript review by an outstanding editor in the field. I've read a page, and sometimes a few pages for some incredible agents and editors, and this last weekend, at PPW, I received a full chapter edit by a master in my genre.

Each time, I received suggestions that improved my writing ten fold. I can't say enough positive things about the people who take a fledgling writer under their wing.

Conferences are only worth it only IF -- you put yourself out there and are willing to listen to what the experts in the field have to say. If you think you know more than they do, and your the next Hemingway, or a major player in the industry, then maybe you do.

Otherwise, I would sit back and learn as much as you possibly can. I have some incredible friends in 'high' places from these conferences and I believe it's all because I listened.

Anita

Mystery Robin said...

So, my plan at the conference I'm heading to this summer, is to talk to an agent that reps historical fiction in a pitch session, because I have some questions about HF and how best to package and frame my novel - but I wondered if that would irritate her, since I'm not technically pitching, just using it as an excuse to talk to her.

Sounds like you think that's ok?

BigRed said...

That was very generous of you to give such sound advise. As a first time author, looking to get published author, I really appreciate your "post". Thank you. I mean that sincerely.
Gail Fattori

lesleylsmith said...

Interesting post. My impression is virtually no authors have gotten an agent via a conference pitch session! :( Coincidentally, I was at Pikes Peak and pitched to a famous editor. She was clearly uninterested in my project, so I spent most of the allotted time asking questions about the market, etc.. I learned a lot!

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mandy Houk said...

Nathan,

You were one of the easiest agents to talk to at the conference this past weekend. And I could tell you were really listening to my idea when you asked me a specific question about one of my characters. In fact, I wound up changing my query letter based on your question, because it made me realize I needed to be clearer about her.

Thanks for coming to our conference. We really enjoyed having you!

Mandy Houk
Editor, PPW NewsMag

JohnO said...

So I've been mulling this over for a day, and I still have this question: while it sounds great to buttonhole an agent and ask some questions (I'm especially keen to test-market some ideas about forthcoming books), what if said agent isn't on board with that plan?

In other words, Nathan, are most agents going to be OK with this agenda, or are most just expecting to spend the whole time talking about a pitch?

Nathan Bransford said...

johno-

I can't speak for all agents, but most I've spoken to about this 1) agree that it's impossible to tell anything from a pitch and 2) wish they would go by the wayside in favor of questions and targeted feedback.

Joel Q said...

Nathan,

Sorry I didn't get a real chance to talk to you while you were here in the Springs, just a hello.

But I enjoyed the sessions you participated in.

Question: After requesting a query/pages during a pitch session... do you (and other agents) want to see those pretty quick in your email box? Should we do our best to send them ASAP?

Thanks
JQ

Endless Secrets said...

Thanks Nathan!
Great tips, i'll keep them in mind if I ever get to a Writers' Conference, as there are next to none in my area. *sigh*

Mira said...

You know, I always get things backward.

Why would I bring an over-cooked and chewy pastry into a 3 minute pitch session? What would be the point of that?

Okay.

I'll go back to bringing in a delectable pastry.

But to avoid any charges of sycophancy, I'll just eat it myself.

Maybe I'll let the agent have a bite.

Then we'd be sharing, which would make a good impression.

Toni De Palma said...

Pitch sessions always feel like a speed dating situation. It's nice to know that the person on the other side of the table is just trying to see if you're cool too.

Etiquette Bitch said...

thanks, as always, for your insight, nathan! i'm not an agent, but i love # 4.

I'm part of two different communities of writers, and it blows my mind how some will ask for feedback, and when they hear suggestions, won't even consider other viewpoints. I've seen writers huff off and say, "Well, I'm not changing a thing!" Then why did you ask?

Natalie N. said...

I think I need to get a query letter perfected before I worry about trying to pitch my book. I'm glad you say not to talk about the book because everytime I do I get all confused and have no idea what to say besides "It's really good!"

And before I get the query letter perfected, I have to finish the book!

Olgy Gary said...

For the first time in 10 yrs I missed attending the PPWC due to our relocation from CO to VA. But reading all the posts coming thru the Pikes Peak Writers listserv I was thrilled to read you'd attended this year's PPWC and enjoyed being there! I first "met" you via myspace and began reading some of your posts there, one of which you graciously agreed to have reposted to the CCF site I manage, http://www.childrencomefirst.com/bransford.shtml.

Just wanted to greet you thru the miles and let you know how happy it made me to hear the PPWC had invited you to attend this year. The organizers do such an awesome job year after year of running that event. I'm going to try to fly back next year for it. :-)

Min said...

I love this post. I'd love to pitch with you. I think that, for whatever reason, running ideas by other writers doesn't seem "safe." As if my ideas are so great that others will run out instantly and copy them. But running a pitch or two by an agent seems o.k. That's why I'd show up. I understand that's it's all about the writing, but hey...someone telling me my idea sounds like it's worth working through, is great by me.

Anonymous said...

Just got back from a conference. Thanks, Nathan. Your info helped me chill out a LOT during the meeting. When I realized it didn't matter how good or bad my pitch was (it's going to be judged on the writing after all) I just relaxed and talked to her about "stuff"

jongibbs said...

Thanks so much for posting this. It's great to see a pitch from the agent's point of view :)

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