Every once in a while, when they let me out of my cage and into the general population, I get to attend conferences and meet some wonderful aspiring authors. One of my favorite things to do is attend agent pitch sessions—most recently at this year’s Thriller Fest—where authors have the opportunity to discuss their material, gain advice, and ask agents if they are willing to accept submissions. It’s always exciting and fast-paced, and even though the brain can feel somewhat mushy after two non-stop hours of pitches, I find it to be very rewarding in various ways.
With all this in mind, today I thought I’d give some recommendations on how to make the most of those precious few minutes a writer has with an agent:
- Practice reciting a concise synopsis of your work. You shouldn’t (and shouldn’t need) to cover every single plot point or every detail about every character in your novel.
- Do your research. It’s often a good idea to know a little bit about the agents you’ll be meeting with before the pitch session. It should go without saying that this is the easiest way to avoid pitching your young adult novel to the agent who only represents non-fiction.
- Relax and enjoy! I have had to stop more than one author mid-sentence, hands and voices shaking, and ask them to take a deep breath and start over. Pitching to an agent is understandably petrifying, but at the end of the day, we’re people too. We aren’t going to criticize your work, or laugh in your face, or make you cry. I promise.
Have any of you out there attended pitch sessions? What have been your general opinions and experiences?