No doubt, nothing stresses out writers more than having to pitch to agents and editors in person.
After all, in ten minutes, we have to boil down into mere sentences projects we’ve worked on for years. And if we lose their interest, we might miss an opportunity to jump over the slush pile.
So what do we do when we want to pitch our books at a conference?
First, take a deep breath. In this post, we’ll walk you through some tips on how to craft the perfect conference pitch.
Many of them have sat at the other end of the table. They’ve pitched to editors, agents, or industry professionals. We’ve all started somewhere, so approach this “pitch” like a conversation.
They simply want to hear about your project, what gets you excited about it, and how you think you can market it in the current industry.
Practice with a friend beforehand if you have to, or another conferee outside the pitch room.
Don’t spend the whole ten minutes telling them why Liam, a side character, has an arc that will disrupt the romantic tension between Himari and Kevin. We don’t have time for all of that.
Boil your pitch down to 25 words if you can, and leave them wanting more.
The less you say, the more questions they’ll ask:
But many won’t want to take them.
We simply don’t have enough time to read three chapters in ten minutes. You can bring business cards, one-sheets, and chapter samples, but mostly likely, they’ll ask you to email them the information instead.
Just like when you prep for a job interview, you’ll want to be prepared for any questions they may ask you at a conference pitch session. Some of these may include:
Do a Google search on FAQs for conference pitches, and come in prepared.
If an editor or agent leans in, they’re interested.
If they lean back, you may want to pitch other projects. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of your projects finished. Most don’t have a strict deadline for when you can send the materials.
Most agents and editors, if they feel like the project will fit them, will request you send it to their inbox. This doesn’t by any means guarantee a project. But, surprisingly, only a small selection of authors who get this invitation will actually submit.
Take the chance and actually submit the manuscript. At worst, they can send a no. And more likely, they’ll send more detailed feedback because they met you in person.
Writers Chat: One Page Critiques
How to Prepare for Pitch Sessions at a Writing Conference: Almost An Author
Query with Confidence!: Almost an Author
Pitch Perfect: Serious Writer Academy