By Bernadette Baker-Baughman – Victoria Sanders & Associates
Conference Faculty Member
10 Dos and Do Not’s for Pitching Agents at a Conference:
Do: Hone your pitch. Practice it on friends, family, in the mirror, on your pet. Practice it until it makes perfect sense and until you feel very comfortable and confidant repeating it.
Do not: plan on leaving a lot of material behind. If you leave anything, leave a one sheet or a business card.
Do: have a few “plan B” questions in case you have an extra moment more than anticipated with an editor or agent. There is nothing worse than a three minute conversation stalling out.
Do not: be nervous. This may be easier said than done. But agents are excited to meet you! We go to conferences because we are hungry for talent.
Do: send your materials right away if an agent requests it at a conference. If you are not going to send the material right away, let the agent know why. You have a higher chance of being remembered if you submit your material right away.
Do not: let it hurt your feelings if an agent/editor declines to review your material. We all have different sensibilities. Instead, focus on the agents who do request your work. Try and figure out what those agents found appealing or what stood out to them, then hone that for your next pitch.
Do: toot your own horn. We only learn what you tell us, so tell us as much as you can (the relevant stuff, of course).
Do not: be aggressive or pushy. Think of this like a first date. You have a better chance at a second date if you are on your best behavior. Agents want relationships that are friendly and mutually beneficial. So keep the smile on.
Do: speak up. You’ll be in a busy room with lots of noise. So eye contact, enunciation, and projection will go a long way.
Do not: forget which agent requested what material from you. Take notes. A dedicated notebook is a good idea for any conference. Be diligent about staying organized. And send only what is requested.
Do: have fun! This is the work of being a writer. We look forward to seeing you in the Fall!