Tis the Season for Writers’ Conferences
Congratulations Kris Allen!
Now for today’s post.
We’re now fully into spring and that means… writers’ conferences! Many of you are probably planning to attend at least one conference in the next few months. There’s quite a bit of information available online about preparing for conferences, but I want to discuss just one tiny aspect: your one-on-one meetings with agents and editors.
You’re going to get lots of advice about how to prepare for those meetings: what to bring, how to pitch, etc. I’m not going over all that again. I want to offer a slightly different perspective, and it’s this: Consider using your editor/agent appointments for getting honest feedback on your manuscript and asking other publishing questions a professional can help with, rather than simply pitching and asking whether they want to see more.
Now, many agents just want your pitch and that’s it. Their time is valuable, and they want to know whether you’re going to have something for them or not. They’re not much interested in anything else. This is especially true if you’re going to a conference where the pitch meetings are 5 or 8 minutes long. You’re in. You pitch. You’re out. Done.
But if your conference has 10 or 15-minute meetings, the situation might be different. You might pitch your book and quickly find out it’s not something in which they’re interested. Or you may have already learned (from a panel, a workshop, or a conversation) that your project isn’t likely to interest this editor or agent. So, in addition to your pitch, come to the conference with a short list of questions you might ask the people with whom you have meetings. You want to use your time with them productively.
I know most of you have no trouble coming up with questions! Probably any question you’d ask me on this blog would be something you could ask whomever you’re meeting with. You could also ask something specific about your book… for example, getting their opinion on whether your genre is saleable right now, or whether your topic requires a platform.
Now that we’re on the topic of conferences, what questions do you have for me? I’ll answer them in future blog posts.
Rachelle Gardner, Christian literary agent, WordServe Literary Group, Colorado.