Friday, May 11, 2018

TIPS ON PITCHING TO AN AGENT

guest post by Becky Lejuene, associate agent at Bond Literary Agency

Lynn here:  

There are opportunities for you to pitch to an agent at the upcoming Wyoming Writers, Inc. conference, June 1 - 3 in Dubois (visit www.wyowriters.org for more information and to register). 

In this post Becky is going to walk you through the pitching process--so kind of her! 

Appointments to pitch (15 minutes each) are open on Friday and Saturday of the conference on a first come/first served basis. Sign up in advance by emailing Judy Matheny at vicepresident@wyowriters.org and include the name of the agent you'd like to pitch to (info on website). A limited number of openings may be available at the registration table. 

But you can't pitch if you don't go! Register for the Wyoming Writers, Inc. conference soon--the deadline for the early bird registration fee ($235 by May 15) is closing in!




Hi, author!

Congratulations, you’ve finished a book (or are close), you’re attending conferences, meeting other authors, and pitching to an agent. You’ve made it!

The very first thing you should do—after you’ve signed up for the conference and have decided to book a pitch session—is research the agents. Find the agent you think would be the best fit for your project. If you don’t see one who represents what you’ve written, it’s ok to pitch one of us just to have the experience and get some feedback, but be sure to let us know that at the start of your session.

Next, be aware of the time allotment. You should be told ahead of time how long your pitch session will be so whether it’s 10 minutes or 5, make sure to prepare your pitch and practice with that timeframe in mind.

Now, imagine your pitch like the back or flap cover copy of a book. Typically, there’s a call out at the top (sometimes called a log line or an elevator pitch)—one sentence that’s meant to grab our attention and give us a feel for the book right off the bat—and then a short and sweet paragraph that identifies the main character, conflict, and plot. Notice that cover copy of a book doesn’t give everything away; it’s a teaser with enough information to get us interested and wanting to know more.

Design your pitch similarly. Start with an elevator pitch (that call out) to grab the agent’s attention. This is just a sentence or so meant to intrigue us.

The next part is a bit up to you. You can launch straight into your brief summary (not an outline of the book, not a synopsis; again, something akin to what you’d see on a book’s cover) or you can begin with a few of the nitty gritty details: what genre is it; who’s the audience (is it young adult, middle grade, adult, etc); is it currently complete or, if it’s not, when do you estimate it will be complete; and what’s your word count. Whichever you start with, the summary or the details, follow up with the other.

By now, hopefully, you’ve left a little time in your session so the agent can follow up with some questions. Typical questions might address any of the details mentioned above, if you haven’t already covered them. We might ask if this is your first completed book, what authors inspire you, and what books you might compare yours to in terms of readership (readers who like x popular title will love my book). We’ll also ask you a bit about yourself—what’s your background (if you’re a science fiction author who works in the STEM field, we want to know!) and what inspired this story.

If we still have any time left, we might ask whether you are currently querying or if this pitch is your first time—this last bit is important because we understand your pitch might be on your query letter and can give you some tips in that regard.

Last but not least, we know you’re nervous—you’re not the only one—so be sure to breathe! Take a deep breath and remember, agents are just people. Even better, we’re book people and you’ve written a book. Relax, you’re with friends!

Becky Lejeune is an associate agent at Bond Literary Agency. She worked previously with the Denver Publishing Institute, as the managing editor for a cookbook imprint, and as an acquisitions editor at The History Press. 

She is currently building her client list and is interested in adult and teen horror, mystery/suspense/thrillers, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy and general fiction.

Learn more about Bond Literary Agency at https://bondliteraryagency.com/

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