With Conflux kicking off this Thursday, I thought a post about pitching to agents and editors was in order.
Other than having a good time and catching up with friends at Conflux, I’ll be moderating a panel on pitching (with two agents and an editor), teaching the art of creating elevator pitches during a workshop on Friday morning, and later that day pitching to an editor myself in the hopes of selling my epic fantasy.
So what do I know about pitching? A few things.
The best thing you can do is approach a pitching session from agent or editor’s perspective, which means keeping two things in mind:
- They want to know that you’re someone they can work with (that you’re not insane).
- You have something they can make money from (they’re running a business, not an art-house).
In regard to pleading ‘not insane’:
- Don’t turn up in your best Princess Leia slave outfit (I’ve heard of it happening – people trying to be memorable, which they were, but for all the wrong reasons). Go with neat and tidy instead. You want them to remember your story, not your outfit.
- Be polite and enthusiastic, but not over the top. Think of it as an informal job interview if that helps; keep it casual but on-topic.
In regard to pitching your story:
Your pitch only has one purpose once you get over the insanity hurdle – to get them to request your story. Nothing else.
- Have a good one-liner that neatly summarises your book and intrigues at the same time (ie, the bulk of what I’ll be teaching at my workshop).
- Try to get them to care about/empathise with your characters and the situation they’re in (character is story).
- Give them an overview of the ‘big idea’, particularly if they’re ‘ideas people’.
- Practice in front of the mirror.
And that’s all you really need to do in five minutes. If you’re attending, I’d love to see you at my workshop. Otherwise, pull me aside for a coffee and a chat.
You can find more details about Conflux and my workshop on the Conflux website. If, however, you’re just looking for a laugh, check out The Top 10 ways to Successfully Pitch to an Agent or Editor – The Cretin’s Guide.