• Ryan Muiller

Pitching at a conference

So, March 28 I am going to a publishing conference. This will be my first one. Ever. Never even been to any type of conference before. But every author book I’ve read says that they are the best things since online queries. That last part isn’t their words, but paraphrasing. Anyway, conferences give writers the chance to form communities and meet potential agents and/or publishing houses face to face. And, if you have the money, one-on-one. For this, my first conference, I decided to pay for a one-on-one agent pitch. Which leads me to the topic of this post: How does one pitch? I don’t know. None of the writing/publishing books I have read to date cover this topic. But the internet is a vast place. This is what I have found. Pitching, the action For those that didn’t know, pitching is the act of trying to convince someone something. In this case, it is me, trying to convince a literary agent to represent my book. Most pitching sessions are short. Mine is only going to last ten minutes. So I have less than ten minutes to convince a career literary agent, whose one job in life is to convince polishers to print their client’s book, that my little old story is worthy of their time and effort. How to do that. There are several ways to go about this. Some suggest starting with a single sentence summary. Another states that it is important to address the genre first. Either way, the genre does need to be covered in the pitch. Other things that also need to be covered are the title, word count, setting, protagonist, conflict and how the protagonist over comes said conflict. Also be prepared to answer what makes your book unique, marketing ideas and where it fits audience wise. It is helpful, apparently, to have a book to compare it too. As for what makes the book unique, ask those who have already read it. And ask them to be honest. Lies will not help you in this. Options for presentation 1. (Title of book) is about (character) that wants (goal) but cannot because (conflict/obstacle). 2. I have a completed (word count) (genre) titled (title) about (protagonist name and small description) who (conflict). 3. (Character) (what they want) (why they want it) but (why they are kept from it) 4. Character’s name and description, conflict they are going through, choices they have to make It’s a good thing that agents are people too and know how nervous one can be. That is why practice, practice, practice. And remember, this is not going to be the only time you pitch. Strive for perfection, but be realistic. Would it be great if I got signed from my first pitch ever? Yes! Is it going to happen? Probably not. It’s a learning experience. Don’t forget to ask at the end what you can do better next time.

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