As I was prepping for a writer's conference and thought I had asking in multiple places and researched as best as I could how to prepare for my in-person pitch that I was scheduled for. What was I told?
Take the amount of time you have for the pitch, divide it in half, and use half for your pitch, and half for them to ask questions. I had 10 minutes.
This was wrong.
As I sat for the morning agent panel I quickly learned that couldn't be further from what was expected. They wanted short. Like that twitter pitch short. They wanted us to boil down the pitch to the bare essentials so that they could organically ask about the work.
So, in a panic because I had an actual query memorized which would take several minutes. So, all morning I rehashed the pitch in my head, shortening it and trying to figure out what would work in the short time I had.
So, I'm sitting down in front of my first choice agent, scared to death. We greet one another and I get off and running. Half way through, she stopped me and asked me for the first three chapters. As I sit dumbfounded, because in everything I've ever read this isn't how things go, she began to ask me about my manuscript and deeper themes, and liked them. As we briefly chatted about my vision for my work(s), and how they seemed to be lining up with something she'd like to take a look at, I was amazed at how wrong I had it.
So, as stoked as I am to have a request for 3 chapters from my #1 choice agent, I have a question for you all.
How common is this at conferences? As much as I want to pat myself on the back, part of me wonders if this is just normal for a conference.
Moral of the story is: Pitching in person is a whole different ballgame than that written query we all set up. This was news to me!