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Pitching in Person at a Conference


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#1 Raserei

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 09:18 PM

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!


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Current Projects:

Arizma: querying

Kael: revising 1st draft

Elinvar: writing 1st draft


#2 RSMellette

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 03:29 PM

One of my favorite subjects.

 

I got my agent at a pitch fest. Since then, working with SCBWI, I've talked to tons of agents and editors and been to several conferences. Most of them understand that you've paid money. You're investing in yourself as a business and that gives you a step up over the person who has written a first draft, isn't going to edit or research how to be a better writer, and will probably never write again. So your odds for a request are higher than a query - unless you're really strange like a guy who was ahead of me at one of my pitches. He was so confusing that the agent stopped him several times to get a simple explanation - which he answered with more complicated world-building. It was so bad, when I came up next I started my 3-minutes with, "Do you need a minute?" She requested a full and called me to pass. A few hours later, I got a call from another agent who offered representation.

 

I tell people two things about a live pitch: First, memorize where you're going to stop and listen (with your eyes and ears) as much as you do what you're going to say. Also, you're sparking a conversation, not giving a monologue. Once the conversation starts, LISTEN! Then respond.

 

I did 4 pitches at that conference and got 4 requests for Fulls. 


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#3 mwsinclair

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 11:34 AM

This is one of the most helpful threads I've seen in months!



#4 Raserei

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Posted 07 April 2019 - 12:08 PM

If I could do it all over again, I would have paid for a lot more pitch sessions. The feedback and practice alone helped me to better learn how to put my work into words that concisely boil down my novel. If I don't have an agent by next year when I can attend one again, that's exactly what I'll do.


Graphic Designer, layout design and typography

Current Projects:

Arizma: querying

Kael: revising 1st draft

Elinvar: writing 1st draft





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