http://instagram.com/p/tLCt_gSbk_/?modal=trueRecently, I attended the Writers Work writing conference in Manhattan. It was here, at this intimate and unique conference in Times Square that I participated in my first agent pitch.
I had 60 seconds to pitch my short story manuscript to literary agent Shira Hoffman.
Pitches were given in front of everyone at the conference so that we could all learn from each other. It was one of the longest minutes of my life. And while in the end, Shira thanked me and said that she didn't represent short story collections, I did walk away with a load of advice and wisdom.
Here's what I learned about 60 second agent pitches:
- Try to think of your pitch as a conversation with a friend. Think about what language you'd use if you were talking about your manuscript to a good friend or to your mother. Harness that same calm enthusiasm when pitching to an agent.
- Identify the specific genre of the piece you are pitching so the agent knows exactly what type of manuscript it is from the jump.
- Think of the body of a pitch as a tease. Give just enough information to build interest without giving away the ending.
- It's helpful to indicate the length of your project and whether or not you've completed it.
- Dress comfortably. The pitch is scary enough, you want to feel confident and at ease.
- When in doubt, think of your pitch as you would the back cover of a book.
- Talk about juicy emotional details. What do your characters have to gain or loose?
- If your manuscript is character driven, focus your pitch on your key main characters.
- If your manuscript is plot driven, focus your pitch on the inciting event and share a few juicy details without answering any questions.
- Remember, agents are people too. If you have the time, begin with a warm greeting. Eye contact is key.
- Closing your pitch with an intriguing question is very effective.
Ultimately, writing is a labor of passion and love. Attending conferences where you have the chance to network with other writers and pitch to agents and get feedback from other industry professionals will only help push your craft to the next level and better ensure your chances of success.
Thanks to Shira Hoffman's advice and the advice of others, I was able to re-work my pitch so that it's strong and ready.
Agent pitches are scary, but I'm ready to do it again!