How to Prepare for Making Your Pitch to an Agent

writer life conference April 10You’ve signed up to meet with an agent and pitch your book at the CWC-Marin’s Writer’s Life Conference in April 10.

On the schedule, you have five minutes. Not much time. However, ideally you want to make your case within the first minute, minute and a half. So you can spend the rest of the brief meeting discussing your pitch.

But don’t panic.

One, think of this as practice. While the three agents are open to finding their next promising author, they’re primarily there to help you improve your pitch. You can learn a lot from the process even if the agent doesn’t take your proposal..

And even if you hit a home run and the agent is excited about your book, you still have to write a bang-up query letter. (And maybe the book as well?)

Two, there are plenty of resources available to help you refine your pitch. Like Chuck Sambuchino’s 7 Tips for Pitching to an Agent or Editor at a Conference or Cynthia Gallagher’s How to Pitch Your Book at a Writing Conference.

Sambuchino suggests to come with questions. What do you want to learn about the publishing process?

Gallagher recommends reading book jackets or movie descriptions. You want your pitch to describe the book’s genre and basic premise, and to intrigue a tantalizing hook.

(Can you guess what bestseller started with this pitch? “This is a family saga that begins with a birth in 1750 in an African village and ends seven generations later at the Arkansas funeral of a black professor whose children include a teacher, a Navy architect, and an author.”)

Three, you’ll be in good company. You can rehearse your pitch with fellow writers at the conference. It’s a jam-packed day, but there are breaks you can take advantage of.

Here are links to find out more about the two agents and one publisher available for pitching:

One Comment

  1. To pitch a nonfiction book, check out Michael Larsen’s 12 Parts of a Perfect Pitch for a Nonfiction Book Exciting Agents and Editors About Your Proposal.

    He suggests, if you can, comparing your book to other books, authors, or movies — “It’s The Tipping Point meets The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

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