Thursday, February 28, 2013

Literary Agents

If you had only three minutes to pitch your book to an agent face-to-face, what would you say? It can be intimidating to put yourself on the line and try to express all the passion for your book in a few sentences, but that's what we as writers have got to do, right? Several of you asked to hear more about how my speed-dating sessions with literary agents went during the last day of my writer’s conference. Despite the long lines I met with six in the allotted hour, four of whom asked to see partials of my work.

I only just recently sent out my stuff, so I don’t figure on hearing back anytime soon, but the key to each speed-dating pitch with agents is to get the gist of your story across effectively and to hook their interest. Needless to say three minutes, half of which is taken up with their questions for you, isn’t much time. My advice would be, the more you sharpen your elevator pitch, the better off you’ll be.

Nonetheless, I had fun meeting with agents, and got some great feedback. The last agent I sat down with at the end of the hour wasn’t necessarily interested in my genre, but asked to see my work anyway, because she said I was the only person all day who had told her a story with an actual plot. So what have been your experiences face-to-face with agents? Have you found it more effective than querying over the internet or snail mail? Have you ever tried speed-dating with agents at a conference elsewhere?