Last month I pitched my novel to two agents at a writers conference sponsored by the League of Vermont Writers.
In the days running up to the conference, and even for a few days following, I was in some kind of bubble, very much by myself and single focused. It had been awhile since I had done something I had never done before. I was preparing like crazy but also had a funny feeling that there was such a thing as too much preparation and that I might do better to let it ride.
At my first appointed time I introduced myself to the agent. I shook hands, sat down, thanked her for her time, and launched into my 50 word pitch. Before I got halfway into it, she interrupted me and began talking. She talked more than I did and I wasn’t sure what to think.
She advised that I begin my pitch with the biggest event in the story in a ‘Can you believe this happened?!’ kind of a way. She asked some good questions, one of which was to ask what my inspiration for the story was and to advise that I use that as a starting place.
When our time was up, I stood up having said only about five percent of what I had prepared and she said, “Oh but feel free to send me your work,” and I said, “Sure, thank you.” Somehow I don’t think you really mean that.
I went outside and walked around and then found a quiet place to think. I had written a synopsis of my story just to have at the ready and I decided to take her advice and in my next pitch lead with that. Also, at the opening panel, the second agent had said that she liked to get to know people when they made their pitch.
So when I went in to my next meeting I introduced myself and asked, “How are you,” and “How was your trip,” and watched her smile and relax. I then told her a little bit about myself and thanked her for taking the time to meet with me.
Then I told her what my story was about, the long version.
She asked some very good questions and advised that since it was a character driven story that I would need strong characters and perhaps a variety of plot points. She asked the same question as the first agent as to what had inspired this story, and also recommended including that. I soaked it up.
She had remarkable communication skills, considered her words before speaking, and let me say what I came to say. Near the end of our time she said, “I would really like to read your work, if you would please send it to me, okay? Take my card.” The bell rang, I said thank you so much, shook her hand and left.
I was stunned. As much as I was hoping to hear that, I didn’t know what to do next. But my editor was there as a vendor so I found her and she – she’s the best!! – jumped up, big smile and hug, and then said, “What did she say, tell me everything.” That was the biggest blessing of the day. Someone in my corner, you know?
It was several days before I could really fathom what this meant. I am still revising my novel, for Pete’s sake, but this conference is so close by and it is only held every two years, so I went.
I have given myself a deadline to have something decent to send to her. I still can’t believe it. It really is true that when you set something in train, it assumes a life of its own and you have to dash to keep up with it.
© Margaret Grant and magoffleash, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.