As some of you know, I was at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC) last weekend hearing pitches and I even managed to slip into a couple workshops. Here is some feedback for how writers can get the most out of their one-on-one time with agents and editors:
Bring a pen and paper – take notes!
Rarely did I see anyone writing down my instructions for sending me material directly, or writing down how much material I asked them to send.
Take all of the allotted time to pitch and ask questions.
We’re there for the entire time, so take advantage. Use the time to build a memorable connection.
Bring the first page or the first chapter of your work.
I might be alone in this, but our pitch sessions were 10 minutes and in order to get a good idea if we are a fit I’ll need to see writing anyway, so why not bring some? (Granted other conferences have pitch sessions that are much shorter, and might not have time.)
Have your elevator pitch ready.
If it takes you 10 minutes to ramble through your synopsis you’re wasting both of our time. Use the elevator pitch to get my attention then expand on the plot points and get ready to answer my questions about characters, motivations etc.
Don’t let any speakers or workshops deter you from attending your pitch session.
During a workshop you might think, ‘Wow, I’m not ready yet…’ But if you’ve booked a pitch session go anyway! Practice your pitch, ask questions, let us know what your concerns might be and we can help you feel at ease.
Relax. It will be over soon.
I know it’s unnatural for writers to be expected to come out of their shells one weekend a year, while they spend the rest of the year tucked away at their computers. Take a deep breath, it’s okay if you’re nervous. But agents and editors are just normal people and you’ll see that once you meet us.
If you were at the conference: it was a great one, wasn’t it!
If you weren’t: you missed out, but I hope to see you next year!
Q: What advice can you give to writers attending a conference?
Image via NPR