The Romance Writers of America conference is just around the corner and many people are talking about pitching to agents and editors. If you’re pitching, you should know there are certain things you shouldn’t do.
-Don’t show up unprepared thinking you’ll wing it. I guarantee most of you will get hit hard by a bundle of nerves and freeze, laugh uncontrollably, or puke. On the agent’s shoes. Yeah, not so impressive.
-Don’t memorize your blurb and regurgitate it like you’re some kind of human robot. Seriously boring, peeps. Remember agents have to listen to countless pitches. You want yours to stand out in a GOOD way.
-Don’t read your blurb to the agent. Boooring. You need to interact with the agent. I know. It’s hard. But, just remember that you’re both human, not computer screens. So, have that human interaction. Yeah, that’s almost a lost art, but you can do it.
-Don’t be overly dramatic. Sure. That will get the agent’s attention, but she might end up calling the psych ward before you leave. Act professional. Don’t show her how crazy you can be. Save that for AFTER you’ve signed with her.
-Don’t argue with the agent. She’s there to listen and possibly give you some feedback on your story. Criticism can be hard to take, especially in person. She’s not trying to hurt your feelings or push you over the edge. She’s trying to help you improve. This is a good thing. You may even thank her for it later. You know, after the sting has worn off.
-Don’t take rejection personally. Hey, she might not like your story, but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t. This business is very subjective. So, if she says your book isn’t for her, don’t try to convince her otherwise. Don’t drop to your knees, tears gushing down your cheeks, hands in prayer position, and beg the agent to reconsider. Have some pride. Either you’ll find another agent to represent you or you’ll rework your story and then sell it. Rejection sucks, but it isn’t the end of the world.
-Don’t be overly grateful if the agent requests pages or the full manuscript. Be polite and optimistic, but keep it real, too. Many agents don’t want to reject a writer in person, so they request something from EVERYONE. Then, once they receive the pages, they reject them via e-mail.
-Don’t pitch to agents when they’re going to the bathroom. You’ll make an impact. They’ll remember you. But, not in a good way. They might even pass your name to their agent friends as “a desperate bathroom stalker” or “disgustingly unprofessional”. Not exactly the list you wanted to be on, right?
Be professional and TRY to act as natural as possible. Come prepared and treat the agent with respect.