Didn’t Receive a Request at a Pitch Appointment? What Does That Mean?

Let’s say you have a pitch appointment with an agent, and you’ve done your best to woo her, but at the end of your session, nothing happens. She thanks you for coming. Or she simply says good-bye and prepares for her next appointment. What does that mean?

If an agent doesn’t request a partial or full manuscript from you by the end of the pitch appointment, it could mean several things like:

-She wasn’t hooked and didn’t want to read more. Bummer, but there are other agents out there who might love your story. Don’t give up.

-The story didn’t stand out enough in this crowded market. This is a common reason for rejection, unfortunately.

-She didn’t connect with you and couldn’t imagine working with you. Ouch, right?

-She already requested 50 fulls and is now getting really picky and only requesting samples if the premise is really, really, really good. Dumb luck. Ugh.

-She’s tired, has a headache, or is fried from the conference and has mentally checked out. And you were the lucky one to have an appointment at the end of the day. Woohoo.

-She doesn’t represent that type of story. Should’ve done your homework first.

-She already has an author with a similar story. Nothing personal. She doesn’t want to have two similar stories. We get that.

-She already has several authors who write in that genre and is looking for something different. Do you know your market? Can your story stand out? Is it different enough?

-She loves that genre, but she doesn’t like stories about ponies with pink stripes because one bit her when she was a kid. She obviously has issues and has just done you a favor.

-Your hero is exactly like her ex-husband, before he cheated on her and cleaned out their bank account. Back away slowly, and then run like hell. You don’t want to work with someone who can’t separate her personal baggage from her professional life.

-She couldn’t concentrate on a word you said because she’d downed one too many glasses of iced tea and can only focus on one thing: the nearest restroom. That sucks, but we can all relate.

-The author who pitched before you had such a unique idea that the agent can’t stop thinking about it and is all grabby hands with it. If only you had pitched BEFORE that author. Don’t worry. There are other agents out there who might like your story as much as this agent liked the last one.

In other words, there’s no real way to know why an agent didn’t request pages at the end of the session, unless she reveals her reasons. But, instead of believing your story stinks and nobody will love it like you do, forget about this agent. Keep querying and pitching to other agents. It only takes one to fall for your characters and plot. And that’s the agent you want, because her passion for your story will shine through as she tries to hook editors when on submission.

What has your experience been like when pitching? Did you always get requests? How did you handle it when you didn’t?

Lynnette Labelle
2015 and 2016 Daphne du Maurier Finalist
2015 Molly Winner

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