Suggestions for Agent Pitches
The eight-minute pitch sessions will be in one location. Please arrive in the set-up waiting area at least five minutes early to check in with the Pitch Monitors. Please be respectful of other pitch participants by ending your session on time when the monitors alert you that the session is over.
Use your time with the agent wisely. Whether this is your very first pitch session or your fiftieth, please consider some useful tips/recommendations for conducting a pitch. These are not rules, but suggestions.
- Dress professionally, as if you were giving a presentation.
- Act confident, but not arrogant.
- Present yourself so the agent thinks of you as someone he or she would enjoy representing. Can he or she see you as someone who could pull off a book signing?
- Know your genre, market, and targeted age group.
- Introduce yourself and exchange pleasantries. Keep it short.
- Plan about a three-minute presentation about your manuscript or idea. This will leave time for feedback from the agent or publisher.
- Consider writing a one-line summary (a log line) for your opening statement in the form that follows: My work is a ____________(genre) about a ________ (name type of character) who _________(action verb) while _________________ (name situation). Example: My book is a sci-fi thriller about a zombie princess who discovers a strange new land while roaming through the forest.
Example: The novel is a family saga about seven generations of Alex Hailey’s family from rural Africa in the 1700s to America in the 1960s. (Roots by Alex Hailey)
- Present two to three sentences that describe your book clearly and briefly.
- Consider making three points: the setup, hook and resolution.
- Be ready to explain how your book is different from similar books in your genre.
- Visit the agent or publisher web site before conference day.
- Practice, practice, practice until you deliver your pitch smoothly.
- Be open to constructive criticism. You are there to present your idea, but also to learn.
- Be honest about your stage of writing: an idea, a partially-completed manuscript, or a finished work.
- If your work is non-fiction, you may want to have a book proposal prepared, but do not offer the agent a paper copy during the pitch. The library carries books on how to write a book proposal.
- Do not offer to send the agent a synopsis, a chapter, three chapters, or a manuscript. If the agent is interested, he or she will ask you to send specific material.
Flyer on Pitch Suggestions