Friday, August 29, 2008

An answer for Anon

Anon asked... (I'll answer this one under each questions)

If an agent has no interest in a ten minute pitch, why on earth would he waste a moment reading a 100,000 word manuscript?

They wouldn't that is part of the reason for the pitch session. Your job is to really sell the manuscript right there. I know that there are times that I likely turn down a project because the author couldn't pitch it well. Remember this is sales though. This means the author better know how to sell it.

One may as well come up with some different plots.I thought this might be in line with the admonition that plots should be applicable to several genres.For instance, my present plot is based on dramatic events in mid-century England, and could easily be used for a straight historical, a romance historical, a romance mystery or thriller, or even an inspirational novel. That's the wonderful thing about reading history. People are usually affected on many levels by any shift.

Although stories can have different levels, it is CRUCIAL that an author finds the one aspect to focus on in the story. Without this an agent has no way to market it and even if the publisher likes the story, they would not know where the story would go when they market it to the book buyers. It still has to have it's own little niche.

But, the agent who was really enthusiastic about the story sent me a two line rejection one year later, for someone else's book. No big deal, she goes to a lot of events, and these things happen. But she was really excited about the story, I have been published extensively already, and someone else must have also gotten a wrong answer for thewir work.

It is tough when you get a response like that, but it does happen. I do have to say, one thing to be cautious of is the response you get during a pitch session. Remember that many agents and editors always request manuscripts even though in their head, they might think the story is simply not going to work for them. They do this out of kindness to the author. There is a fine line here though. I know if a story isn't going to work for me (because I don't like the concept) I will tell the author. Sometimes they get really unhappy about it and complain. Sometimes they like it.

I am so very glad i did not waste a year writing s longt book. (NO, she never asked how much was done.) Just ;pved the concept.I feel as if this is a case of good people getting into an unintentional snit. How many books must I write, out of at least five possibilioties? Why should I even begin without a green light from at least one agent?

I don't think you need the "green light" but you should do some research before starting the project. Really think it through and discuss it with people. The story may be good, but it may never sell.

What if we thought about this differently, and agents at conferences agreed to put aside a small amount of time to discuss concepts?

I think this would be a great session. It would be great if a chapter decided to jump on this concept and got together agents to just discuss concepts with the writer. No pitching, just discussing.


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