Thursday, August 21, 2008

Scott Complaining Again...

I recently read someone's recommendation to writers about pitching at conferences. The comment was to go ahead and pitch even if you hadn't researched this person. The suggestion continued that a writers should go home and do that research and (this is what got me) if that agent/editor wasn't right for them, not to submit.

O.K. I have to say, I agree with part of this. You should only submit to editors and agents that fit with you, but I am sorry that I have to disagree with the comment of not submitting. Editor and agent appointment slots are hard to come by and taking up a slot if you are not serious is a waste of time. What is more frustrating is, as an agent, if during that pitch I hear something I really do like and would be interested in seeing it, when it doesn't show up, it tells me this writer has no follow through.

I honestly have to say it is the responsibility of the writer to do the research BEFORE the appointment and if it isn't going to work out, cancel to allow someone else to pitch. I had one gentleman (this should narrow it down a lot) at Nationals who had an appointment with me, listened to me talk and then went to cancel his appointment because I wasn't looking for what he was writing. But here is the professionalism. He came over to talk to me about his reason. Bravo!

Along the same lines, if you do pitch to someone (whether it is an editor or an agent) there is an expectation that this is a person you want to work with. But if someone goes through the effort to read through your work and take the time to decide if they want to take you on as a client or as an author, telling them at the last minute that you want to either wait to hear from someone else, or that you simply "changed your mind," is frustrating. You have now taken up our time and energy for this?

Now, I do have to say, turning us down if you don't want to work with us is fine. Editors and agents want people that want to be there. But please, make the decision early on.

I will have to say, the reverse of this holds true as well. Editors and agents should not request full manuscripts or more material from people that they have doubts about, or that, in all likelyhood they are going to reject because the writing isn't what they want. Of course, if the editors and agents like reading all of that extra material, or maybe they have found something in that pile that they thought they wouldn't like, then keep it up.

Apparently, I haven't had enough coffee this morning so I'm just going to shut up now.

Except for this one comment. Let's keep it professional. Shall we?


  1. Well, I didn't even think about how an agent would feel if I didn't send something. Figured y'all were too busy.
    It's nice to have your perspective.

  2. Jessica,

    I certainly can't speak for everyone. I know that when I hear pitches and request something 90% of the time I see something I am certainly going to want to see considering I have no problem passing on projects during pitches if I'm not interested. Maybe the other agents really don't care. I don't know.