Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pitching Etiquette

So, I am finally through all of my unpacking so it's back to work on submissions and proposals. I did want to bring up some things regarding pitching though for those of you that will be heading off to conferences in the coming months.

As always, you know that I am a firm believer in doing your research before you go. Simply put, make sure that you know all there is about the editors and agents you are wishing to meet. Know what they are looking for, and more importantly, know how your writing fits.

It is this last point that I need to bring up though.

If you have a story that is not what the editor or agent is looking for, then please, do not waste your time pitching the story to them. They are simply not going to want your story, and frankly, if they do ask to see your proposal, expect that you will see a rejection.

Too often, there is this belief that if the story is good enough, someone will take it. Sure, that may sound good, but hey, if it isn't what the editor or agent acquires, I don't care how good it is, it will not fly.

Now, along the same lines, make sure you know how your story fits. Don't try to argue with the editor or agent, or for that matter, try to justify how your story fits. It either does or it doesn't.

So, get that research going and figure out if pitching at this coming conference is really what you need to do.



  1. This seems to be a new mantra for numerous agents. I've found a select few who are a bit more open to 'try new things' even a couple who are willing to look at just about anything, but for the most part it seems to be - do your research.

    I think that a lot of the time, writers hope that they can blanket query/pitch. I mean really, once you've spent all that time refining every line of your ms, who wants to leave out an opp to hit up any agent who might take interest?

    In the long run, I think it just makes things so much more difficult though. Agents are already bogged down with proposals and queries. I'm sure they still receive numerous subs that do not follow guidelines, are not well edited, or just plain don't fit into what the agent represents.

    I figure, every time my name goes out into the publishing world. I want it to be seen as professional and precise. Not to mention, I really don't want to waste my time, or that of the agents.

  2. Candi,
    You are so right on the money with this. We do get hit all of the time with submissions that are far from what we are looking for. What scares me is that some of the submissions are so wrong and coming from people who should be fairly smart. I will frequently get submissions for medical books from doctors who apparently can't decipher the information on my website that says "Representing Romance and Women's Fiction." And they do surgery?

    You are right though, any opportunity to connect with an agent or editor is great, but it has to be meaningful. Many of these editors and agents will say that you can send something if you want, but they are doing this to be kind. They have heard the complaints about being rejected at conferences so they do it out of kindness. Still, the rejection is going to come!

  3. LOL. Okay, now that is a scary thought.

    Makes me cringe for my next appointment with my doctor.

    Too funny!

    There is sooo much info out there for aspiring writers that it's too bad more don't take the time to really learn the process before diving into it. It's one thing to love to write, it's another to try to force it on the unsuspecting and unwilling.

    It makes it more difficult for those of us who take this as a potential profession and choose to treat it as one.