Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Concept Pitch to Writers

Dear Writer,

I have been extremely excited about the recent interest in writing and publishing. I am also equally as excited to see you have an interest in this literary agency. With that in mind, I have a fantastic high concept idea I would love to propose to you.

As you know, when writers submit stories to editors and agents, they are asked to not only submit a query, but often a synopsis and samples of their writing. This is certainly standard to all agents. What I propose, and I know this might sound a bit extreme, is for the writers submitting projects to demonstrate a knowledge of the business. This would include, but not be limited to:
  • Knowing the guidelines for the editor and agent they are submitting to.
  • Knowing what genre their project is and how it is something that is marketable to the public.
  • Demonstrating the ability to follow directions when submitting.
  • Submitting material that is grammatically correct and shows strong inherent writing skills.
  • Displaying a level of professionalism and interest in learning and growing in the business.

While this might seem an outrageous idea, I would highly recommend giving it a chance. In the end, I see the success of this idea displaying itself in several ways:

  • Less rejection letters for issues not dealing with the quality of writing.
  • A decrease in money spent by both writers and professionals for correspondence back and forth.
  • Happier writers and professionals when it comes to the writing process.
  • A higher quality of writing being produced for the public.

Thank you again for your interest.

Scott Eagan



  1. Dream on, Scott Eagan! While you're giving wonderful guidance, I think you might be "preaching to the choir." Those who follow your blog and others are at least trying to follow guidelines.

    But keep a good thought! :)

  2. ...^-^... sarcasm or frustration?
    It's nice to have people follow directions...in a perfect world.

    Your post tells me to research, follow directions, give agents what they're asking for, use correct grammar, and make sure the writing doesn't suck. (Pretty self-explanatory.)

    Still, not to play devil's advocate but I can definitely understand why a writer might pitch to the wrong agent even if they've researched what they represent. I will first check the literary agency, and if they are vague, I will research other venues. Unfortunetly, there are times when the two don't coincide.

    There is also the posibility that a writer will write sf/paranormal/romace/weird, and they don't know what genre they fall into, even if they have researched, so they're not doing it on purpose.

    Also, (not meaning to be long-winded...again) you stated, "display...interest in learning and growing in the business" How exactly is this done if you're just querying?

    Thank you.

  3. Valerie,

    I do agree with you. It is always interesting that the writers who state they have been doing their research keep me interested.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Laila,

    Good points. Let me see if I can answer a few of the issues.

    1) People pitch to the wrong agent because they are available. Conferences are a great example. Someone shows up to your chapter or a conference and just because they are there, or they can "get an appointment" they pitch. Wrong. Honestly, if a chapter brings in an agent and everyone in the group appreciates the talk but has nothing to pitch, that would be the way to go. I'd rather see that then pitching to someone that is a wrong match.
    2)As far as not knowing the genre, I do have to disagree. Extensive reading in a given genre, dissecting that genre and learning more about it will guide you in the right direction. I would have to say the writer has probably rushed the process before they really figure it out. Again, just my spin on this.
    3) The display issue you speak of really stems from the conversations we have with the author. We want to really hear a humility and a knowing they have a long way to go. Even if someone is published, we need to see and hear them showing that when change comes, we don't just bail ship or say "who cares" but we learn how to make it better.

  5. Ahh-that must be terrible for you, writers pitching at you just because you're an agent (never mind what you represent). People are dying to get published, to be heard, so they're going at it the wrong way.

    I see your point with the genre deal and will condede that that may happen.

    Getting back to the display issue. Maybe it's just me, but if someone loves writing in earnest there's nothing that should cause them to bail ship. Change is inevitable. It is a process, and there should be change. Keeping everything the same would be boring and not aid in promoting self-growth. All we can really do is use it as a tool. When it comes down to it we're all works in progress. (Remember, I'm an optomist.)


  6. Really interesting in what you said about the genre and extensive reading. My favorite books to read are generally YA and some people think because I'm younger (age 22) that's why I read/write in that genre. No worries, I usually turn the table and suggest them a YA book from my top list so they understand.

    On the otherhand, my Beta had a hard time deciding on what genre her story was. It came off to me as a Thriller/Suspense, but originally labeled I think it was Commercial Fiction or Women's Fiction. In the end, she decided with Thriller/Suspense and it was no surprise that she is into Thrillers for her favorite genre.

    Speaking of all the genre makes me wonder--an agent herself told me (in a query) that if your female character is married it makes it a Woman's fiction. Is that true?