Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Follow Up Question From a Writer On Pitching

Question. If material is requested, is it expected to be handed over on the spot? Emailed? If e-mailed, should I query in advance so it arrives soon after the meeting and still fresh in the agent's mind? Hope this doesn't sound like a ridiculous question, just trying to be uber-prepared.

This question came in response to yesterday's post. This is a good question and let me give you my take on this.

In most cases, you are not expected to give the editor or agent anything right there and then. Still, I always recommend having something ready to go just in case. Don't offer to give them anything, but be ready. This is especially the case for published authors. I had one author that had been previously published. I did ask to see some new material but also asked to read some of her published material. She had a novel with her and that gave me something to read on the way home. Nice touch.

I do personally believe that the clock starts ticking the moment I ask for material. In fact, if you read my submission guidelines, I do state that once I request material, you have 30 days. This accounts for getting home from a conference, putting together the necessary materials and sending it snail mail. Obviously, if material is emailed, this is a different story and certianly one that would take less time.

I don't believe you need to do a different query, but please, make sure to mention the conversation, or the prior correspondance. If it is email, use the reply button so we can see the entire electonic conversation.

Now, back to the time thing. This is something that I believe you can really take away from a conversation with an editor or agent during a pitch session. If they seem really excited about the project, you should make sure that material gets out ASAP. Don't hesitate. Sometimes we are thinking of a place to send it to. Sometimes, we even have an editor that might be interested in such a project. Don't wait. You may lose out.

Along the same lines, if an editor or agent doesn't care when the material comes in, this might be telling you they aren't overly interested and are requesting the material out of the kindness of their heart. Does this mean to not send it? NO! You send it, but don't take advantage of that time factor.

The key is to stay in their memory and remind them of the things they discussed with you during that pitch session. Keep reminding them of the great things they said about your project during that first talk.

Hope that helps!



  1. Any reason why someone might wait over a month to send requested materials? I can't think of any. Although there is an agent who stated she received materials after a year and a half.

  2. Yes, the holidays. I pitched to several editors at a conference the weekend before and week of Thanksgiving. The editors said they couldn't consider anything until after the new year.

  3. Rashad,
    There are a lot of people who take a long time to get back to an agent or an editor simply because they were pitching stories that weren't ready. The story needs to be "finished" including editing and everything the moment you sit down with that editor or agent.

  4. Lyn,
    Your situation is different. Waiting until after the break is fine. I know that I have heard editors and agents tell authors that they would be out of the office until a certain time so don't rush the submission. Still, get that work in immediately when they want it.

  5. Thank you for this insightful post! I'm heaving a sigh of relief because now I have a plan of attack. I mean...pitch.