Wednesday, August 5, 2015
You've Pitched...Now What?
After all of that hard work and sweat, it has all worked out for you. During that last conference you attended, you were one of the fortunate people to not only get an appointment with an editor or an agent, but you also got a request. The odds are, that evening, you celebrated with your friends over the request. "She asked for a full manuscript from me!" you proclaim.
I know this seems strange that I might be asking that "now what" question, but you would be surprised as to how many people screw this part up. You would seem it is only obvious and guess what, it is that obvious. So let's talk about it.
If you got a request for a full manuscript from the editor or agent, you send it and you do so immediately. The one exception to this would be if the editor or agent told you to hold off because he or she was taking a vacation. In all other situations, you send that project as soon as you get home. You don't wait!
Here is the rationale - the editor or agent will likely remember your project being that close to the request. The longer you wait to send it, the more other projects will be in line before you and the person may forget who you are, or even worse, why they even requested this in the first place.
Secondly, waiting long periods of time imply that you were not ready to submit when you did pitch. That project should be 100% finished. There is no saying, "That's awesome! I just need to run this past my critique partners again and wrap up a few things." Really? You didn't do that already?
Next, if an editor or an agent requests with a lot of enthusiasm, the odds are they not only like the project, but might be thinking of a place for it already. Again, waiting means that something else may take that spot that you were being considered for.
Now, when you do send that project, in that cover letter, you remind the editor or agent of not the just the fact that you pitched to them, but remind them of the conversation. If you pitched to me and I said I really loved that premise because of the marketability to the 40 year old soccer mom populations, then you need to mention that again. Remember that we are seeing a lot of different projects and we honestly cannot remember every one of the stories. Do that thinking for us. Remind us that they loved us the first time.
OK, so let's say that you pitched to me, but then had a chance to pitch to someone else that you really wanted to be with more. That's fine. Things change. But professionalism is still key. Don't just ditch on me and not send something. What if that other agent says no? Do you come running back to me? That just implies you only view me as a fall back option. Send the project anyway and follow through. With the way this business works, burning that bridge may hurt you in the long run!
This was the opportunity you were waiting for. Don't blow it.