Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Editor/Agent Appointments: Don't Just Sign Up For Anyone

Although I will not be at the RWA Convention this year (bummer me), I do want to remind all of you who are signing up for, or have signed up for editor and agent appointments to do so CAREFULLY! Just because there is an opening does not mean you should be pitching to that person.

One of my authors was signing up yesterday and saw that her choices had already been taken by other authors. This did not shock me in the least bit. Those authors who have won the Golden Heart or RITA or are nominated always get the first pick. But here is the thing. My bet is that many are pitching stories that will be destined for a rejection for the simple fact that the story does not fit with that person they are meeting with.

Too many authors simply grab something and believe "At least I have something and there is always a chance." But, this is where the chapter in your statistics textbook comes into play about Possibility vs Probability. If you have honestly not done your research, or not done it effectively, you may be wasting a great opportunity. Not only are you pitching to someone who will reject you because the story doesn't fit what he or she is looking for, but you are losing out on a chance to pitch to someone who would have said yes.

"But Scott, I don't want to write for those other companies," you might say. That might be true, but if your story doesn't have the voice and style of the company you want to work for, then you are simply out of luck! If you want to write for Harper Collins, or St. Martins, then you need to have the Harper Collins Voice" or the "St. Martins Voice."

This is something that has always frustrated me about pitches at conferences. Too often, people just sign up because there is an opening and not always because it is the right place. This sucks up a space from someone who it would really work for. It is also frustrating, that we get to listen to such a small number of authors. As agents and editors, we listen to two-hours of pitches. That is only 10 authors! Maybe 12 if we can sneak in a couple more.

Look, if there is not an editor or agent there that your story fits with, then DO NOT SIGN UP! You can still get your story to that person via the standard submission process. Now, if you are really going to be proactive and you really want to meet with a particular agent or editor, make it happen by inviting that person to your local writing chapter. Have them do a SKYPE pitch session.

And one final note!!!! If  you do not have a completed manuscript (that means it is 100% ready to go at that exact moment), DO NOT PITCH! You are simply not ready to be talking to an editor or an agent, and again, you are taking up a place for someone who is ready!

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