Thursday, June 28, 2018

If You Get A Request, SUBMIT

It always amazes me how many people will attend conferences, arrange for a pitch session, get a request and never submit the project. Time and time again, I see the same thing. It really doesn't matter how I get the initial query either. I can get snail mail queries, e-queries, I have done Twitter pitches, and writing groups have done online 1 day pitches through their websites. And yet, after the requests, I still find a ton of people who don't submit.

I have a real hard time with this, for several reasons.

The first is that at many conferences, those coveted pitch appointments are hard to get. You kick, bite and scratch your way to those appointments. There are a lot of people who never get the chance, only to have the appointment taken away by someone who is throwing away their chance to submit.

The second is that there are many people who simply have no business pitching. Why? They are not ready to submit. They have projects that are not finished, or mentally/emotionally, are not ready to move into writing professionally. That's fine. Be ready, AND THEN sign up for pitches.

Over the years, I have heard a lot of other reasons why people don't submit their projects.

One that really irritates me is that authors have said that after they pitched, the did some research into the editor or agent are really thought this person was not right for them or their projects. First of all, this is true, not every author and editor/agent relationship is a perfect match. BUT, and this is a big one...If you are doing your research after you had the appointment, you have wasted a lot of time for everyone. You as an author could have met with someone who would have been a better fit, and that editor or agent could have met with someone else.

I have also heard some authors state that the pitch session was a great way to practice. Um, no! You don't apply for a job, go to the interview and do this "just for practice." If you want to practice, do this on your own time.

There are also a small few that will pitch to multiple people and get requests from all of them. However, one of those individuals was the author's favorite so the other editors/agents get ditched and there is no response. This, I am sorry to say, is a lack of professionalism. If you decide after the fact that you are not interested, then have the decency to send a quick email and state that you have decided to go a different direction. This is not going to hurt our feelings and you will not have burnt any bridges.

Understand this. Those editors and agents are giving up their time to meet with you. If it is a conference, they are giving up their weekends away from their family to sit for hours at a table in some conference room, drinking that great hotel coffee to listen to you. If it is online, they are taking that time they would be spending with their clients to sit online and listen to your pitches. If they request, submit the darn thing.

Don't get me wrong, here. I am not saying that we don't want to listen to your pitches. We are out to find some great new authors and new projects. We are willing to drink that bad coffee and sit online. But you also have to be ready to follow though.


  1. I can't imagine throwing away a chance to submit. Wow.

  2. Scott, this surprising and also not surprising. While I'm really new to book writing, I'm not new to journalism, and I hear all the time that editors' favorite writers are those that simply show up and do the work. It's a sad state when it's not the best writer that gets picked, but rather the most reliable. Ideally, agents and editors should have their pick of both. Thanks for this reminder. Sharing on social!