conference season again. I enjoy the one-on-one appointments with
conference attendees. I just came back from the Writing for the Soul
conference by Jerry B. Jenkins in Denver. Excellent conference.
Too many people don’t take an
appointment because they don’t have a project to pitch. It’s a missed
opportunity, for most editors and agents I know enjoy having “teaching
appointments” with conferees. Though they don’t have anything to pitch,
they do have questions. I enjoy those, as long as I’m told up front so
I’m not waiting for a pitch that isn’t coming.
Then there is the conferee who
takes up all their appointment talking. You can’t sell your project in
a ten- or fifteen-minute appointment. That isn’t enough time, but you
can make an impression on the agent or editor so they will remember you
when we have the chance to send your proposal to him or her. An editor
or agent will let you talk your time away if you insist; that makes it
easy for him or her. But if you really want to make an impression,
engage that agent or editor and make him or her participate in the
dialogue. It’s the same with agents using the time to read your
proposal. They will probably ask you to send it electronically because
most won’t remember what they read beyond the first two or three
appointments, if that many.
the competition for contracts is stiff. Before you go to an
editor/agent appointment remember these tips: Make your submission
outstanding, make it your best work, exactly follow their submission
What does it take to give a
successful pitch? For the Hartline agents, we sell manuscripts to
editors we know and have a relationship with. That means I’m looking
for projects that really interest me, are well written, and, most
important, are manuscripts that match what these editors are looking
for. The last thing I want to do is put something under contract when I
have no place to go with it.
conferees are so nervous
during their appointments that they can hardly talk. I understand that,
as I am a very shy person. But this is not about being afraid to muff
the chance to sell that project they want to see published so badly. It
is a chance to make a new friend, one who might be helpful on the road
Conference appointments can be a
very enjoyable time for both faculty and conferees if we approach it
right. Take advantage of it.