Loree Lough

At last count, best-selling author Loree Lough had 75 books, 63 short stories, and over 2,500 articles in print. Dubbed by reviewers “the writer whose stories touch hearts and change lives”, she has earned dozens of “Readers’ Choice” and industry awards. This summer, Beautiful Bandit (#1 in “Lone Star Legends” series from Whitaker) joins Loree’s 2009-10 releases, Love Finds You in Paradise, PA and Love Finds You in North Pole (Summerside), Tales of the Heart and Prevailing Love (Whitaker), and Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry (Summerside). Maverick Heart (Lone Star Legends #2) comes out in January, 2011, while the release of From Ashes to Honor, #1 in her “First Responders” series (Abingdon), will coordinate with the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Accidental Family, #3 in the “Accidental Blessings” series (Love Inspired) and Love Finds You in Folly Beach, SC are slated to hit bookstore shelves May and June, 2011, respectively. Visit Loree at http://wwwloreelough.com.

Those Critical Ten Minutes

Conference season is upon us, and with it, we have dozens of writers’ conferences we’re itching to attend. If you’re like me, you want to meet with an editor or agent to pitch a novel (in the hope of securing a publishing contract).

I remember only too well the terror that preceded those ten-minute meetings. So, after surviving a few, I interviewed dozens of agents and editors to find out what they’re looking for (and what they hope never to see) during those meetings. Their advice, combined with information gleaned from published pros, created the bones for a workshop I’ve taught a slew of times:

Before the conference:

1. Prepare yourself

a. Will you meet with an agent, an editor, or both?
b. What type of book will you pitch?
c. What’s your writing background?
d. If you’re pitching nonfiction, consider your topic

1. Is it timely?
2. Will it have a long shelf life?
3. Can the book be updated annually . . .
4. or is it a one-shot deal?
5. Is it different from other books like it on the shelves (does it have a unique “twist”?

2. Do your research

a. What is the editor/agent you’re meeting with looking for (genre, subject, etc.)?
b. Does your book meet that criteria?
c. How does this agency/company prefer to receive submissions?

1. Over-the-transom?
2. Query first?
3. Full or partial proposal?

d. Who else is writing for that agent/publisher, and how is your work similar?
e. Sign up early to secure a prime time slot.

3. Think of the meeting as a job interview . . . because it is!

a. Appearance is important!
b. Credentials count!
c. Come prepared!
d. Show up on time, and don’t stay longer than your appointed time!

4. It’s “just” ten minutes . . . ha!

a. Use your time wisely; don’t spend all the session selling your book. Sell yourself and the editor/agent will remember you!
b. Ask questions about the agent/editor to find common ground (i.e. enjoying the conference? How many of these do you attend a year? What’s your favorite/least favorite aspect of these meetings? Family? Pets? Hail from NYC? etc.)
c. Remember what you’ve talked about (above) because it’s what you’ll refer to in the first line of that all-important query letter you’ll write when you get home:

Dear [first name of editor/agent . . . and you’ll know, because he/she will give you a business card]:

When we met at the [Name of Conference] on [Date], I’m the one who, like you, [insert common ground discovered in session (owns a talking cockatiel!)]. You suggested I send the story we discussed. Enclosed you’ll find a synopsis and the first three chapters of [Title]. I is approximately [#] words and is a [genre].

I hope you made it back to [City] with no travel hassles! Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards, [Your Name]

What to Bring with You

One 3x5 card with easy-for-you-to-see text that outlines your book’s:

Brief (1 to 3 short sentences!) overview of story
Major story conflicts (and how you’ll resolve them by story’s end)

A business card
A positive attitude
A friendly smile!


Don’t be intimidated! (These folks belch after a hearty meal, same as you!)

Understand your own story well enough to sell it! (No meandering: State the obvious, then hush!)

Don’t tell them it’s a viable story . . . show ’em!

Know what they represent or publish, and don’t try to talk them into your story if it is not a fit for them.

Know how they prefer to receive manuscripts.

Show some excitement about your story and writing in general.

Listen when they talk, and never ever interrupt them.

Remember at all times that the agent/editor-author relationship is extremely important for both of you, so show them you can and will cooperate, that you’re willing to be flexible, and that you’ll be fun and easy to work with.

And there you have it, my friends! Many of my students have told me how well this system has worked for them, and it can work for you, too!

Good luck at your next editor/agent meeting.


Beautiful Bandit