Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
This week, we’ve been telling you about our experiences at the ICRS convention where we spent the bulk of our time talking with publishers and editors about you — our clients. As Janet mentioned on Monday, we met with over 30 publishing professionals. These meetings put us in the same position you’re in at a writer’s conference when you’re pitching your project to an editor or agent.
- We have a limited amount of time.
- The people with whom we’re speaking have had many other meetings and are likely tired and overwhelmed.
- We are challenged to convey everything pertinent about each project in a brief verbal pitch.
- We have to tailor our pitches to each editor, giving them what (we hope) they want.
- We must generate excitement about each project on the spot for us to have a chance of selling it.
To accomplish this, each of the Books & Such agents used their own unique methods of presenting pitches and leave-behinds. Janet created visually stunning 2-sided postcards for each of the books she pitched. Wendy designed a beautiful 4-page brochure with summaries of several projects, complete with photos, and let editors know who all her clients are and what projects she has available. Mary and Rachel created personalized packets with each editor’s name on them, containing one-sheets for each book. I presented my pitches using visuals on my iPad and gave editors a one-sheet for each book.
We all kept it simple and clean, yet were memorable in that we each had our own style.
There are no rules for pitching! The point is to make an impact, and to be remembered. Not to be gimmicky, but rather to let them know that you have the goods.
As you’re getting ready to make your pitch at writer’s conferences, I encourage you to think through your pitches and spend significant time preparing your materials. The advance preparation can make a world of difference in the success of your meeting.
It’s also important to remember to practice your pitching aloud before the conference. If you’ve only written it down, you will have a stilted, unnatural sounding pitch. Some tips:
- Memorize. I discovered that, even though I’d written out terrific pitches, I ramble on way too long if I don’t stick to a mostly-memorized pitch. That’s when your pitch gets boring and falls apart. Know exactly what you’re going to say.
- Time yourself. Practice the pitch ahead of time, and keep it at 1 to 3 minutes. (Only go to the longer end of the spectrum if you’re pitching non-fiction and need to talk about your platform as well as the book.)
- Don’t try to tell the whole story. The pitch, like back cover copy, is designed to intrigue and entice someone to want to read the book. Keep it simple, and let them ask questions.
I gave detailed instructions on how to prepare a pitch in my post Secrets of a Great Pitch, so click over if you need a refresher.
Just remember that agents and editors have to pitch projects too, so we know what it’s like for you. No need to be overly nervous — just prepare in advance so that you are confident! And don’t be afraid to create leave-behinds that uniquely express who you are and what your project is about.
What do you like and dislike about pitching? What kind of materials do you prepare ahead of time? What do you find the most difficult?
When pitching, make an impact and be remembered. Don’t be gimmicky. Click to Tweet.
When pitching, don’t be afraid to be creative & unique in your leave-behinds. Click to Tweet.
Agents and editors have to pitch projects too, so we know what it’s like. Click to Tweet.