Blogger: Rachel Kent
The ACFW conference is just around the corner! Rachelle is going to be there on behalf of Books & Such. I wish I could make it work to go this year, but it isn’t going to happen. Hopefully 2013!
I know many of you are planning to attend the conference or another conference this upcoming year and I’m sure you are all eager to pitch your projects to agents and editors. Pitching is a big part of these writer’s conferences but meeting an agent or editor in person also gives you the opportunity to connect with them on a more personal level. You are actually able to interact with that editor or agent. You aren’t just sending an email and hoping for a response from the unknown publishing professional on the other side.
Share information about yourself and your interests while you eat lunch at that publishing professional’s table or even during your meeting time. Ask questions about the editor or agent’s interests. Respect general privacy, of course, but most everyone is happy to talk about their kids, pets, favorite TV show, etc. It’s often a nice break to talk about something other than a book pitch for a couple of minutes anyway. I’ve found it is helpful for nerves too.
One of my clients recently attended the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference and was able to connect with an editor who loved the show “Dr. Who” as much as she did. They are both huge fans and now they are fast friends even if that editor never makes an offer on my client’s book. Their personalities and interests meshed. You don’t get that type of interaction from an email exchange.
As an agent, I find that when I’ve talked with someone about something other than their pitch, I’m more likely to remember them and their pitch in the future as well. And when an author mentions what we talked about to me in an email, the conversation usually jumps to mind and I’m able to remember the meeting. It’s a big deal to be remembered by an editor or agent since they meet with SO many people each year, so don’t be afraid to open up a little bit and share some of your personality and interests in hopes of making a connection. There’s no need to force anything and you can just be yourself.
Have you ever had a conversation that lead to a personal connection with an agent or editor?
Do you get nervous before meetings with editors and agents? Do you think that talking about something other than your book for a couple of minutes up front could help you relax before your pitch?
What are some of your interests? What topics would you feel comfortable discussing with an editor or agent? Maybe list five like this:
A little about me–just for fun:
1) My four favorite animals are dogs, wolves, buffalo and cows.
2) I’ve lived in California my whole life.
3) I love camping more than staying in a hotel.
4) My favorite book series is Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series.
5) I’ve been to Canada, Nicaragua, Mexico and Italy and look forward to seeing more of the world in the future.