Blogger: Rachel Kent
Location: Books & Such main office; Santa Rosa, Calif.
On Saturday, after a long day of appointments, I was waiting outside of the appointment rooms to introduce myself to an editor I had never met face-to-face. I love making these connections at conferences! We had spoken on the phone the week before and arranged to make a connection.
Unfortunately, two writers decided I was fair game for pitching because I was sitting there. Conference organizers always warn that you aren’t supposed to pitch to agents and editors in the bathroom, but hallway pitches are just about the same. I listened and had a little advice for both writers, but removed my name tag after the second writer walked away. I was practically brain dead after such a long day of appointments. I didn’t want anyone else to recognize me as an agent.
Now, I understand the writers paid a lot of money to attend the conference and they weren’t guaranteed an appointment with me. I understand their disappointment if they wanted to meet with me. But I was not in a receptive spot when they approached me and very tired.
My suggestion for those tempted to do the desperate hallway pitch (or airport pitch) is to instead email that editor or agent after the conference and explain you were unable to get an appointment, but ask if they would please take a careful look at your query letter.
You may or may not get a response, but I prefer this approach and I assume other agents and editors do as well.
Your other option is to sit with the editor or agent at a meal. I always ask the writers at my table what they’re writing and will pass out business cards. My lunch table the first day was not full, so there was opportunity for a few more writers to talk with me about their projects then.
I love it when people come up to introduce themselves to me, but pitching in that situation really is different.
I hope my suggestions help you for future conferences!