Romance writers, listen up. Are you planning to attend a future writing conference? You need ammunition to nab an agent and/or publisher for your amazing romance novel. So, here you are, skimming the pages of your favorite writer’s magazine. You see an advertisement for a writing conference with awesome workshops and agents who seek your particular genre. You whip out your credit card faster than a gunslinger at high noon draws his sidearm and book the conference. The magic moment arrives and it is your turn to serve up a perfect pitch of your novel to prospective agents.
You’ve Got This! Why? You Did the Following:
1. Read the list of attending agents and visited their websites.
Pay attention to the agent’s bio and acquisition interests, her page of represented authors, and the type of publications she accepts.
Now, scroll through her client list. Is your book a good fit?
Which publisher(s) has she previously sold to?
2. Checked to see if she maintains a Facebook page, a Twitter or Pinterest account.
Follow her on social media. Become an agent info-junkie.
Now analyze it: What “vibe” do you get from her social media? A mentor, manager, a thorn in the backside?
3. Arrived at your appointed time or risk all of your hard work.
There is no such thing as a do-over at the big show; so, be on time.
She is sizing you up and wondering if you would be easy to work with. She is also wondering whether you would follow instructions and make the recommended changes to your manuscript.
4. Stepped forward and made eye contact.
Introduce yourself and know the correct pronunciation of her name. Mispronounce her name? Ugh. Goodbye conference. Tuck your tail and run home.
Be confident. You have an awesome novel and she needs to know you are the author to tell this story. An agent will sense your confidence and listen.
This is your time to shine. Paint a word picture of your story to show how much your novel rocks!
5. You are a professional writer and this agent wants the full package.
The full package, by the way, is a client who makes appointments on time, who dresses appropriately for meetings and interviews, and is polite and confident.
6. You have memorized your pitch until you can project with ease.
Be sure to practice at home until you reach this level of comfort. And also time your pitch to be certain it meets requirements. Listen for dictation issues.
7. Introduce her to the title of your book, the genre, setting, the protagonist and antagonist in one to two sentences. Just the facts.
Memorize the above until you can relay this information without thinking. Go into greater detail and talk about the conflicts, setting, tone, and demographics of your projected reader base. And also reveal your expected word count.
You Nail the Pitch! She Asks for More Information!
Here’s what you should be prepared to talk about:
- Explain where your book fits in the market, mention the target audience and manuscript status.
- These days agents want completed manuscripts, but you may say the manuscript will be complete thirty days after signing a contract.
- Mention writing awards you have received.
- Finish with a summary of the main characters, central story, sexual tension, and main conflict. Do not forget your contact information.
It is not imperative you bring a proposal (cover letter, synopsis, and the first three chapters), but if the agent asks to see one and you can hand her a neatly typed, crisp copy of your proposal in a presentation binder, kudos to you.
She may hand it back, give you her business card, and ask you to email a copy as an attachment. If she is not interested, perhaps she offered suggestions for changes to make your story more enticing to sell. Learn from the experience.
You are now prepared for your first face-to-face pitch. You can and will succeed. Positive thinking and preparedness will get you everywhere.
You’ve got this!
Tammy Lough loves creating women’s fiction sprinkled with humor, romance, and unique characters bursting with moxie and determination. Read Lacey’s Breakaway, the first book in the For the Love of Lacey series. Available Spring 2023: Lacey’s Circle of Love and Fall 2023: Lacey’s Legacy.She is an active member of the Missouri Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Southwest Writers, and Women Writing the West. You can connect with Tammy on her website, or on Twitter and Facebook.