3 Reminders About Pitching Your Mss to an Editor or Agent

At our conference this weekend, we have an editor and an agent attending and for the first time, we’re doing pitch sessions. Always before, we’ve done a manuscript critique, sending in 10 pages a month before. So, I’ve been going over some recommendations for pitches:

Of course, you still have to refer to Miss Snark’s comments on pitches and study her comments on so many pitches.

The Internet Review of Science Fiction has a nice summary of a pitch letter.

So, here’s some things I’ve gleaned by reading through these and other resources.

  • The agent is a person. Not a checkbook. Treat an agent like a person and show interest in them. This would start from the moment you meet them until the conference is over.

    Quoting Miss Snark: All that wailing aside, a writer would do well at ANY pitch session to remember that an agent is a human being and being asked a question is a whole lot more conducive to conversation than being told about anything.

    So, you say “good morning, how are you” rather than “let me tell you about my novel”.

    You say “what books did you love this year” rather than “you’ll love my book”

    You ask “what do you like to know about a project at sessions like this”.

  • The verbal pitch, or elevator pitch, should include the premise, a bit about character and a dip into plot. Don’t spend time on the back story, the set up, or describing setting or characters in detail. I summarized Miss Snark’s formula before and it’s hard to improve upon. But you should go to her archived blog and read through the 500+ pitches that she commented on.
  • Relax. While a few people do find agents and editors at a conference, your chances are slim. Don’t go in with unrealistic expectations. Instead, go in with an attitude that you’ll learn something about the agent, the process of pitching and submitting, your novel and yourself.

Yes, I’m doing a pitch. Why? Because it’s a chance to learn.

Wish me luck!


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