In the interest of time, I wanted to pass along one of the very best pieces of advice I
ever got when starting out in this business—if you’ve got an Agent or Editor Appointment, take a moment, right this minute, to shoot them a note, and do it ASAP.
I swear to you, this is The Secret Weapon. Send them a short query in advance of the conference.
Getting your short, pithy query out ahead of time shows you’re a professional, and allows you to go into your meeting with a clear game plan.
The agent/editor will remember you, because you are one of the only writers seeking their valuable time in appointments who bothered to introduce yourself ahead of time.
If you send your short little letter in advance, you’ve already broken the ice (believe it or not, it’s just as uncomfortable for agents as it is for you).
Because you’ve given Agent/Editor a brief introduction of yourself and what you write, you can both relax in the meeting, and you’re free to ask the super important questions of the agent, such as What do you look for in a client? and Where did you get those shoes?
1. When you send your letter, make sure you mark on the outside of the envelope in big, bold Sharpie Marker–“RE: RWA Conference.” This lets Agent/Editor know the correspondence is time sensitive.
2. Research your agent/editor ahead of time. Know what kinds of writing they represent, know what they like, dislike, know the format they accept, etc. You can find this information by looking through:
a. Publisher’s Marketplace
d. Book Acknowledgements
THE SHORT LETTER
1. Tell Agent/Editor why you are interested in them as a representative, ie, they rep your genre, they rep Ms. Author Brilliant-Girl, and you admire their work with that author.
2. Give the short and sweet on what it is you’re pitching, including genre, approx. page count, and then go into (very briefly and pithily):
The Heroine (and why we’ll love her)
The Hero (and why we’ll love him)
The Horrible Thing that’s keeping them apart
3. End your short letter with a brief on who you are, the most significant contests you’ve won, and why you are the one person who could tell this story.
4. Finally, thank Agent/Editor for his or her time, and tell them you look forward to meeting them at the conference.
5. Offer to buy them a drink at the bar, or a cup of coffee at the café.
It’s that simple. You’d be surprised how such a little bit of prep work can change your pitch meeting for the better, and potentially, change your life . . .
If you have any questions, or are interested in signing on for the free workshop, stop by and see me tonight at the meeting, or email me offlist.