My vacation just ended, the laundry is spilling out into my overgrown yard, and the ACFW conference is fast approaching--all reasons why I don't have time to write a brand-new blog and you probably don't have time to read one--at least, nothing complicated.
So I'm reviewing a few basics about editor/agent appointments that I shared in a workshop a few years ago. Some have likened these encounters to first dates--a prospect that causes many to lock themselves in the conference hotel bathrooms. Hopefully, these brief reminders will help coax us out of the stalls.
First, preparation can make a huge difference.
- Prepare a logline: a super-short summary (one or two lines) designed to make the editor want to know more.
- Practice saying your logline until it sounds and feels natural.
- Make copies of your best clips (published works) to share. My initial pitch for my novel did little to connect me with my future agent at ACFW; my brief nonfiction piece grabbed her attention.
- Complete a one sheet (see an example at http://bit.ly/ownogf).
- Either make or buy business cards.
- Prepare an outfit that makes you feel comfortable, confident and professional.
- Gather materials to take with you (one sheet, clips and business card).
- Take ideas/materials for a different project, should the opportunity present itself.
- Role play with another writer if possible, taking turns being "editor" and "writer."
- Arrive a minimum of ten minutes early, take a few deep breaths and pray beforehand.
- Greet the editor/agent with a smile and present her with your one sheet and business card.
- Be pleasant and professional. Take your cues from the editor/agent.
- Be prepared to deliver your logline and answer questions about your book.
- Be prepared to highlight positives about yourself and your writing career.
- Ask if she would like to see your clip. If not, don't freak.
- If she returns your materials, take them. If not, assume she wants them.
- If she invites you to ask questions, ask a brief one that centers on her philosophy as an editor/agent or her expertise in publication trends. Otherwise, do not ask questions.
- If she invites you to send your proposal, make sure you obtain the correct contact information. If she says no, do not argue.
- Thank her. Positive or negative, don't extend the appointment past limits.
- Positive or negative, send her a thank-you note.
I know some of you are masters at pitching your work. What come-out-of-the-stall tips can you offer your fellow writers?