Conference seasons is here again! Some of you may be headed to the RT Convention coming up shortly and participating in their Pitch-a-Palooza, or taking advantage of the pitch appointments at the RWA conference, or those at regional conferences. Whichever you’re doing, it’s best to be prepared. I’ve now pitched seven times at three different conferences and I thought I’d share one of my tips: Make a dossier on each agent!
This serves several purposes:
- Ensures you’ve researched the agent
- Helps you get to know them a little before you meet them
- Helps make you feel like you’re prepared
- Provides you with info to help break the ice
- Gives you something to review quickly while you’re waiting for the appointment to start
This last is super-important if you’re pitching to more than one. You can quickly review and remind yourself that yep, this is the one that likes The Hobbit, or this is the one that loves dorky heroes. Whatever it is that you have in common that will help cement that agent in your mind before you go in.
Things to include:
- Agent Name (Duh)
- Name of Agency
- Location of their office
- Who their agency represents (only list those authors you know or are familiar with)
- Who they represent (again, just the ones you’re familiar with)
- Books they like (Obviously only ones that you like too or that might be comps for your work)
- Other Items of Note (anything else about what they’re looking for, personality quirks you have in common, anything else that’s relevant to your project. I knew one agent hated having pitches that started with the author handing her a business card, so I made sure to note that)
Things I didn’t list, but that could be good to add:
- Questions to ask
- Possible icebreaker topics
I took these sheets and made a folder with each one, complete with a label printed for the tab.
What if you don’t find much?
Some agents keep a low profile on the web (like mine!). But still it helps to put whatever you can find. To the right is all I could glean on my agent before I pitched to her. But it really helped to review this and know what she looked like. Be careful what you do find on the web–QueryTracker accidentally had Vicky Dreiling listed as being represented by her and it turned out that was incorrect. Double-check what you find with another source.
Anyway, I think my ice-breaker was going to be about her looking for quirky characters, but it turned out I didn’t need one. We were interrupted right when I sat down because I’d dropped my little stuffed Yoda that I had attached to my conference bag as a mascot and quick way to identify it amongst other bags. We had a laugh over it and she said “I love Yoda!” and off we went.
After the pitch
Afterward, I wrote down what they wanted on the sheet and their contact info. If they gave me a business card, I attached it. It also came in handy to keep any relevant info that transpired afterward in that folder or written on the sheet (like date partial full sent, reply, etc).
What about you? Have you used something like this and did you find it helpful? If you haven’t, would doing this help you? Can you think of other things to add that might be good to keep track of?