Friday, February 24, 2006

How to Pitch at a Conference

As most of you know, I read Miss Snark's blog daily. I find her advice practical and no-nonsense. Today she referred readers to Anna Genoese's blog from yesterday.

Anna Genoese is an editor over at Tor, a division of Holtzbrinck, which also owns St. Martin's Press and Macmillan. Tor publishes sci-fi and fantasy, including paranormal romance.

Anna's blog was devoted to helping writers make a pitch. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, Anna defines a pitch as "a five to fifteen minute (usually ten, actually) meeting with an editor (or agent), during which you 'pitch' your project--and yourself." This is generally done at a conference.

She went into great detail as to what she expects during that ten minutes. She wants to know everything and suggests you organize your pitch "like this: title, status, subgenre, word count, style, brief description of the plot including character motivation." She even gives EXAMPLES.

Anna also talks at length about making a personal connection. She emphasizes that she wants to work with enthusiastic and professional people who can "represent themselves and their publishing companies in a positive light."

On another loop this week, we talked about whether to bring your manuscript to a pitch session. Anna addresses this as well. She says she does not want to be handed anything although she stresses that other editors might feel differently. (It is, however, a safe bet that no editor at a conference is going to want to be handed seven inches of loose manuscript).

One thing she said that was very interesting to me because it is counter-intuitive to everything you hear: Do not focus on pitching a series. The reason she gives is that if she hates your first book, she is not going to be interested in hearing about other books in a series.

When asked about her top ten things not to do at a conference, her answer is simple: Don't be an idiot. Included among idiot things: confronting an editor in a bathroom (Ugh!), being rude to other people, expecting editors to remember you from a past submission or a conference several years before, asking to be slotted into the editor's pitch schedule and being pushy.

I've added Anna's blog address to the list at the right. DO go take a look at this posting. It is invaluable advice.

1 comment:

For The Trees said...

Maya, deepest thanks! That is one of the most powerful blog posts I've ever read - after yours. That little window on the industry really helped me understand what goes on at a conference.

Your posts help me understand what goes on in the industry as a whole. And that's as valuable as a segment.

Thanks all around. Thanks for Anna Genoese's post. Thanks.