Writing Conferences: Logistics of Pitch

I was asked to write a post about conferences including tips for pitching and how to get the most out of them. So here’s the first in a series of posts all about writing conferences!

I’ve asked my friend, Maddy, who has had experience live-pitching agents, to share her thoughts. And she has such wonderful advice! I’m so excited to be able to share her wisdom with you!

The posts will be the following (the first five out of six being guest posts from Maddy):

  • Logistics of Pitching (Who, What, Where, Why)
  • Writing Your Pitch
  • Pitch Templates
  • Pitch Practice
  • Pitching!
  • Overall tips

The posts will go up on Monday mornings through April 10th.

Now here’s Maddy to take you through live-pitching an agent at a conference!


Research who to pitch:

  • Which agents represent my genre?
  • Do I know anything about their clients/agencies?
  • Do the agents/agencies represent authors I’m excited about?
  • Have the agents done any interviews and/or taken part in Manuscript Wish List (#MSWL on twitter)?
    • If so, does it sound like they’re looking for anything close to what I’m writing?

Once you’ve narrowed your list down in order, reserve your agent appointment as soon as possible.

Example timeline: I was given a list of agents accepting pitches at the Romantic Times (RT) Booklovers Convention, and had a few days to research them before registration for pitch appointments began. With my research, I narrowed down my list to about five agents (registration for agent appointments can go fast, and you might not get your first choice, so it’s important to have a few choices). Once registration opened, I reserved my agent appointment as soon as I could.

Where to pitch agents: agent pitch sessions are a part of most major writers’ conventions. My advice—pick the conventions you want to go to anyways, with the agent pitches as a secondary consideration. Conventions are expensive, usually several days long, and can be incredibly useful by themselves. Agent pitches are usually only 5-10 minutes and can be hit or miss. As for when, many big conventions happen in the spring, but they can also be year-round. Bottom line, go when you can/when it makes sense for you, and if you have a manuscript near ready by then, definitely pitch it!

For upcoming conferences this year, check out ChiYA’s post!

Know why you’re pitching: Just for practice? To talk to the agent and ask questions about their style/the industry? Because you really want to query them? Any of these are fine reasons, but make sure you know what your main motive is before you dive into a pitch session.

On that note, do look up each conferences’ pitching guidelines beforehand. For example: Leviosa Con featured shorter pitch sessions, but encouraged attendees to go even if they didn’t have a manuscript ready. It was perfectly acceptable to use your pitch time to just chat with the agent. RT, on the other hand, states on their website that you should have your manuscript ready by the time you pitch in case the agent requests your book. There’s a bit of flexibility there, and you should always be honest with agents about what state your manuscript is in, but if you know in advance what kind of pitch you’re getting into, you can prep accordingly.

Now that you know how to pick your conference, how to select agents to live-pitch, and why you’re pitching, the next step is Writing Your Pitch, post coming next week!

If you enjoyed this post or are interested in the rest of this series, you can follow this blog by email or WordPress on the sidebar (or below for mobile), and you can check out Maddy’s site here!

img_8730Madeleine Colis is a YA writer from Chicago who lives in Australia and helps with the Boston Teen Author Festival—so she is perpetually time zone confused. She went to Northwestern University, where she studied English and began her YA fantasy series during her study abroad in Madrid, over espresso and sangria. She now lives in Melbourne: writing, learning martial arts, and failing to resist pretty foreign edition books.
Find her online: Twitter | Website

5 thoughts on “Writing Conferences: Logistics of Pitch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.