Always Have your Pitches Ready.
So, got a wonderful opportunity to speak with my agent on Saturday at Bouchercon, where she had a few of her other clients attending, and one of them, the wonderful and supportive Sophie Littlefield won the Anthony award for best first novel for her great A BAD DAY FOR SORRY! HUGE shout out of congrats to Sophie! Woot!Woot!Woot!
I wasn’t able to attend, as I am… as they say, broke. The move, man… that move.
Anyway, I did get the chance to meet with Agent Lady (who is totally f’ing AWESOME. Met Janet Reid, too. WOW, what a force of nature!), and there we are on the couch in the lobby chatting away, and she’s asking me about how I feel about my current book, the one I will be turning into her very soon, and I’m telling her all about it, how I’m lucky I’m not comatose or in a padded cell at this point, etc. Then as I’m speaking, I mention this older book of mine that I have, an urban fantasy novel, and…
“Wait,” she said, “go back. You have an Urban Fantasy?”
“Yeah. It’s the first book I really ‘finished’. Blew up the whole query process, sent over 250 queries to agents, pubs, etc. Hell, probably sent YOU a query on it!”
Her already vivid eyes glow with eagerness. “What’s it about?”
And I give her the pitch, to which her eyes open wide, she giggles with maniacal mirth and says, “Send it to me! I want to read it! I want to read something else by you in a different genre. Even if you weren’t already my client, I would’ve requested it off of what you just told me. SEND IT!”
And I’m all aw shucks thank ya ma’am, warning her that in retrospect that it needs another draft, but she waves that away, so I go home and send it to her. She doesn’t really rep Urban Fantasy anymore, but it will, of course, be great to have her thoughts on the project. It’s “that project”, the one that every writer has, the one they hold close to their heart, hoping that one day, ONE DAY, someone will understand it all and try to help their baby see the light of day.
What’s one of the reasons why this worked, maybe THE reason?
I was ready with my pitch. I know the pitch for that book cold. Stone cold, and laid it on her like nobody’s business. Now, I had no idea, at all, that I would be pitching that to her, or anyone, ever again. Seriously, pitching a project that day was the furthest thing from my mind, but the op arose, and there ya go.
You never know, just never know when your number will get called. You have to be ready. Have your “elevator pitch” ready to go, especially if you attend conferences, etc. Your “elevator pitch” is just like what you’d see in TV guide, a one or two sentence WHAMMO that is so good, so concise, so involving, that the agent won’t let you leave until you swear to send the manuscript to them, immediately. It’s also called a “log line”. If you don’t have one for your book, start on one immediately. I start on them while I’m still doing the first draft. Seriously, I do.
I walked out of the Hyatt, and marched up California Street all the way to Whole Foods, but it felt like I was floating, I was so happy that she was interested, and that I was ready.