I recently attended a local writing conference and came away with notes on several topics which interested me. The last two weeks, I posted about creating compelling characters and writing for trade publications to supplement your writing income. This week, I’m covering another observation from the conference I attended – going prepared to deliver your best pitch.
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I had two friends go with me and they were attending a writing conference for the first time. They came with ideas in mind as well as work ready to pitch to agents that were attending. Since I’m mainly working on self-publishing, I arrived with nothing in mind which is a mistake. Here’s why…
One friend kept talking to a particular fiction agent and got a sit-down meeting with him even though the agent’s calendar was full. This friend, pitched his two fiction book series. The agent passed on the first project but wanted to see the second one. So far my friend was 1 for 2 – not bad on your first try with an agent at your first writing conference. But, since the agent also represented film and TV projects, my friend went for broke and pitched a TV show idea. The agent knew of someone possibly looking for related programming and told my friend to write the pilot. That’s 2 for 3 – amazing!
Next we ate lunch at another agent’s table. The conversation went around with all of us since this agent was quite affable. When asked about anything she was doing, my second friend pitched a non-fiction idea she’d had for a number of years based on some personal experiences. The agent bit and told her he wanted to see her idea within a month using his online template. Wow, this was incredible!
However, by now you see the lesson learned. I arrived with nothing to pitch. The old adage, “Nothing ventured nothing gained” is apropos in this instance. Take my advice, have a few ideas in mind – maybe even slightly developed – when you go to a conference. You never know what may happen. As writers we are creative and lots of ideas come to mind. Just because you can’t act on it immediately doesn’t mean someone might not be interested in the right circumstances. Also, just because an idea isn’t in your main genre doesn’t mean it can’t be developed – especially non-fiction. And just because you are self-publishing doesn’t mean it eliminates you from other publication opportunities.
So take my advice, attend that next conference with a finished project or non-fiction idea ready to pitch to the nearest agent or editor. You never know what may happen! Don’t get caught sitting on the sidelines. Congratulations to my daring friends – now go get ’em!
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