The Opportunity: Pitching an Agent
All we writers want is that single opportunity to give our book to an agent. To have one person be intrigued enough to ask for a full manuscript.
It’s the first step, to traditionally publishing a book. You don’t interview agents and pick the one you want to work with. You pitch the book with a query letter, and a small sampling of the book, usually the first 50 pages and a short synopsis. If you’re lucky, they’ll respond and ask for the whole book.
I’ve sent cold queries. Lots and lots and lots of them. I’ve come close. I had an agent tell me she wanted to like the book but couldn’t get into the first three chapters I was required to send with the query. I was crushed.
When you find yourself with an opportunity to pitch an agent, you take it. I’ve been set up with agents through friends. I’ve been unsuccessful. I’ve gone to book conferences where I’ve met agents who have asked for more.
It was my weekend activity. I had the chance to pitch my book to several agents, four to be exact. Now the first pitch when badly in that I was all over the board and in the end realized I had mislabeled my genre. Who knew I wasn’t urban fantasy. I am indeed, contemporary fantasy.
But I digress.
The Stress of Pitching: The Reward
The reward is to give enough information about your book that someone will ask for more; more chapters and the ultimate goal, the entire manuscript.
So back to this weekend. I had a total of four pitches. The first not so good. However, the second, third and fourth went better than expected. All agents asked for me to send them a pitch. One wasn’t specific on requirements, I looked them up online. One agent was specific, I sent her what was required; the first 50 pages of the book to the address she requested.
Now the last agent was unexpected. She asked for the synopsis, my author bio and wait for it…. the manuscript. The holy grail of pitching the book. An actual request for the actual book.
In the aftermath of a successful pitch; there’s a down side. The feelings that come with sending your book to the agent. After hitting send, the feeling of dread that you’ve sent the book off and it wasn’t ready. It sucks. It needs more work. “What was I thinking?” The process is a painful one for writers. It’s sending your baby off to be critiqued, to be hated, or hopefully to be loved.
Thankfully, I was fortunate. Three of the four requested additional info, from synopses, to the entire manuscript.
I just sent my baby off to the agent. I hope she likes it.