Wednesday, November 10

How To Pitch An Editor: The Basics

As some of you know, I pitched an editor at the workshop I attended a few weeks ago. It was the most terrifying thing I've ever experienced in my short writing career. While there is no antidote for that (anyone who says there is is lying), I do think it helps if you're prepared. Therefore, I thought I'd share with you guys how I prepared for this scary event and what happened.

Basic Things You Need To Know First:
  1. Your story. Inside and out. This means your story must be completed and every plothole and character snag fixed up. Think of the pitch as a query letter. You wouldn't query with an incomplete story, would you? So why would you pitch an incomplete story?
  2. Your time limit. Most pitch sessions run from 8-10 minutes in length (mine was 9). While this does seem like a lot of time, it's not. You must plan accordingly. You have to give your talk and leave time for them to ask questions.
  3. The Editor/Agent.  I don't mean you need to know them personally, but you need to know what they're looking for. Agents are easy to research, but editors aren't. I scoured the Internet for information on the editor I pitched (Avon's Tessa Woodward) and came up with next to nothing. However, what I did find encouraged me to pitch her. If you pitch a genre they don't represent, you just wasted your time and theirs. Not to mention you just turned a few of your hairs grey for no reason.
  4. Editors and agents are humans too. *Gasp* I know, shocking right? But it's true. They're still human, even if they hold our dreams in their hands. And from my experience, they're really nice, so give them a chance. Even if the pitch doesn't go well, stop and talk to them. Pitch sessions aren't just to get your story out there. They're also for networking, so use that to your advantage.
  5. Editors and agents know you're nervous. Trust me, they won't hold it against you. I promise. As long as you've done your research, they won't be upset with you if you stutter, choke, speak too quickly, or burst into tears. And for the record, I did none of those lol.
See, that wasn't so bad was it? Small baby steps, that's what I say! Friday I will post on how to actually write and prepare for your pitch. Then Saturday I will talk about the actual pitch session itself *gulps*

Have any of you guys pitched an editor or agent before? Did any of the points above surprise you?

5 comments:

  1. An instructive, useful post! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Nope. Never have. I think I'd break out into hives, so I might never do it. Srsly.

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  3. I haven't either, but this is great advice. I would probably have to practice on my husband first.

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  4. Thanks for sharing Natalie, great post! Looking forward to reading more and well done on pitching :)

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  5. Mohamed- You're welcome =)

    Tina- Lol and you were one of the people who encouraged me! Traitor! ;)

    Patti- Yes, practice is key for actually preparing. I think my mum heard my pitch several dozen times.

    Ellen- You're welcome! Thank you. It was terrifying ;)

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