Basic Things You Need To Know First:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Have any of you guys pitched an editor or agent before? Did any of the points above surprise you?