Sunday, October 07, 2007

AGENTS: Gatekeepers to the Publishing World

This weekend I had the great pleasure to meet Jessica Faust of Bookends at the New Jersey RWA conference. What impressed me most was her professionalism and honesty. Jessica gave a talk on Perfecting Your Pitch. Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to pitch my book. I had originally set the NJRWA conference as my goal for having the book completed, but was sidelined with an auto accident that resulted in rotator cuff surgery. This slowed down my work and although it’s complete in my head….its not down on paper yet. Either way, I still had to hear what Jessica had to say so I stumbled in and sat in the back taking notes.
Jessica took pitches from the audience. I was amazed how quickly she could take a rambling, run-on pitch and turn it into one or two sentences that cut right to the conflict. How I wished I brought my pitch with me!
She also gave great tips on how to talk to an agent. Reminding us that they’re human (we tend to believe agents are super-humans with great powers of deciphering the publishing biz), have piles of queries on their desk and are working hard every day to find that next great literary work of art. It’s a tough struggle on both sides.
After the session I nervously made my way to the front of the room to say hello. I had to get on line. Other anxious writers were waiting with pitch in hand to get her advice which she graciously gave to each and every one. (Oh! How I wish I had brought my pitch!) When it was finally my turn we chatted about blogging and when I found my self repeating things (a nervous habit of mine) I made a hasty exit.
Thank you, Jessica, for a great session. I’ll have my pitch ready next time and now it will be even better.

3 comments:

Milan Loka said...

im so glad you had fun! I wish we were able to talk more!
I miss you jeannie!!

<3Nisha

Aimless Writer said...

Nisha! How are you doing? How's school? The conference was great. I'm so sorry we didn't get to talk.
What happened to your blog?

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Hi Aimless -

Thanks for stopping my my blog. I left a note to say ABSOLUTELY share my exercises with your writing group. That's why they're there.

As a matter of fact, another reader/writer posted the results of the exercise on her own blog and I was so inspired that I added a Mr. Linky so that anyone who completed the exercise could share with others.

I will add the Mr. Linky to each Weekend Writing Workout from now on (usually posted on Fridays), so if anyone in your group wants to share with us, let them know! I'd love to see the results and get feedback from them. I'm working on a book of writing exercises for writing groups.

It sounds like you had a great experience at the pitch session - I love listening to pitch sessions. You're right, one can learn a lot that way.