Meeting Agents at Conferences—Make a Good Impression

Here's a bit of advice you probably thought I would never say ... When you're at a writers conference, and there are agents there, don't be afraid to not pitch them. Wait a second. Back up. Let me explain. At conferences, there are designated "pitch times" where writers meet with agents, or perhaps there's some kind of "speed dating" thing, such as how the WD conference worked a month ago. Naturally, you want to pitch agents during this time.
Author:
Publish date:

Here's a bit of advice you probably thought I would never say ... When you're at a writers conference, and there are agents there, don't be afraid to not pitch them.

Wait a second. Back up. Let me explain. At conferences, there are designated "pitch times" where writers meet with agents, or perhaps there's some kind of "speed dating" thing, such as how the WD conference worked a month ago. Naturally, you want to pitch agents during this time.

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:

What I'm talking about is those other times—when you're sitting down together for a meal, or perhaps you're giving an agent a ride somewhere. The thing is: Agents are sometimes overloaded with pitches at conferences. If you can just avoid business and strike up a normal conversation ("Hey, I love the Yankees, too!"), then you have a better chance of sticking out in her mind later. An agent is going to remember a few of the day's best pitches as well as a few of the worst. Besides that, it all could very well blend together in a haze. If you can stick out in her mind by cracking a joke or talking about some hobbies you both have, you can make a positive impression not as a writer, but just as a person.

Now, it all depends on the circumstances, of course. If you're a romance writer, and you're at a lunch table with an agent who accepts romance, you don't need to ask, "Can I pitch you later?" You already know you can! Instead, start chatting and try to get her to smile. Ask for a business card later. A few days after the conference, when she's caught up from all the madness, pitch her then, and remind her of what you were talking about before where you both had a connection. Something like, "It was so very nice to meet and talk with you at the conference, Mary. And here I was thinking that I was the only person on the planet who lived in New York yet somehow never set foot in New Jersey. You have shown we are not alone. We do have another connection, though—we both love romance."

And then you gracefully slide into your book and pitch.

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Learn how to distinguish the sole from the soul with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

In this brave new world of virtual learning and social distance, Kristy Stevenson helps us make the most of the virtual conference.

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

Writers of historical fiction must always ride the line between factual and fictitious. Here, author Terry Roberts discusses how to navigate that line.

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

In this post, we look at what creative nonfiction (also known as the narrative nonfiction) is, including what makes it different from other types of fiction and nonfiction writing and more.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Four WDU Courses, a Competition Deadline Reminder, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce four WDU courses, a Competition deadline reminder, and more!

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask is a humorous and handy column by literary agent Barbara Poelle. In this edition, she discusses the next big fiction trend, and whether or not all books are the same.

From Script

A Change in Entertainment Business Currency and Disrupting Storytelling with Historical Significance (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, learn about how crypto currency is making a wave in the entertainment business, what percentages really mean in film financing, the pros and cons of writing partnerships, an exclusive interview with three-time NAACP Image Awards nominee, co-creator and former showrunner of CBS’ 'S.W.A.T.' Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Putting Off Submissions

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Putting Off Submissions

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is putting off submissions.

The Transformative Power of a Post-First-Draft Outline

The Transformative Power of a Post-First-Draft Outline

Have you ever considered outlining after finishing your first draft? Kris Spisak walks you through the process.