Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Make the Most of Your Appointments.

Tips for those editor/agent meetings

With the ACFW conference looming near, we need to be prepared for those appointments we’ve made and for any “chance encounters of the editor kind. These tips have been garnered from my many years of attending conferences as well as directing the Texas Christian Writers Conference and from discussions with other authors. No matter what conference you are attending, these tips will help you get the most out of your individual meetings.

The key is being prepared before making the appointment.

  1. Know the genre of your manuscript and research the houses publishing your genre.
  2. Read the guidelines of that house and be certain your manuscript meets them all.
  3. Sign up for your appointment.

Before the appointment.

  1. Learn all you can about the editor.
  2. Make a file for your manuscript. (Not the manuscript itself, but notes)
    1. Business card
    2. One sheet with your manuscript info and your biography
    3. 70 word or less blurb of your manuscript
    4. One or two sentence summary of your manuscript
    5. Sheet with the name and picture (if possible) of the editor and the guidelines for that publisher.
  3. Memorize and practice your pitch with your spouse, your friends, your critique partners, whoever will listen.
  4. Make a list of questions you might ask the editor concerning your manuscript, their house, or guidelines.
  5. Make notes if they request a manuscript as to when they want it, how to address it etc. (If your manuscript isn’t finished, and a full is requested, make note of the deadline you or the editor sets.) If for a proposal, give the editor an idea of when it will be sent.
  6. Be polite, not pushy. Smile and accept the decision of the editor/agent if he or she isn’t interested and thank him/her for the time.

Chance Encounters

  1. Have the same folder ready at all times.
  2. Select the editors whose houses publish your genre. Memorize their faces.
  3. Sit at their tables at meals and be prepared to make your pitch in a minute.
  4. Have your list of questions ready to ask if you need further information.
  5. Don’t be afraid to approach or start up a conversation in the hall or elevator, but be polite, not pushy.
  6. Give them a business card with your information and a blurb about your book on the back of it. ( Your picture will help them remember you)
  7. Take classes led by the editors of interest then approach them after class to inquire if they have time to talk with you a minute or two.
  8. Attend the editor/agent panels and listen carefully and take notes. You never know when some new information may work in your favor.

If you have more than one manuscript to pitch, have a folder for each one ready to whip out at the table, in the food line, in the elevator, or in the hallway. Talk with others who write the same genre you do. Above all, have a good time, and rest wh


Betsy St. Amant said...

Excellent advice! =)

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the tips!