Agent Vickie shares a few tips to help with those nasty speed pitches. Check out her blog at http://navigatingtheslushpile.blogspot.com for more helpful information and insights into what she’s looking for.
As conference season approaches, you may be faced for the first time with dreaded Speed Pitches, also known as Speed Dating with agents. Usually you’ll have 2-5 minutes to tell an agent about your project and they’ll either say no or request pages (which you’ll send by email after the conference).
From an agent’s perspective, we can judge whether we’re interested in a project in the first thirty seconds. From a writer’s perspective, you’re probably terrified. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind when faced with a room full of agents and limited time to intrigue them:
- One liners: compare your project to well known books and movies to give us a sense of the plot and theme; or a memorable one line hook
- The pitch: much like a query letter, get to the heart; what is the protagonist facing? What is his biggest challenge? What makes the protagonist unique?
- Delivery: don’t read from paper, show us your enthusiasm, speak clearly and slowly and loudly enough for us to hear you over the other noise in the room
- Credentials: if you have them (especially important for non-fiction), give us the highlights (remember you’re crunched for time)
- Don’t give us papers, proposals (unless asked for), partials, or business cards. We have a lot to carry with us and an email after the conference is all we need
- If an agent has requested pages from you, when you email them, make sure to remind them where you met them, what they requested, and anything else that might jog their memory like a shared joke, or a your memorable one-liner
Remember, even if you’re not doing the speed pitches, you still need to be prepared with a quick pitch (elevator pitch) in case an agent, editor, or even another writer asks about your work.