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5 Important Tips on How to Pitch a Literary Agent In Person

With these tips you'll feel calm when you're face to face with an agent.
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June 30, 2015

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5 Important Tips on How to Pitch a Literary Agent In Person
BrianKlems Brian A. Klems
Online Editor
I'm grateful to have enjoyed my career as a syndicated columnist and nonfiction writer. But I always wondered what it would be like to write fiction, and finally decided to give it a try. Writing my first novel was an exhilarating process, one I found both challenging and richly satisfying ... until it was time to pitch my manuscript to agents. Oh, my. (This guest post is by Tracey Barnes Priestley.)

Pitching was new territory for me. Fortunately, researching a topic was not. I explored every aspect of drafting a pitch and discovered a wealth of helpful information. I devoured articles and attended a worthwhile pitching workshop. After writing and rewriting what I planned to say, I felt ready to pitch my novel to agents at a major California writing conference.

Just before my assigned hour that morning, I rounded the corner of the hotel lobby and walked right into a mass of twitching humanity. A tsunami of energy flooded the hall. While some writers chatted amicably, others made frantic, last-minute changes to what they were going to say. A few read their pitches out loud in odd little helium voices. Others looked pale, as if they might crumble to the floor.

It's worth noting that for the previous three days, both conference staff and agents had offered steady reassurance that pitching was an entirely manageable experience. Yet I was keenly aware that for many writers, none of this reassurance had registered. Fear had them by the throat and would not let go.

[Meet agents face to face at the Writer's Digest Annual Conference in NYC - Details here]

As a therapist-turned-life-coach, I understood the reactions I was witnessing. All of us had poured time and energy into our work; more important, we had poured ourselves into our work. I might even wager that most of us had indulged in pleasant fantasies about landing an agent, securing a publishing contract and even selling the movie rights. Naturally, the stakes were high.

Now, don't get me wrong. I wasn't standing there in a sea of calm. Hardly. I had plenty of my own antsy thoughts racing through my brain. However, I also had a well-honed skill set to rely on to help me navigate this nerve-wracking experience.

Here's the good news: It is entirely possible for you to learn these simple techniques. With the right awareness and practice, you will feel more confident, prepared and relaxed when the time comes to pitch your work in person. Here they are.   Read more... 
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