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There are lots of great blog posts about how to pitch a novel in a face-to-face meeting with an agent, but sometimes, what you don’t say can be just as important.
With that in mind, I’ve made a list of things writers probably shouldn’t say during an in-person pitch (with special thanks to Bill Mingin, my friend from the
GSHW, who inspired this post during a pre-meeting chinwag last Saturday, and also suggested I include #6 on the list). 


10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to an Agent During an In-Person Pitch

1: “Before I tell you my story idea, you have to sign this secrecy agreement.” 

2: “I’m here to talk to you about the book what I wrote.”

3: “Wow. You look so much older in person.”
4: “Help me agent person. You’re my only hope.”
5: “This is a great conference, don’t you think? Listen, I know you’re on the toilet, but from the sound of things, you’re going to be in there for some time, so while you’ve got a few minutes to spare, please read my first chapter. It’s in the envelope I just slid under the door. No need to rush. I’ll just wait here till you’re done.”
6: “You’ll love having me as a client. I’m great fun to work with. Here, pull my finger.”

7: “I thought about approaching you before, when I follow you to work each morning, or as you collect your kids from school, or when you put out garbage at night, but I know how you agent-types like your privacy.”

8: “You’ll love my book. It’s way better than all that other rubbish you’ve been getting deals for.”

9: “Personally, I think literary agents are nothing but parasites and vultures. Still, since you guys are also the gate-keepers, I suppose I’ll just have to hold my nose and let one of you represent me. Now, about my novel…”

10:   ___________________________


I’ve left number ten blank. What would you put on a list of things not to say to an agent during a personal pitch?

If you found this helpful, you might also like:

The Agent Pitch: 10 Responses You Don't Want to Hear

A Rejection With a Silver Lining

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( 68 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 14th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
You had me on the floor with #5.

You're too funny.

#10: My book really represents itself, but since I need a drone to do the paperwork, I thought I'd give you first shot.
Mar. 14th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
From what I hear, #5 happens more often than you'd think.
Mar. 14th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
#10 - The first chapter might not grab you, but keep reading. It's a great story.
Mar. 14th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Or maybe better still: #10 - The first few chapters might not grab you, but keep reading. Once you get into it it's a great story.
Mar. 14th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Talk up the ending, right? :)
Mar. 14th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
10th No-No
Your search for the ultimate novel is over!
Mar. 14th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Re: 10th No-No
Lol, I like that one :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 14th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
That sounds more like a pick-up line ;)
Mar. 14th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
10. All those idiots who wouldn't touch it just didn't have any vision.
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Lol :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Lol, this is a post all by itself :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
That should do the trick :)
Mar. 15th, 2011 05:02 am (UTC)
I'll have you know, I used #5. It totally works. LOL!!!! I laughed so hard I can't think of a #10.
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
I'll have you know, I used #5. It totally works.

Naughty, girl. You knew you weren't allowed in the men's loo, but you went in anyway :P
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:27 am (UTC)
#5 - priceless :-)

#10: I want to save the rainforest, so I took the liberty of printing the novel on both sides of this matchbox.
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
That sounds like some teeny-tiny print font :)
(no subject) - jakobdrud - Mar. 15th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 15th, 2011 12:48 pm (UTC)
#4 & #6 lol

#5 ::ewww::

#10 "Since the dinosaurs in publishing are about to become extinct. Why do I need you?"

Mar. 15th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
Unless it's a dinosaur book, of course, in which case... :)
Mar. 16th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)

"There is a contact poison on the query. I have the antidote. How much do you want to live?"
Mar. 16th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Lol, that's just evil :)
Mar. 17th, 2011 05:55 am (UTC)
Those are great - I love #6.

How about one where the writer sidles up beside someone else currently giving their pitch, waves his hand over the guy's shoulder toward the agent and says "this is not the book you're lookin for". ^_^
Mar. 17th, 2011 10:49 am (UTC)
Ooh, I like that one. Thanks, Kat :)
Mar. 18th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
10. "Everyone on fanfiction.net raved about my novel, so I want to share it with the world!"
Mar. 19th, 2011 11:21 am (UTC)
Lol, good one :)
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Mar. 19th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 20th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Jun. 20th, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 20th, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Jun. 20th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 23rd, 2013 11:43 am (UTC)
# 10 I'm making an offer you can't refuse; take me on or else!
Mar. 26th, 2013 10:11 am (UTC)
Lol :)
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( 68 comments — Leave a comment )

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