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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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Comments

( 68 comments — Leave a comment )
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bogwitch64
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.
jongibbs
Mar. 14th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
From what I hear, #5 happens more often than you'd think.
careann.wordpress.com
Mar. 14th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
#10 - The first chapter might not grab you, but keep reading. It's a great story.
careann.wordpress.com
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.
jongibbs
Mar. 14th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Talk up the ending, right? :)
arbraun
Mar. 14th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
10th No-No
Your search for the ultimate novel is over!
jongibbs
Mar. 14th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Re: 10th No-No
Lol, I like that one :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Mar. 14th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
That sounds more like a pick-up line ;)
snaky_poet
Mar. 14th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
10. All those idiots who wouldn't touch it just didn't have any vision.
jongibbs
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Lol :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Lol, this is a post all by itself :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
That should do the trick :)
tracy_d74
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.
jongibbs
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
jakobdrud
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.
jongibbs
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
a_r_williams
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?"

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

"There is a contact poison on the query. I have the antidote. How much do you want to live?"
jongibbs
Mar. 16th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Lol, that's just evil :)
ladysaotome
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". ^_^
jongibbs
Mar. 17th, 2011 10:49 am (UTC)
Ooh, I like that one. Thanks, Kat :)
snapes_angel
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!"
jongibbs
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
gilbertcuriosities.blogspot.nl
Mar. 23rd, 2013 11:43 am (UTC)
# 10 I'm making an offer you can't refuse; take me on or else!
jongibbs
Mar. 26th, 2013 10:11 am (UTC)
Lol :)
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


Books by my writer friends - compressed

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