Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

You finally did it. Mouth dry, hands sweatier than the hands of someone who sweats a lot, you made that in-person pitch to the agent of your dreams.

Incredibly, the words you rehearsed a thousand times in the last week came out smoother than you ever dreamed possible. No stutter or tremble in your voice. No nervous flatulence (at least, not from you). In fact, you couldn't have made that pitch with any more eloquence if you had another thousand years to prepare. 

Now you wait for the agent's response. Every moment of silence drags on longer than the last. Your heart feels like a melon trying to wedge itself up into your throat.

At last, the agent raises a hand. Will it be thumbs up or thumbs down? And what if you do get a request for a partial, or even a full ms? How can you tell if he/she is really excited about your book or just asking to see more on the off-chance it turns out to be a better read than you made it sound?

Over the years I've developed a knack for reading between the lines. Being the helpful chap I am, I've made a list of some of the things an agent might say after your in-person pitch that might mean they're not quite as interested in your book as you hoped.  
The Agent Pitch: 10 Responses You Don't Want to Hear

1: "You know, if I hadn't just sold a book for a client with that exact same premise, I think I'd ask you to send me the full ms."

2: "Sounds great, never mind sending me a partial ms, let me sign you up right now... Bazinga! You've fallen victim to another one of my classic pranks. Oh, I'm such a kidder. Here, pull my finger." 

3: "Sorry, I drifted off there for a moment. What were you saying?"

4: "Next!"

5: "This is a joke, right? Did Donald Maass put you up to this?"

6: "Go away."

7: "Stewardess!"

8: "That's nice. Now if you don't mind, can we get back to organizing my mother's headstone. Did you say this one comes in marble?"

9: "I have a couple of questions. Who the heck are you and what are you doing in my hot tub?"

10: ____________________________________________

I left #10 blank.

What would you put on the list?

If you found this helpful, you might also like:

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

A Rejection With a Silver Lining

Site Meter


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
Mar. 28th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
Here's one I heard while wrapping up a pitch. I didn't think I'd connected with this agent even though she requested the first three chapters. She extended a handshake that exuded the cool electricity of a dead eel then said, "Good luck to you."
Mar. 28th, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC)
Or as Captain sub-text would say, "Don't let the door hit you in the rear end on the way out." :)
Mar. 28th, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC)
When I pitched my first book to Melissa Singer of Tor, after I got through the whole pitch without stumbling too much, she said: So what does your main character do? My first thought: Can I get back to you on that? I sort of mumbled something about him coming to realize why his life was the way it was and her response: Ah, so he self-actualizes. Yeah. That was it. The end result was the book was too long (100,000 words) for Tor for a first time author. But excellnt practice!
Mar. 28th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
Lol, it's all good stuff for the memoir, right :)
Mar. 28th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, you want that kind of agent. This is the FBI.
Mar. 28th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Hehehehe :)
Mar. 28th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
Yea, I met one at the last Write Stuff, too. I forgot why I was told to see this good looking young, blonde lady who asked me for synopsis of my book and while I was giving an answer< she glanced at her watch several times. For a second
I regreted I was senior citizen, otherwise I would ask her to step down to a nearby bar for a drink.
"I work for a literary Agency",
she told me without my asking any questions.
"I understand that anything to do with literature nowadays is a lost cause. The readers became 'Couchpotatoes', So how do you make your living" My interviewer became somewhat agitated. No doubt she asked herself how could anyone talk indifferently to "Literato" agent. "I make 15% on all successfully published and sold books", she proudly said.
"I got tired waiting for response from a publisher about my book", I told her, "So I publshed myself and now I am receiving 35% royalty every month, and already 3 publishers
called me a few times waiting for my next book, 'The Worshipers of Politically Incorect God'. I don't reply them right away, waitng for another call to boost my ego." "Who are they," she snapped and started to look at her watch again. I said good-bye to her which she empatically reapted it with raised voice.

I felt my interview was a diregard of human dignity. And who needs those agents now. I am not even a writer. At Columbia University I graduated with a "D" grade in English. All my life I have been a fiddle fixer, but when I retired I learned about writing by attending every month writers meetings at Borders. There I met one of the true literary critic and editor Kathryn Craft and she turned out my memoir "The Winding Path to Freedom" to a success. When ever blues invade my mind and soul, I open Google, enter my book's name and watch it being advertised everywhere not only int the U.S but in about every country of Europe and other continents. Lots of luck to all plumbers, carpenters and fiddlers who turned out to becoma writers.
Mar. 28th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Agent
I think Kathryn's great (but don't tell her I said so) ;)
Mar. 28th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
10. *maniacal laughter* or *drink comes out nose*

11. err...what did you say your day job was?

12 sounds...um, great. Can you give me back the toilet paper for this stall now?

Mar. 28th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
I like #10, especially if they can manage both at once :)
Agent Responses - eilwatkins - Mar. 29th, 2011 12:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Agent Responses - blood_of_winter - Mar. 29th, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
I'd love to represent your book. Please give me $500 upfront.
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
Lol, only $500? :)
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
#10: This is the best book in the galaxy! I'll send it to my people at once. Maybe when they land they'll allow you to watch the end of the Earth.
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
Now that's just cruel. I like it :)
Mar. 28th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
"Nice. Where's the hidden camera?"
Mar. 29th, 2011 12:03 pm (UTC)
Lol :)
Mar. 28th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
Hahaha ... and maybe this is why I don't want to have to pitch an agent ever! (Despite wanting one :)
Mar. 29th, 2011 12:03 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you'd get a much more favorable response :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 29th, 2011 12:04 pm (UTC)
Hehehe, now that would be a bad sign :)
Mar. 29th, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
This was a good pitch session, until....
I had a great pitch session at last year's conference. He requested my first 3 chapters, I emailed them to him, and then, he quit his job! Could it have been something I wrote? I wonder...
Mar. 29th, 2011 12:04 pm (UTC)
Re: This was a good pitch session, until....
I'm sure it was just a coincidence :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
That darn shrimp causes a lot of trouble, doesn't it :)
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)
I got one that was uncannily like your #1, only it went like this:
"You know, if I didn't have a client with that exact same premise, a book I love and have been completely unable to sell to anyone, I think I'd ask you to send me the full ms."
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)
Mar. 29th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)
"Thanks for the toilet paper."
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
Hehehehe :)
Mar. 29th, 2011 04:45 am (UTC)
When was the last time you took your medication? Was it before or after you escaped from the hospital?

(Jon, you are toooo funny!)
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
You know, I wonder how often agents actually do think that :)
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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



Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

NJ writing conference - compressed


Latest Month

October 2019
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Paulina Bozek