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