The whole experience felt akin to speed-dating (not such a far-fetched comparison).The agent-author relationship is indeed a courtship—to fall in love over a story, and to make lots of beautiful book babies.
At the agent-author mixer I attended, the styles and methods for pitching were as diverse as the manuscripts themselves, and some were more effective than others.
(Reading a pitch from an i Pad: less effective.) The event got me thinking about the art of the in-person book pitch.
Practice your pitch If you aren’t someone so naturally charismatic that you can pitch a book cold with eloquence, humor, and perfect economy of words, then it can’t hurt to practice your pitch before you’re face-to-face with agents.
(If you one of those people, we all secretly hate you.) We’ve all done this for interviews, practicing either with friends or in front of the mirror, and though you don’t have to memorize a script, you’ll have a better sense of your pacing, the length of your pitch, and the main talking points you want to hit if you say it all out loud beforehand.
Pitching books is something both authors and agents have to master, and I thought I’d provide some tips and techniques for authors doing in-person pitches to agents.
Of course, what worked for me might not work for all agents, but I think these general guidelines are a reasonable starting point.