My Experience Pitching Literary Agents!


Hey guys, it’s #AgentWeek on my
channel. I have three different panels featuring really awesome agents talking
about how to query, how to pitch an agent and who you can and cannot trust when
searching for an agent or publisher in publishing. So since this week is all about how to
get agented I thought I’d talk to you about my experience pitching agents! When I was at Leviosa I had the opportunity to pitch four different agents. I was and am in a weird predicament
where my book is not completely finished. It’s only partially done. I had the first
act completed around winter but then soon after that I got really really sick
and I spent most of the spring in out of the hospital, so there wasn’t what much work done on
my book in that time period. I was really hoping to have my book ready to query
and pitch by Leviosa because I knew that we’d have agents there, but my health sort
of changed the path for me. Here’s a really important tip: You
shouldn’t pitch an unwritten book. So when I went to Leviosa I wasn’t
planning on mentioning my book really much at all to the agents. I was just
going to ask industry questions, but the more I interacted with people and more
people asked me about my book. As people will do at writing a convention… The more I got good feedback. Everyone
who asked about my book idea really really loved it when I told them about it
and so I started considering maybe bringing it up. I talked to several of my new writer
friends, including published authors, and we all agreed that though my situation wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t exactly the same as pitching a
completely unwritten book. I do have a partially completed draft, an outline,
and a clear vision for the rest of the book. I went in to pitch sessions not with the hope of landing a full
manuscript request or anything, but to see who might be interested in me pitching
when it’s time for querying. I am really glad I did this I learned a
lot from the experience and the feedback I got is going to help me work on this
book as well as query in the future and two agents wanted to see more, so now I
have a connection that might lift me out of the
slush pile just a little bit. The first agent I pitched LOVED my book. She was really interested and excited to
learn more. This is where making a connection really played in, because I
had been volunteering the entire convention and she’d seen me a lot
before and since we’re also both mutual friends with one of the con directors, she knew enough about me to request my
full manuscript. Which is crazy! That’s crazy! That was really a great start to my
pitching sessions. I’m really glad to have made that connection. The next agent I met with said no, but
only because she already had a book with a similar premise. I asked about the novel and our
stories are completely different, but I’m not really upset about this because it
makes sense for an agent not take on a new client that has a similar idea as
one of her previous clients. I don’t think I would really enjoy that. I
definitely don’t think her previous client would, because it puts both of the
books at risk. If they were too similar, which they aren’t really, then one book
might sell in the other might not. This is a really good example of how an
agent’s projection might be completely unrelated to the quality of your book.
The third agent I spoke with was the most critical, but I’m still glad that I
met with her. She had a lot of questions that seemed to be less about my story than my ability to write it. This really frustrated me because I’m very
passionate about this idea and doing it correctly. It never feels good to be
doubted, but that’s the thing… She was only doubting me. She wasn’t doubting my story idea. In fact, she told me that I should probably drop one part of my
pitch because the rest of it stood out enough on its own. Reflecting on this session, she never
really said anything negative about my story idea. She just wanted to make sure
that I was the right person to tell that story. I’m really glad that I met with her,
because I worked on my pitch after that before I met with my final agent and i’m
really glad I did. Making this session with the final agent
successful was really important to me. I’ve admired this agent and
clients on her list for a very long time. This agent’s tastes, career history, and
overall vision for books that she’s already got out best align with my visions for this
book and my career’s future, so I was really hoping to
make a good impression with this final agent. I didn’t have a personal
connection with this one the way I did the first, so I started our conversation by
telling her how much I enjoyed several authors on her list. I even double checked the night before to
see if she’d added anyone new since the last time I checked and she
had! In fact, one of the authors that she represents wrote a book that I am using
to build this story! I wasn’t really trying to use my
knowledge of her list as a segue in. I really wanted it to be clear that no
matter what happened I really admired her work and clients that she had worked
with. No matter what I wanted her to know that I was really grateful for the books
that she helped championed. From there I led into my pitch and I dropped part that
the third agent advised against. She seemed really interested! She asked lots of questions about my story world and my character. She had all these sorts of what if’s and
her concerns were problems that I could address in the story. She gave me lots of ideas. It was
so great. She wanted to know how “this” caused “that” and what problems could be affected by “blah” and “blah.” It is just so great that
all of her questions were about my story world and my character and not very much about me. I mean… I love me, but I love this story. It was very exciting that she wanted
to know more about it. She mentioned a novel she’d read with a similar premise that let her down. This is where speaking with the second
agent really helped me. We spoke about how my story differed from that one. Then I told her about how passionate I was about this idea and doing it
correctly. She even asked me questions I was
nervous about and still seemed interested when I answered. Even after I
told her about my health predicament she still said that I could query her and
mention that we met at this convention when I was ready. It just… It made me feel on top of the
world. I’m a little paranoid that maybe she
said I could query her because she felt bad that I’ve been sick, but I
can’t ignore how wonderful all those questions about my story felt. No matter
how this turns out in the future, this gave me a lot of confidence in
approaching agents in the future and approaching people just to talk about my
book. I’m so excited just go back to work on my book. I’m so
excited to make it the best it can be. I really want to live up to the
expectations I think I might have set. The day before I pitched I actually ran the
pitch sessions for other people and I was honestly more scared handling other
people’s pitch sessions than my own. It’s really not as scary as you build it
up to be. Agents are real people. They just want to find a book that they love, that they can show other people, so they can love it! I hope this video and the panels I
have for you later this week help you best approach an agent, whether
you’re pitching or querying. I hope you find someone who truly, truly loves your
book. I’ll see you soon. Bye.

7 Replies to “My Experience Pitching Literary Agents!

  1. I loved this video. You have a great presence and are so natural. I think this is really helpful info for newbie authors. Wishing you the best on your writing journey!

  2. Kinda wished you gave some tips or mentioned the agencies the agents were from. i'm not really getting anything helpful from this :

  3. Your passion for your book is so evident! Loved the info you provided. I’m nervous about pitching, but want to give it a shot with a completed manuscript that my writing group has been helping me revise. You’ve given me a bit of courage!

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