1. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Agents What do I need?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Thomas Kitchen, May 2, 2014.

    Hi all,

    I'm attending a writer's conference on the 22nd of May, where there will be a Q&A session, and also a good chance to meet with agents - good ones, from London and other such places. This is really exciting, and I'm hoping to speak to some of them, and, let's face it, I also wouldn't mind acquiring one! ;)

    The question is, what exactly will I need to take with me? Synopses, contact details, whatever else? And not just that, but how do I handle myself in that sort of situation? It's one thing appearing confident, but it's another thing being cocky; it's one thing taking the initiative, but it's another thing being desperate. Any hints, tips, or experiences on how to talk to agents face to face? Anything I should say, or shouldn't? This really is a great chance.

    Thanks. :)
     
  2. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Try to take up as much physical space as possible to assert your dominance in all encounters.
     
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  3. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've got no proven advice for you, as I've never been in that situation. Personally, I'd focus on the feel of the place first. Write down a list of some good questions, and talk to as many people as you can. I'm not sure I'd try to acquire an agent so fast, but that's just me being me.

    Also, congratulations and good luck! It sounds like you'll have fun regardless. Many net confetti to you:).
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on 'how' you are meeting the agents. Sometimes conferences have pitch sessions, which an author is given 5-10 minutes with an agent to pitch their novel. Sometimes the initial 10 pages or synopsis is submitted ahead of time. These pitch sessions are often signed up for, and even paid for, ahead of time.

    Sometimes there are sessions that writers will attend where the agent is the only speaker, or sometimes it's a panel. Often that is an opportunity to ask a question--questions from the audience. Sometimes it is appropriate to follow up with a question and introduce yourself after the panel. Sometimes it needs to be moved into the hallway as the room may be immediately scheduled for another panel.

    I've never been to one, but I've heard where agents/editors go to tables of authors/writers and carry on a 'round table' discussion.

    Remember, agents are people too. They don't like to be hounded. Truth, I was in a men's restroom a number of years back and an writer started talking about his novel while the poor fellow was attempting to relieve himself. Did the writer really think that tactic was going to be successful? Apparently so--he felt his novel was just that good, if only the agent would hear about it...

    Most agents and editors that travel don't want to be handed a synopsis or even a business card. They won't remember/make any connection with the card. If you are able to talk with an agent, if they sound interested in your project, politely ask if you could send them the first few chapters and a synopsis. If you do and they're agreeable, in the body of the email/cover letter, remind them of meeting them at _________ conference in May and that they 'requested' or indicated it would were willing to take look at the initial chapters.

    In truth, in my experience, most agents and editors are friendly and helpful, but desire/avoid being overwhelmed/pestered by would be authors. It's a delicate balance for you, and you'd play it by ear. I would recommend dressing professionally. Have business cards, for other authors/writers you meet and might want to maintain contact with.

    Good luck and have a great time.
     
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  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Some writers' conferences have "pitch" sessions, where writers have a couple of minutes to pitch their ideas to agents and editors. You should check to see if yours is one of them.
     
  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    From what I gather from one girl I know, who secured a trilogy contract with a major publisher, she met her agent at a conference about four years before coming up with the winning manuscript. The agent was all new, a young woman, and they met and chatted. My friend brought with her the manuscript, query letter, synopsis, everything, just in case she got a chance to tell someone about it, and if they were interested she could leave them with more.

    Well, the agent took first three chapters of her then novel. She liked it but there were problems, it was a first novel of a young writer, it needed a lot of work. After a couple of years of re-writes and the agent unsuccessfully trying to sell it, and my friend finishing another manuscript, the agent loved the next book and managed to sell it as a trilogy to a major publisher. They were very lucky, the timing was right etc, but I think you can't lose anything if you take everything. Even if you don't get a chance to pitch it, it's better then having the opportunity but not being able to take advantage of it.
     
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  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think I've read elsewhere that agents pretty much hate to be hounded and basically attacked with a manuscript and all the details of the novel.

    Treat them like human beings, friendly faces you just met at a party. Take an interest, chat and take time to warm up and well, build a relationship. Agents know they'll meet writers, they know you want to sell your MS, they're probably looking for the winning MS, as a matter of fact - but if you're pushy, they'll run away, esp as these are good agents so they're hardly desperate. I'd say strike some meaningful relationships and then IF the opportunity arises to talk about your book, talk then. And IF the agent asks, give more details then. Don't launch into a pitch with a summary of the entire MS without being asked.

    If you have friends who're particularly sales and/or business savvy, you may wanna ask some of them for advice on how to sell yourself. Make them interested in YOU and an interest in your product will likely follow, but that's just my theory lol.
     
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  8. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Thanks, all. I will let you know all the juicy (or not so juicy) details after said date! :)
     
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  9. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Let me know how my advice works out. You should also try to casually mentioning that you own a gun and that nobody has ever impeded your will and you don't know how you'd react if that ever happened.
     
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