Friday, September 30, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

           Tips when meeting an Agent

As I mentioned last week; in preparation for the writers' conference I'll be attending next week, I have gathered a collection of helpful tips to share with you. Today's post focuses on how to prepare for meeting an agent.

Just because we're unknown and unpublished doesn't mean we can't make a great first impression. Treat the meeting like a job interview, even though it may only be a time to have your work critiqued.

Dress neatly and professionally - Even if the venue is casual and the agent is wearing a college sweatshirt - don't you! This is your time to make a great first impression, so wear at least a business casual outfit.

Be Confident - Shake hands and greet her in a friendly , but professional manner.

Be Prepared to Answer Possible Questions- This is a tough one. Since you aren't a mind reader, all you can do is think intelligently - what would she want to know? Possible questions:
How long have you been writing? Be prepared to have an honest and thorough answer. No embellishments.
Can you tell me about your story? This is where you would choose a pitch, I plan on using my thirty second variety.
What books are you familiar with in your genre? This is why we need to read, read, read!
(You may have some other great questions, if so please leave a comment - I'd like to know!)

Have Your Own List of Questions - Remember I mentioned this should be treated like a job interview? Any applicant worth their salt will have a multitude of questions rattling around in their mind. Don't be desperate or wimpy; this is your time too. You may have specific questions about a scene, a character, a setting, or any number of other things. If it is a meeting further down the road, you'll have specific questions about the agent and her agency.

After the Meeting - Be prepared for the possible chance she may ask for a printed synopsis of your story - (one-sheet). Wow! How exciting, probably far-fetched, but you never know. If you're able, have a few printed off with your contact information, the title of your book, the synopsis, and even a head shot of yourself so she'll remember who you are later on. Be sure and ask her for her business card, and definitely have your business card ready if she should request one. Again, shake hands - thank her for her time, and possibly for something specific she said that was meaningful to you. I would add, don't gush. I haven't had the opportunity to meet an agent yet, but I read a lot of blogs. Gushing won't impress, it will just give a desperate signal.

Send a Thank You Card - In this day and age of texting, e-mails, and direct messages it is still expected that you take the time to thank this person for their time and expertise with a hand-written note through the mail. Even if your meeting was less than you had hoped for, find something positive to say. I know difficult critiques are hard to accept; but it just may be the bit of advice that makes the difference someday.

I hope these posts have been helpful to you. I encourage you to do your own research as well - you may find some information that is even more valuable to you. Leave me a comment if you do - I'm just a storyteller on a journey like you!

4 comments:

  1. I will definitely consult this post when it is time for me to face the music. I mean meet an agent.

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  2. I like the idea of sending a thank you note. Very nice suggestion.

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  3. And now you HAVE met an agent--at the retreat! :) Wow, I'm embarrassed to say I haven't ever sent a thank you note to an agent or editor...but then again, I sent them a manuscript at their request (even if they passed on it later) so I mentioned my meeting with them then. Good point to have a synopsis ready!

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