Planning to pitch to an agent at the conference? Here’s how to perfect your pitch

Pitching your novel, or nonfiction book proposal to a literary agent can be the most exciting — and nerve-wracking — time in any author’s life. The key to a successful pitch session is preparation. Here are a few tips that will help you make the best of your experience:

  • Pitch sessions are up to 10 minutes long. No more time is allowed. Make certain you can present your idea within that timeframe.
    • Suggestion: It’s a good strategy to keep your pitch to no more than 5 minutes. Use the remaining time for questions and wrap-up.
  • You will be in the same room at the same time with other writers who are presenting their book ideas to other agents. Don’t be nervous. Speak in a normal, conversational tone.
  • Do not bring a copy of your completed manuscript. Agents do not accept paper. If the agent is interested in your book idea, he or she will provide instructions on their agency’s preferred submission process.
  • Do bring a notepad and something with which to write. The agents are a wealth of information on the publishing industry.
  • Here are a few websites that discuss how to pitch; however, this is not an all-inclusive list. Surf the Internet for more.
  • Here are some articles that discuss how to pitch your work to a literary agent, but please search for more. The Internet is a wealth of helpful information.
    · The Perfect Pitch: Pitching to Agents at a Writing Conference A good article to help you prepare.
    · “How to Pitch Your Book at a Writing Conference”. Another great article from the same source can be found at
  • Rehearse your pitch, but pick a listener who will offer you honest feedback, not someone who loves you enough to overlook your flaws.
    • Suggestion: Try not to memorize your pitch word-for-word. Instead, strive for a conversational approach. If you memorize your pitch and stumble on a word, or the agent interrupts you to ask a question, it might throw you off. Be prepared, but just talk to the agent as you would any other new acquaintance.

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