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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Friday, July 25, 2008

Q&A Friday

Okay, y'all! Time for last minute conference questions!

Let us have it!


At 8:39 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

Good morning!

This is my first post, but I read the Posse's blog often. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.

My question: I have the good fortune to have a seat beside an editor for lunch at RWA. I assume I should have a pitch ready, but any other suggestions about what I should do?

I know some things about this editor and the publishing house, so I have some "just talk" ideas. Anything else?


At 9:36 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Morning, Barbara!

It sounds like you've done some great preparation.

First of all, Delle's column on Tuesday is perfect for this situation.

Here are the things you might get from this situation, more or less in order of importance.

1) An invitation to send a partial with the all-important "requested material" on it.

2) An introduction to another editor that's more suited to your stuff.

3) The name of an editor who is suited to your stuff.

4) An excuse to say hello to her at another point in the conference, when she might introduce you to someone beneficial.

5) An excuse to send her a non-writing piece of mail that just happens to have your card with book info in it.

6) Info about the publisher in general.

Some tips:

1) Editors know you want to pitch and will generally ask, "What's your book about?" When you find the rare exception that avoids the topic entirely, it's almost certainly a waste of your time to pitch. Instead, ask who at the company is acquiring your type of material. If you can't even get that, ask what the publisher is not looking for. What are they surfeited with? In my opinion, this is more valuable than asking what they are looking for, which is likely to get you the standard answer of "Great stories and hot, hot, hot."

2) If you've already discovered a hobby or interest of hers and you share it, that's great. (Sometimes there's time to find one out at the table, sometimes not. See #4, below.) She's more likely to remember the gal who shares her love of corgis, and you might be able to send her a little note later about "how much you enjoyed talking to her about dogs, here's the latest pic of mine." Or, "Here's the information on gluten-free recipes for your daughter." Then stick a card with your info in it. A second contact gets you in her head. Being less overwhelmed when she receives your note, she might even ask for something. At the very least, she might remember you at the next conference, when things might be more propitious. Never underestimate the power of personal connection.

3) Don't ask combative questions, such as, "Why doesn't your company carry Native American Romance?" or "Do you use anything but stock photos on your covers?"

4) Don't monopolize her conversation. It doesn't look good, and makes everyone else at the table loathe you.

Good luck!

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I'll play devil's advocate. You will sit next to the editor at lunch but is this really a chance to pitch? Unless you know for sure she is expecting to hear a pitch, I would be respectful and ask, "I have a manuscript that I think is perfect for your line, but I know this is lunch. Let me know if you would like to hear about it."
She surely will say yes, but at least you've been respectful of her "space."

My stock questions would be "What do you like to read?" "What do you like most about your job?" "Where are you from originally?"

This is a great opportunity. These are the kind of contacts that make the conference special-the chance to meet and talk to editors, agents, and other writers.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Great answer, Esri!

And good luck, Barbara! Make sure to be yourself and try to relax...:) Easier said than done!

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Two great answers! Diane and I must have posted at the same moment in time!?!

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Diane: I wouldn't call that Devil's advocate to mine (See Tip 1, don't waste your time pitching if she doesn't ask what your novel is about), but I did focus on the information side. But I totally agree that, more than anything, you want to have a nice conversation, and those are excellent conversation starters!

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Duh. Diane wasn't playing devil's advocate to me.

(sigh) And I thought it was always about me!

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Barbara said...


Thanks for the great info. I had already printed out Tuesday's blog.


You are right about the lunch not being a time to pitch. I have been thinking about that.

The most important thing to me is that I present myself as a professional.

Thanks to everyone for the input. Hopefully, I will see you at the Literacy Signing. I hear the lines can be long, so we'll see if I get in!


At 9:45 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

I am just so excited to be going I can't stand it!! And I will be in the hotel for the Beau Monde all day conference so I hope to have a good place when the lining up starts for the literacy signing. I just hope IF an editor or agent asks about my book I will have the presence of mind to say SOMETHING intelligent about my book!!


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