Making a Good Physical Impression
- Dress presentably as you would for a job interview: nice outfit, neat fingernails, and clean hair. Be the best that you can be without being overly formal.
- Use good posture and don’t slouch. Look as confident and competent as you can, controlling your nerves as much as possible.
- Maintain good eye contact; again look as confident as possible.
Making a Knowledgeable Impression
- Do your research about the agent or publishing house ahead of time.
- Know what types of genres the agent represents or what the publisher has recently released.
- Be able to explain your awareness of similar books they have worked with or published, and be able to explain why yours will be different. Know how your book will work for their readers and how your book will fit in their market.
- Do not try to pitch your project if it is wrong for the agent or the publishing house. You are wasting their time and yours.
Making a Good Impression in Your Pitch
- Be prepared to sell yourself as well as the project. Let the agent/editor see your vision, understand your commitment, and sense your ability as a writer.
- Have a professional-looking business card ready to give to the agent/editor.
- Know your story intimately so you can easily respond to questions from the agent or editor that you had not prepared for.
- Prepare and practice your brief pitch ahead of time. See the article on The Pitch.
- Present your pitch with confidence, relating any finer points of the project that would appeal specifically to the agent/editor’s target audience.
- Relate to the agent/editor if there is any potential for making a series.
- Have a brief written summary of the project with you in case the agent/editor wants something to take home with them. Do not expect them to take a full manuscript, particularly if this is a book project.
- Be able to accept criticism or suggestions. Listen to the comments made by the agent/editor and write them down as soon as you can. Do not feel immediately disheartened or defensive. Go over what was commented upon later.
Making a Good Impression After the Meeting
- Follow up with the agent/editor with a polite note of thank you for the meeting.
- If a synopsis, query letter, partial or whole manuscript was requested, send the material as soon as possible.
© 2011 Starla Kaye