To Pitch or Not To Pitch

In response to my post about the needing to rest before and during conferences, Jennifer Hallmark commented that she chose not to pitch at her first conference. This can be a good choice because it decreases stress and increases rest at conferences. However, for the purpose of getting published it can be important to pitch. So the question becomes should a writer pitch or should they not pitch and any given conference. Today I’m exploring some of the pros and cons of pitching.

If an author is interested in being published by a traditional publishing house the best way to get past queries to and the slush piles of both publishers and agents is to pitch and be asked to send a manuscript. To do this it is important to have a good pitch. This means the author needs to be prepared in advance have a practiced and perfected pitch. Haphazard pitches can give the publisher or agent the impression the author is unprofessional and raise questions about what his attitude toward the quality of his writing.

This does not mean the pitch has to be perfect. Publishers and agents are people and if the author has a positive attitude they will make allowances for nerves, especially with new writers.

But the choice isn’t always a standard to pitch or not to pitch. An author might want to talk to a publisher or an agent about an idea. If the author doesn’t have a book to pitch or doesn’t feel his pitch is good enough, he can just talk to them about ideas, plans, etc. and get their opinions. Most are willing to chat about ideas; in fact they welcome the opportunity because it is a change of pace from the usual pitch.

So think about your energy levels and the value you will get out of talking to a publisher or agent, then decide to pitch or not to pitch – or to chat.

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