© 1996 by Robyn Amos
This article may not be reprinted or distributed without the
Writer's conferences are an excellent
way to meet editors or agents who might be interested in your
book. If you have the opportunity to meet with one of these
industry professionals, keep this list of don'ts in mind.
10. Arrive late, then insist
on finishing your pitch after your time is up. Professionalism
is your most impressive tool. Arrive on time, and when your
time is up, thank the editor or agent, shake hands and leave.
9. Start the interview with chit chat
about your dog, children or last dental appointment. Your
time is limited; make good use of it. Talk about what kind
of manuscript you've written, and the approximate word count,
then summarize your plot, characters and conflict in a few
8. Bring all 400 pages of your manuscript
for the editor/agent to lug back on the plane. The purpose
of the interview is for you to pitch your book, and the desired
result would be a request to mail a full-manuscript or proposal.
If you must leave something behind, a business card is sufficient.
7. Stumble over the title of your book, forget
your own name, or transpose the names of your hero and heroine. Practice what you want to say, and prepare a few notes
to take with you. Note cards are nice because they don't crumple
and shake as easily as paper.
6. Avoid asking the editor or agent questions. Nothing is worse than long painful silences. Ten minutes may
not sound like much, but it can move very slowly if you haven't
prepared for it.
5. Forget to wear deodorant. You will
be nervous, but that's expected. Just smile and try to stay
4. Dominate a group appointment. Respect
the other writers who share your appointment. Use only your
portion of the time and listen quietly when your time is up.
3. Ignore the editor or agents advice. This is your opportunity to get an inside track on a piece
of the publishing industry. Pay careful attention and take
2. Forget to breathe. This may seem ridiculous,
but purple and/or hyperventilating authors aren't uncommon
in these situations. Take a deep breath. If your nervous,
it's okay to admit it.
1. Place the editor or agent on a pedestal
so high that you are speechless in his or her presence. Remember that agents and editors are people too. They doing
their jobs, not holding your life in their hands. Keep in
mind that one interview will not make or break your entire
writing career. Take advantage of this special opportunity
and then concentrate on writing the best books you can write.