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Top 10 Things You Should Not Do at an Editor/Agent Appointment

© 1996 by Robyn Amos
This article may not be reprinted or distributed without the author's permission


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 short sentences.

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 calm.


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 notes.


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.

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