Preparing your agent critique session at SWF: Pitch tips!

There are few things more nerve-wracking at a writers festival than anticipating an agent critique session. But luckily our keynote and festival kick-off speaker Jane Friedman is an expert on this topic. 

In this blog from her web site, she shares her best tips on how you can put your best foot forward. 

Building on Jane’s excellent tips here are another 11 things to keep in mind:

  1. Walk in with a smile

  2. Practice and time a 30-second “what’s your book about” introduction

  3. Try to speak little and allow the agent to speak as much as possible

  4. Don’t spend time on your life history or personal passions

  5. Do your homework and find common ground: check carefully what the agent represents, who their clients are and what they are seeking - describe how your writing is similar to one or more of their successful clients

  6. Know what kind of banana you have - know what genre you’ve written in, is it upmarket women’s fiction? dystopian? literary nonsense? (Hey that’s a thing - Lewis Carroll invented that genre.)

  7. Keep smiling and making eye contact - it shows you are okay with feedback

  8. Be the person they want to work with - practice that inner confidence that Jane mentions in her article - you can do this!!

  9. Know that writers and authors all have a cringe-worthy tale of fluffing it with a publishing professional. Don’t emulate it but arm yourself with that knowledge so you stay confident.

  10. Take your card or something so they remember your name.

  11. Sit somewhere quiet afterwards and write down what they said. Even if not all of it is crystal clear at the time, capture that feedback to reflect on in the future.