Sunday, October 16, 2016

Writer Meets Editor or Agent

This week the Surrey International Writers' Conference gets underway. If you're attending, this post is for you!

Conferences are rites of passage for most aspiring authors. We attend these events to learn from the greats, maybe even talk to them; we inhale the craft at workshops; we get mega-motivated; and we pitch our W-I-P to acquisition editors and agents, one-on-one. 

Before you do book these appointments, be sure your manuscript is highly polished because many writers make the mistake of meeting editors and agents several years too early and leave disappointed. Your writers' group should be able to help you determine when your manuscript is ready for publication and you're well prepared for this step. 

With a dry mouth and a knot in your stomach, you make your way to your first meeting with an editor of one of Canada’s premier publishers . This is why you’re here, of course, but it doesn’t make it any easier. So here are a few tips to bolster your courage and to ensure a successful conversation:

  1. Pick the most suitable editors/agents for your work – do some research ahead of time. Be able to enthusiastically describe your book in one sentence. My book is about…. Practice saying it out loud…lots.
  2. Have a sample of your work for the editor to read that is correctly formatted – anything less and you create an unprofessional impression. (More than 50% of manuscripts handed over at conferences are single-spaced!) Make sure it is the very best writing you can deliver. Have abusiness card to leave behind you.
  3. Know what you need to learn from this encounter beforehand. Write a list so you don’t forget to ask your questions.
  4. And, don't hog the conversation — nerves tend to make people babble and then you never hear the pearls of wisdom from the person you chose to meet. You only have fifteen minutes…and it goes by fast!
  5. Make notes immediately after the meeting or you'll forget the details and how you agreed to proceed.
Take three deep breaths and go for it….

© Julie H. Ferguson 2016