Friday, January 14, 2011

Top 5 Ways to Land an Agent/Editor at a Conference

So, like some of you, I will be going to the SCBWI New York conference in...less than two weeks!!!!!!!

*Ahem* excuse the squealing. Very excited.

To prepare, I've been researching good ways to meet and "bag" an agent in the short 2.5 days I'll have at the conference.  You may be thinking, "Why, ducky, that's impossible!"  Oh contraire, my little followers (and please, pardon the French.  My second language is Spanish...).  For, with my handy dandy list of the Top 5 Ways to Land an Agent/Editor at a Conference, you cannot fail.  And if you do, it's not my fault.  There must be something hideously and inalterably wrong with you and perhaps you should consider a career in serving fries instead of writing.

So, without further ado, I present to you, Top 5 Ways to Land an Agent/Editor at a Conference:

  1. Editors and Agents like to clear the stage quickly after panels and presentations, sneaking out through the back door, so it's always important to approach them DURING the panel or presentation.  Don't worry, they won't mind being interrupted at all!  Especially once you tell them what a BESTSELLER you've got on your hands.  And, if the audience behind you yells for you to clear off, that's just because they're jealous.  Flip them the bird and carry on with your pitch.  After all, you were the only one smart and brave enough to earn it!
  2. Before you even begin speaking to said editor or agent, remember to hand them your business card.  Sometimes they like to play coy and won't take it, claiming they just lose it.  Feel free to stick it in their pocket/briefcase/cleavage while they're not looking.  They're sure to notice it there.
  3. While conversing with your agent or editor of choice, be sure to remind them REPEATEDLY that you are better than their other clients.  Say something like, "Oh yeah.  I picked up your client X's new book.  Psh.  I didn't even make it past page 10.  That stuff was such crap!  I can't believe you signed her.  You can be sure that MY book will sell twice as many copies because it's TWICE as good!"  Now knowing their own clients' work pales in comparison to yours, they'll have no choice but to sign you, if for nothing other than to save face.
  4. When pitching your book to agents, be sure to highlight how short a time you've been writing.  Everyone loves a prodigy, am I wrong?  Even if it's taken you a year to get your manuscript written, it's okay to fudge a little bit!  Why not try, "So, I had been working at the bowling alley since high school, but after I saw the movie Twilight, I was like, 'hey!  I can write a book too!'  So, I started like last week, and wrote on ALL my breaks since then.  What you see before you today is a masterpiece unlike any other.  And it only took me a week to write!  Feel free to put that on the cover, by the way.  I think it'll sell more copies for you."
  5. Last but not least, I cannot stress enough how important a personal touch is.  Rather than just having flowers sent up to their room after the first day of workshops (c'mon, everyone does that!), why not hand deliver the flowers and champagne YOURSELF?  That way, the agent or editor can put a face to your name, and he'll forever associate you with the pleasant tipsy feeling brought on by too much champagne!  Also, if you're lucky, you'll get him drunk enough that he'll sign you without even seeing your book!
So, I hope these tips help you at your next conference!  And, don't forget to thank me in your acknowledgements.  After all, would you have ever landed that book deal without my sage advice!?  I think not!


  1. I've heard that agents LOVE being approached on bathroom breaks too! Multitasking at its best ;-)

  2. Don't be silly, Laura, editors and agents don't go to the bathroom!!! God, that would be like they were human or something. Hah!

  3. LOL! I so needed this laugh and I am beyond jealous that you are going to this conference!


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