Have you ever been to a pitch appointment at a writers’ conference? Were you disappointed when the agent or editor mentioned you needed a completed manuscript before they’d take your book idea seriously? Well, agent Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency recently blogged about the possibility of eliminating this situation. She feels if there’s an alternative to the original pitch appointment, something made for writers who haven’t finished their book yet, both writers and agents (or editors) can walk away with integrity. The way the system is presently set up, the agent or editor must act like the villain by rejecting the writer before they read a word he/she has written. Talk about making rejection feel personal.
The alternatives Kristin Nelson and readers of her blog (Pub Rants) have come up with are:
1) Practice pitch session where any writer with an unfinished project may pitch to an agent/editor for feedback (and practice) knowing no sample pages will be requested.
2) Social event with agent/editor where 6 participants meet the agent/editor off-site at a restaurant or lounge for a Q & A roundtable discussion.
3) Coffee Klatch where 5-6 participants have coffee with an agent/editor. This is similar to #2 only it’s on-site.
4) Small roundtable query workshop or opening pages critique, which would be a lot of prep work for the agent/editor.
I believe #1 is a win/win situation because there’s no pressure on the writer to succeed and the agent/editor doesn’t have to worry about rejecting anyone solely because the work isn’t complete. Also, wouldn’t having this as an option open up spaces at pitch appointments for writers who have finished their manuscript? I would hope so.
What do you think? Which alternative would you prefer? Or do you have your own idea?