I will be attending a pitch session at a writers conference in a few weeks (although I do know how you feel about them!). There will be time during each pitch for back and forth between the agents and attendees. I want to ask intelligent questions during this time, and while I do have a few prepared (which differ by agent, to some degree), I wonder if you have any advice on this. I know you've blogged on what to ask during "the call," but found nothing about what to ask at this stage. I would assume an agent would do most of the asking during a pitch, but don't want to be caught unprepared.
Don't expect an agent to do most of the talking! My preferred strategy for meeting writers is real life is not say any more than I have to, if that.
So, you'll give your pitch which will be short, concise, brief and to the point.
You will then STOP talking to allow the agent to ask whether the novel is finished, the word count, and where you see it on the shelf.
If you're really smart you will not include that info in your pitch, because that way the agent can ask, and get the convo started.
Put it in the pitch and the agent is left with nothing to ask other than "So, how bout them Yankees?"
If you feel the conversation start dragging, here are some things you can ask:
1. What advice does the agent give her new clients?
2. Does the agent have books she recommends to all writers? (I have several)
3. Read any good books lately?
If you've got time, ask if she'll take a look at your query and see if anything jumps out that might be a problem.
Most of us are pretty good at making conversation with shy woodland creatures since most of our clients started out that way.
Try to ask about her interests, or for her advice. Try not to argue with her even if you think she's dead wrong.
I had a writer tell me I just didn't understand her book during a session at a writers conference here in NYC some years back. My former minion Meredith was there with me. Upon hearing that (followed closely by Mer's audible gasp of shock), I just sat back and let the writer talk for the rest of the allotted time. When time was up I said thanks, and have a great day.
It was so odd...this woman had come hundreds of miles, spent oodles of dough, and then basically said she didn't have anything to learn from the very people who were there to help her. Mer and I were under the table we were laughing so hard...but it was really awful at the time.
Don't be that writer, ok?