I just signed with an agent (hallelujah!) who is fairly young and new to the business. He sent me a draft of his pitch to editors. The book is a thriller, and to my eye the pitch draft needs work. It doesn’t capture the tone or excitement of the book (and I told him so; he was quite receptive to my feedback).
But here’s my question. Is there any comparison to be made between the query letters/pitches that authors send to prospective agents (over which we massively obsess) and the pitches that agents send to editors at publishing houses? I don’t want to fault my guy on not writing a proper pitch, if the rules are quite different for agents.
I find it fascinating that your agent sent you a draft of the pitch letter.
I'm not sure I've ever done that.
And if an author suggested revisions for anything other than a flat out mistake (for example, I spelled his/her name wrong, or misquoted the word count) I'd probably suggest the author needed a new agent.
Prickly about my writing much? Yes, I am. I know it, I confess it freely, and I don't apologize for it.
When young and starting-out agents here at The Reef were drafting their pitch letters I helped them revise. We never sent it to the author as far as I can remember.
But, your agent did send, and you made suggestions and now you think he can't pitch very well.
There is one very big difference between a query letter from an author to an agent and a pitch letter from an agent to an editor. When I pitch editors, I'm almost never cold calling. They know me, or my list, or at least, the agency where I work. Thus they're MUCH more likely to read the pages and see if the writing grabs them, and use the pitch letter just for category and word count, plus author info (for example, is this a debut, does the author have pub credits other than a novel.)
I strongly STRONGLY urge you not to micromanage your agent. Almost no one responds well to that, and agents tend to skew heavily toward entrepreneur, self-starters, self-motivators, and that group responds even more poorly than the average bear to micromanaging.
There are things you're entitled to know: where you book has been pitched, who has it on submission, any comments the editors make in reply. That's NOT micro-managing to ask for that.
Micromanaging is asking to vet the pitch letter, or worse: making lists of imprints and publishers and asking why your book wasn't sent there.
I'm sure you'll have questions about this.