I've been reading and enjoying your blog for a long time, and was hoping you'd have time to give me your input on something. This weekend I pitched my novel at (what turned out to be) a practice pitch session.
The editor I was talking to was very nice, and gave me some great tips about how better to pitch my novel next time. At the end of the session, she said I was "welcome to submit to her" when I was ready to start marketing my novel.
The question is: Under these circumstances, would it be appropriate to label my query "Requested Material" when I submit? The editor was lovely, and I'd love to work with her, but I didn't know if it was forward to consider that wording a "request."
First, you're not marketing your novel unless you're planning on self-publishing it, and marketing it to readers. You're pitching, submitting, or sending queries for it. I always cringe when people ask me to help them "market" their novels when they want me to consider it for representation. That is NOT marketing.
Second, the editor did not ask you to send materials to her. She said to send her a query. And you're NOT going to do this unless you're planning to not have an agent.
The reason you're not going to do this is because your AGENT will determine who's a good fit for the novel and who's the best editor for you. I'm sure this editor was a perfectly lovely person, but that might not mean she's the right fit for your book. Or you.
An agent, a GOOD agent, doesn't just send books out to a random list of
Right now you're at the stage where an editor in hand feels a lot more secure than an agent out in the wild, but do NOT send material until you've secured an agent.
I still remember the utter humiliation of pitching a publisher on a project I KNEW was perfect for them, only to find out my client had sent it to them before I came on board. The editor laughed (sort of) and I laughed (only to mask the screaming) and the client is still hiding under her couch in case I call again.
And if you're absolutely going to ignore this advice and send it anyway, put the name of the conference on the envelope or in the email subject line, and start your email or cover letter with "you helped me with my pitch and said I was welcome to submit when ready." If you use the exact words she said, you're covered.
But don't do it. Really.