Rather than pitch at an upcoming conference (having read your many posts on that topic), I've spent some dollars on a manuscript appraisal by an Awesome Agent which includes a 15 minute, one-on-one session with the agent at conference.
I'm trying to prepare some questions in advance and read the list of suggested questions to ask a prospective agent in Colin's collated Treasure Chest (thank you, Colin!), but they don't seem appropriate in these circumstances. I was wondering what you would suggest is appropriate to ask an agent during this sort of meeting?
The focus of this meeting is the state of your manuscript, not the specifics of representation. Your questions should be about the work.
First thing I'd want to know is how much did they read?
(often there's a page limit on these kinds of sessions: first ten, first fifty pages. Did they read all the pages?)
Second thing I'd want to know is what's not working.
Third thing I'd want to know is if they have suggestions for revisions on what's not working.
Fourth thing I'd ask would be if I'd gotten the category right in the query.
Fifth thing I'd want to know is if the story starts soon enough.
There probably won't be enough time to cover all of these but it's a start.
I don't know if the conference will let you do this, or if you have a friend you can ask, but you might consider bringing a note-taker with you to this session. Hearing what's not working can be difficult. Paying attention, and taking good notes might be one too many things for you at that moment. Having a fellow writer there to take notes might be useful. Make inquiries to see if you can do this. And of course, you'd return the favor to the other writer.
And things to not ask:
Did you like it?
Do you want to read the rest of it?
Is it publishable?
Let us know how it goes, ok?