I t this a Serious blog? Helpful? Dare I say insightful? No, not really. I thought I’d share with you the side of me that usually only those closest to me, or those I’m trying to impress get to see. Lucky you!
Many moons ago I attended the PNWA conference in Seattle. Determined to snag myself an agent and editor, I was full of confidence, charm and great clothes (thanks to a very fashionable friend). I knew that agents would be floating about the hotel and I poured over their pictures, memorizing their faces, favourite things and adjusting my pitch for each of them. The first one I ran in to, was a younger guy. Literally. I managed an “oops, sorry!” And continued on down the hallway, before I realized it was one of the agents I wanted to impress. In a last ditch effort, I yelled at him from thirty feet away. “Hey Joe!” He looks. I wave. “I’ll see you later!” I’m sure he thought I was making a move on him, but I didn’t care, just wanted to stand out of the crowd.
On a scale of 1-10, maybe a 7 on being memorable.
The next agent I was in the elevator with, again, oblivious that this is one of the agents I wanted for myself, one of the top agents from New York. So after I casually mention how short she is in an attempt to garner a laugh, I then go on to point out that she’s as short as my great grandmother, someone we as children affectionately called Yoda for her wrinkles, slight greenish tinge, height and British accent. This agent had all of those, except the accent wasn’t British but Kiwi. As in New Zealand. It wasn’t till I sat at my table that I had a flash of insight and recognized that the picture of this agent I’d been studying was from about 40 years ago when she wasn’t a salt and pepper haired old lady with glasses. Ah crap.
I think that may have scored me an 8, as the agent glared at me while I pitched her. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a long time before she forgets me.
The final encounter I’ll regale you with is where I broke down and offered to bribe an agent if she would just give me her card. She laughed. I didn’t. When I finally pitched to her, there was only the briefest of awkward silences where she sighed and said, “Send me your submission and put in the heading, Money Girl.” Done and done.
That one got me a 10 as I found out later she had been telling people about the gooney Money girl!
The only person I didn’t make a complete ass of myself in front of was the agent who signed me from the conference. In fact, I didn’t think she was even interested in my genre so I quit trying so hard and just had fun. She loved the ms and me. So the moral of the story is, desperation doesn’t work. Try to be memorable when pitching to agents and editors, but don’t insult or injure them.
And use bribery only as a last resort.
*Side note, since then I've dropped my agent and continued on my publishing journey on my own, but for those of you hunting for an agent, I hope this blog gives you some do's and don'ts.