Here’s what she wrote:
Hi! I am a newbie writer and really appreciate this straightforward outline for writing proposals. I am attending the ACFW conference and I planned on bringing a one sheet with me if/when I pitch my manuscript. What are your thoughts on the one sheet versus a proposal at events like this?Appointments also can be nerve-wracking experiences. Below are five ways to take the mystery out of the process and maximize your time with an editor or agent.
- BE ON TIME FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT. This is common courtesy. And if you decide not to keep the appointment, please let someone at the appointment desk know. There is probably another potential author waiting for an opening.
- OFFER A ONE-SHEET. A one-page description that includes your short pitch, a longer two-paragraph description, a short bio, your contact information, the category, and word count is an excellent conversation starter with editors and agents at the ACFW conference.
- RELAX AND LISTEN TO SUGGESTIONS. Greet editors and agents with a smile and tell them your name and where you’re from. Without my reading glasses, I can’t see what’s printed on your name tag—even across the table. Hand everyone your one-sheet. They will either take time to read it, or they will ask you to pitch your story. We know you’re nervous, especially if you’ve never done this before. Answer questions and listen to suggestions. Think of their advice as a personal letter sent back to you with a rejection. Editors and agents want you succeed.
- KEEP YOUR PROPOSAL IN YOUR FOLDER. Editors and agents do not have time to read your proposal at the conference, and their suitcases are as stuffed as yours. Have your proposal handy but realize that most editors and agents will not want to lug it home. Instead, if they show interest, ask if you can send a query letter or proposal to them at their e-mail or mailing address. In the sales world, this is called “the close.” All they can say is no.
- LEARN TO ACCEPT REJECTION. This is an excellent time to grow a thick skin. Most pitches are declined, and your 15-minute relationship with an editor or agent will end there. Rejection is not the end of your career; it is only the beginning. One of my authors, Richard Mabry (http://rmabry.blogspot.com/) who writes medical romantic suspense, conducted a survey and found that most editors and agents only ask to see four or five proposals out of the dozens of pitches they hear at ACFW, and of those, they might sign one project. Don’t despair. ACFW is the perfect place to hone your craft and learn about the realities of the Christian publishing industry. The Lord will make an opening when the timing is right.
Please let me know how today’s blog has helped you. This becomes a two-way conversation when you post a comment. Often I jump back on the blog during the day and will answer your questions or respond to your comments. I have both published and unpublished authors who read The Roving Editor, and we’d love to hear from you so that we can learn from your experience. Let’s talk!