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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Face-To-Face...

How do you survive meeting an agent face-to-face? Many authors strive for representation, but normally, they do it by sending their manuscripts to unknown faces; however, I recently had the opportunity at ThrillerFest in New York to actually meet several agents across a small table. Oh my God, I thought I would die, or at least faint, before the day was through. Here are some tips that might help, if you ever find yourself in that situation.

1. Relax. An agent is just another person you want to befriend so that you can share your wonderful novel with them.

2. Know your characters and novel inside out. Be ready to wow them with knowledge of your story. If you are an expert in a field related to your book, tell them. For instance, I blew it big time when I made my main female lead an art history major. One agent asked if I had experience in art history. He assumed I maybe taught art or had some sort of degree in it. I felt foolish saying I didn't know the first thing about art. The lesson here? Write what you know. If you give your character a job or hobby and you aren't an expert in it, research it fully so that you can gain some expertise in the subject.

3. This shouldn't be an interview. I went in there pretending it was like a job interview, which had me more nervous by the second. The questions they ask should all pertain to your manuscript so you better darn well know the material beforehand. Be ready to answer any questions they might have. What's the story about? How did your character(s) get to that point? Why should I want to represent this particular book? There are hundreds of novels like yours, so have a good answer why this agent should pick yours.

4. Practice, practice, practice. Spend a great deal of time perfecting your pitch and then practice it as much as possible, weeks before you ever meet face-to-face.

Good luck!

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