May 9, 2014

Tips on Meeting Agents and Editors (that even the shy writer can do)

By Lindsey Bell

A few years ago, when I finally felt ready to move forward with my writing career, I did something I was petrified to do.

I attended a writing conference and met—in person—with several agents and editors.

One thing you should probably know about me: I’m shy.

Meeting with writing professionals (especially when I was far from one!) was something I knew I needed to do but dreaded nonetheless.

After surviving that first meeting (and signing with an agent, by the way), I learned a few things that might help other shy writers as they prepare to meet with writing professionals.

5 Tips for the Shy Writer:

1. Remember…they are people too.

It’s tempting at times—especially before you are published—to put editors and agents on pedestals. To forget they too are human. Try your best to take them down from the pedestal and view them as normal people, just like you.

2. Dress the part.

Looking professional has a way of making you feel like a professional. I have a few outfits I rarely wear except when I meet with writing professionals. Putting these outfits on reminds me that I too am a writer. Dress the part, and you will begin to believe it.

3. Come prepared.

When you go to a writing conference, be prepared. Bring several copies of your book proposal and sample chapters. Bring business cards. Arm yourself with everything an editor or agent might ask to see.

4. Perfect your pitch.

Your book pitch should be a couple of sentences long and include the title, theme, and basic story line of your book. It’s basically, what you plan to say to someone when she asks, “What’s your book about?”

My pitch for Searching for Sanity is this: “Searching for Sanity is a parenting devotional that walks through the parents of the Bible: what they did well, what they did poorly, and what we can learn from them.”

Once you’ve written your pitch, practice it. Memorize it.

5. Remember…they are rooting for you.

Editors and agents want you to succeed. They are not searching for failures but for the next big story idea. They are rooting for you!

Let’s talk: What other tips would you add to this list? 
Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from the Parents of the Bible. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, avid reader, and chocolate lover. You can find Lindsey online at any of the following locations: Her blog:

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