May 7, 2018

Pitching to Agents & Editors

By Beth  Carter

It’s pitch season and I’m not talking about baseball! Authors have many ways to pitch their work to agents and editors. In fact, the choices can be daunting—and rewarding. Years ago, I flew to Ohio to pitch to a certain New York literary agent. I’m not sure why but I was extremely nervous, likely because it was my debut novel. Before that, my publishing credits included children’s picture books and six-word memoirs (I’ll post about those another time!)

I typed up catchy notes describing my novel and packed them in my suitcase (along with a gazillion clothes and shoes as if it were Armageddon.) After being picked up at the airport by a total stranger and taking her to dinner for her trouble, I attended several workshops, met friendly, aspiring writers, and authors who had “made it.” I tried my best to put the pitch out of my head as I devoured the writerly information since I was a newbie writer at the time.

Every spare minute I had, I rehearsed in my hotel room to half memorize and tweak my pithy hook. I practiced in front of a mirror and timed myself since it was just a ten-minute pitch. (Yes, just ten minutes to talk about any publishing credits, the all-important novel hook, and myself.) A couple of hours before my appointment with the (gasp) agent, I skipped a workshop and escaped to my room for ONE. LAST. PRACTICE. SESSION.

As I glanced over my notes, I felt a strange sensation on my face. I sat on the hotel bed slightly alarmed, reached up, and felt several bumps. I raced to the mirror and noticed pink hives on my cheeks.  Now what? I endeavored to calm myself by taking deep breaths, drinking water, and walking the halls. It eventually worked, but alas, I blabbered eight or nine of the ten allotted minutes, which only allowed the agent to ask me questions for one minute. What a disaster. She requested a partial (the first three chapters) but eventually passed on my novel. I was devastated.

A few months later, I noticed an online pitch session. Online? That meant no packing, no traveling, no rehearsing, and definitely no hives! Guess what? Several agents and editors requested a partial followed by the full manuscript. I eventually signed with Soul Mate Publishing for my double award-winning THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. Book 2, CHAOS AT COCONUTS, releases in April, and I’m hard at work on Book 3 because my readers have insisted this be a series. I really wish I could tell the agent about my progress, my loyal readers, my 210 reviews, and my awards, but I can’t remember her name!

Do you have a crazy pitch story? Please comment below.  
Beth Carter shed her corporate bank suits and heels to pen novels and children's books. She much prefers afternoon writing at Starbucks to 8 o'clock board meetings. Carter's novels include: CHAOS AT COCONUTS (Book 2), THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS (Book 1), SLEEPING WITH ELVIS, MIRACLE ON AISLE TWO, and SANTA BABY, a novelette. Winner of a 2017 Raven Award, a 2015 RONE Award, and named Best Debut Author in 2015, the author pens romantic women's fiction and contemporary romance in what she calls rollercoaster romance. The author infuses plenty of humor, suspense, heartwarming romance, and page-turning plot twists. Also a children's picture book author, Carter has four children's books published: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE?, SOUR POWER, SANTA'S SECRET, and THE MISSING KEY. All have been well received by kids, parents, teachers, and counselors. You'll likely find Beth Carter sipping a skinny vanilla latte while writing. That is, if she isn't on a boat or at T.J. Maxx. Her social media links are: 
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