Yesterday I attended day one of the LDS Storymakers conference. Always a favorite, it was a fun and informative time.
I met up with fellow Inkers Donna, Deb, and Kirk (who, wearing his S.E. hat, was there to hear pitches), and also saw Inker friends Graham, Jenn, Ben, and L.T.
The big highlight for me was my pitch session with Nephele Tempest of the Knight Agency - a very nice woman from my hometown of L.A. who graciously offered to look at my first three chapters and a synopsis.
Inkers Donna and Deb pitched to Krista Marino, a senior editor at Delacorte Press/Random House. She had good things to say about both of their stories and advised them to get an agent and submit to her. Our plucky gals found the first opportunity to make an impromptu pitch to senior agent Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and were invited to submit their first three chapters to her. Deb will have more about this and photos on Monday!
Other highlights included the breakout sessions with Laura Rennert and Krista Marino. Ms. Marino spoke about the importance of the first five pages and what she is looking for as an editor.
Following are some tips from Laura Rennert about querying an agent:
--include the Who, What, When, Where, and Why Should I Care (the Why Should I Care is what makes your story different from the rest in your genre)
--always follow the agency submission guidelines EXACTLY if you really want them to read it
--keep it short, but not too short
--include information about who you are and any work experience or other credentials that lend credibility to your story (the story behind the story)
--include anything special about you related to the story that will help with marketing (My example: your story is about the first woman to climb Mt. Everest and you have climbed Mt. Everest)
--Don't overhype yourself
--Don't send work in a category the agent doesn't represent
Following is Laura Rennert's exercise for putting together a good pitch:
1. Write down the title, category, setting, protagonist, and central problem.
2. Write down one vivid detail that makes any one of the above elements different.
3. Prove your novel has: a) credibility, b) inherent conflict, c) originality, or d) real emotional power
4. Write down 3 big emotionally laden words that relate to your story (example: love, pain)
5. Write a one paragraph pitch using steps 1-3 and in the last sentence, use a word from step 4.
Good luck to everyone out their pitching things around!