Monday, August 3, 2009

Relax-Yes You Can Enjoy Those Editor and Agent Appointments

Belinda here:

Really, you can enjoy them!! I promise. This is how you do it.

Kidding. I can't tell you HOW to do it, but I can provide some tips on making it a little easier on your nerves. At least I hope I can.

The very first editor appointment I had was with Brenda Chin from Harlequin. I wasn't writing Christian romance then, was at a conference all by myself, didn't know a soul, and signed up for an appointment. I thought I was getting a group appointment, but no, I got an all-by-myself ten minute appointment with Brenda. Honestly, I didn't know enough to be nervous, but the people around me were very nervous. So if I started to get nervous it was because they were nervous. (At least I'll say it was because of that.) Anyway, I had my pitch ready and sat down (I still remember what I was wearing!) and proceeded to tell Brenda about my book. She asked me a couple of easy questions, then she hit me with the bombshell question.

"What makes your book different from all the other books I might be wanting to buy?"


"Um, I have a bird in it? No, really, um, well, you see....."

I was TOTALLY unprepared for her question.

It was after this appointment that editor/agent appointments started making me nervous. What were they going to ask me? What if I fumbled around like that first appointment again? What if? What if?

A lot of years have passed since that first appointment. And here's what I have learned.

1. Know your story.
It's that simple. Like my pastor says "It may not be easy, but it's simple." Know your story inside and out and there will be no question you can't answer.

2. Remember this: Editors and agents are people, too. They are just like you and me. They breathe, they eat, they laugh, they enjoy a good book. Yes, they are human and not wanting to be put on any kind of pedestal or platform high above you. They want a good story and you have a good story to sell. Everybody's happy!

The turning point that changed the way I viewed the appointments without feeling nervous was this.
I was once monitoring an editor/agent session for a conference I was attending. I ushered a friend of mine who was already published to a table with an editor at it. My friend sat down and said something along the lines of....I don't want to pitch anything, I just wanted to say hi and see how you were doing....I'm not quoting because I can't remember word for word. The editor said something along these lines....thank goodness! It'll be good just to chat for a minute...or something like that. She wasn't being mean or anything, she was just being human. It was the end of the day, she'd seen a lot of people. I realized then that they endure a lot also by sitting all day, meeting with a different someone every few minutes. It was then that I saw them (agents/editors) in a very different light. I thought, she has emotions just like I do. She's tired, overwhelmed, probably hungry and so on....

For those of you attending the ACFW conference the agent/editor appointments are with excellent agents and editors. This is a rare chance to get to send work into a lot of the houses that only look at agented work. So, go, relax, know your story, be yourself and remember agents and editors are people too!!

And enjoy!!

PS---check back in after conference. I'll be posting on that Monday and it'll be something about the appointments. So come back and check in and let us know how that appointment went. We'd love to hear about it.
Oh, and please post now if you have any tips on enjoying those appointments. I know I can' be the only one that doesn't totally dread them!! Or let us know how you're feeling about your upcoming appointment. Plus, I know there's got to be some great stories regarding editor/agent appointments. We'd love to hear them.


  1. Last year at conference, I don't know what I was thinking. I requested spots with a Tyndale editor and a Barbour editory. The lady with Tyndale was so nice but she wasn't interested in me. I've never published anything in my life. I'm not agented. It's good to do your research before you sit down at the table with them. She recommended I watch a television show that she thought may be similar to my MS. I did take her advice and managed to watch one episode.

    The other appointments I had last year I canceled. I didn't feel that my MS was a fit for their house. None of the MS I've ever written. I felt like a chicken for canceling, but really, I think I had a clearer picture.

  2. Christy,
    Sometimes it is best just to sit back and take it all in. I've done that before. I think that in itself, knowing when to sit back and knowing when to dive in, is a learning lesson in itself.
    But this year, Miss Genesis Finalist, I'm sure you will have that perfect appointment.

  3. My first appointment was so bad! I was sooo nervous, and I went on and on and on about the story. The poor the editor had to cut me off. It was one of my most embarrassing moments. I won't tell who the editor was, though, because I don't want her to remember me!! LOL

    My suggestion is to jot your pitch on a notecard so you don't go in and draw a blank. Or so you don't go in and try to tell the whole story!! :)


  4. Great advice from everyone. I've only had one appt that really upset me, the rest, and there have been plenty, went rather well.