Have you ever pitched to an agent live, either in person or virtually? I'm doing this tomorrow at the Chesapeake Writer's Workshop with two agents and I'm more than a little nervous. Thankfully, I've at least watched other people do this in a community I'm in that has an agent visit monthly where three people from the group get to pitch their books. So, I have a general understanding of how it will go, and this is a little less intimidating since it's just me and the agent instead of me, the agent, and 100s of my peers watching, commenting, and critiquing my pitch!
I think it's an interesting concept though because you can receive real time feedback on your pitch. If they request pages, you can hopefully rise to the top of their slush pile, and if they don't, you're not waiting weeks on end for them to reject your query (assuming they respond at all).
In addition to pitching, I also purchased a query review, which I received last night. It was interesting to me to see how different people teach query writing, which really demonstrates the subjectivity of the publishing world. Two things that my writer's group teaches were challenged in the query review I received: whether a logline should be included in the opening paragraph and whether a writer should note this is their debut novel. I, personally, agree with my writer's group. Loglines in the first paragraph feel jarring to write, and I imagine in many cases, jarring to read. I put my hook in my second paragraph, which begins my blurb. I also think it's good to tell agents this is your debut novel, which shouldn't be confused with "first" novel. Some writer's debut novel is really the 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. novel they've written, but the first one they successfully published. As many agents are actively seeking debut authors, I don't think it's a bad thing to say "debut.".
As with other critiques I've received, I made changes that I thought were beneficial and left the rest. I have received one full manuscript request and I have been sort of dipping my toe into querying for the last few months. I will get my developmental editor's comments back later this month and then I hope to start fully querying in October.
To everyone pitching tomorrow for the Chesapeake Writer's Workshop, I wish you the best of luck!
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Book reviews, random thoughts, and writing samples from an aspiring author.