Friday, May 25, 2012

May Conferences: The Follow Up

So you went to your conference. You pitched some agents. They requested.


Now what?

Firstly, cool your jets. You don't need to send those pages over ASAP. You definitely don't need to send it that night (like they request it on Friday and the conference goes until Sunday, ya the agent won't see it until Monday at the earliest).

And we completely understand if you need a few weeks/months/years to revise/rewrite/tweak your ms. Conferences give a lot of information. A LOT. And more often than not I'll hear writers say, "I thought my ms was ready, but I have a dozen ideas of how to make it better!" Do it. Take the time to revise before you submit. Because once you submit, there is no going back. No do-overs. I've heard stories of people getting a submission five years after they originally requested it. Wow.

Next, I hope you took notes of what the agent wanted. Twenty pages? Fifty pages? Full ms? Synopsis? Author bio? They'll usually tell you exactly what they want. And note "attached" or "pasted." Most likely, especially if it's a higher word count, they'll want it as an attachment. And, generally, they'll tell you to put "requested" and the conference name and title in the subject line. (always look up the agent/agency's submission guidelines)

Ex: Subject: Requested MS- NESCBWI- Wishing on a Star

I see the conference name and immediately know from what conference I requested it. Those go to the top of the slush pile.

Bonus tip--unless the agent specifically says not to, if you were unable to pitch an agent at the conference you can query them and mention you missed them but wanted to take the opportunity. Same thing, put the conference in the subject line along with Query. So: Subject: Query- NESCBWI- Wishing on a Star.

And what do you put IN the email if an agent has requested pages? Start with something about the agent requesting pages from the conference. If there was something memorable about your pitch to them (if you used a hook) put it in there to jog the agent's memory. If you discussed something the agent would remember (we joked about putting staplers in the jello at dinner) or if you yourself are memorable (I was the only fifteen year old there), mention that. We talk to a lot of people at conferences--A LOT--so don't assume we'll remember you.

After that, include how many pages you've attached and any other material the agent had requested. Below that, include the query letter, even if the agent didn't request it specifically. It's a great refresher and I like having it for reference (plus then I can gauge your query-writing skills which are way different than pitching-skills).

Dear Agent,

I met you last week at the NESCBWI conference. It was wonderful meeting you (I would totally provide the getaway car should you ever be taken with the notion to kidnap John Green again). You had mentioned interested in seeing my YA contemporary romance Wishing on a Star--a mix between a modern day Cinderella and Gangs of New York, if either featured a vegan Goth girl, world champion baton twirler. Oh, and she has a penguin for a pet. As requested, I've attached the first 50 pages, synopsis, and author bio. The query is pasted below for your reference. Please let me know if I can provide anything else. Thank you for your time.


[closing signature]

And remember these helpful posts from back in February about requested manuscripts. You'll be following the same guidelines, just slightly different at the beginning because your pages were requested via conference rather than query.

The Note.

The Return Email.

Formatting your Email.

The Nudge.

And the always useful: How to Format your Manuscript. (just to make it look pretty, especially for those of us who read on an e-reader)

Happy writing!


Blazer67 said...

Thanks for the refresher on submitting post-conference, Vickie. This is really helpful, especially since I received my first request for anything (ever!) at a recent conference I attended.

You're doing great things with this blog and I appreciate your perspective and insight.


Bonnie said...

I agree, this blog is a wealth of information. Thank you so much for creating it!!

Mart Ramirez said...

Very nice. Thanks, V!

Rachel said...

Good stuff. I'm attending a conference in October (Emerald City RWA Writers Conference) and can use all the tips I can get! Thanks.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

This is very timely. I have this opportunity in my lap and appreciate the heads up on the protocol. Thank you so much - new follower :)

Unknown said...

Just as courtesy thing, it'd also be nice to send a 'Thank You' card to the agent in question, even if they didn't request your work, for their time and any advice they gave.

G.M. said...

It's very nice how you explain the process, including the note, the nudge ect.

Unknown said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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