[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]
Lesley Sabga is an agent assistant at The Seymour Agency.
She is taking pitches on behalf of all of the agency’s acquiring agents (except for Jennifer Wills, who is attending the event also). She wants to hear pitches for happily-ever-after romance, mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, young adult with a fresh voice (both contemporary and sci-fi/fantasy), science fiction, fantasy, action/adventure, Christian/inspirational fiction and nonfiction, women’s fiction (contemporary and historical), new adult, Southern fiction, and literary fiction.
Lesley is a graduate of the editorial program at the University of Chicago and also hold a BA in English from the University of Kentucky. She has experience working in two publishing houses, Entangled Publishing and Jolly Fish Press, and is currently working at The Seymour Agency. She is also a full-time freelancer for the Editorial Freelance Association and the Chartwell Literary Group.
Lesley is an avid reader and a constant occupant of local coffeeshops and bookstores. She wakes up every day thankful to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for literature professionally.
If you are coming to the 2018 Michigan Writing Workshop, you may be thinking about pitching our agent-in-attendance or editor-in-attendance. An in-person pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from one of last year’s instructors, Chuck Sambuchino) that will help you pitch your work effectively at the event during a 10-minute consultation. Chuck advises that you should:
- Try to keep your pitch to 90 seconds. Keeping your pitch concise and short is beneficial because 1) it shows you are in command of the story and what your book is about; and 2) it allows plenty of time for back-and-forth discussion between you and the agent. Note: If you’re writing nonfiction, and therefore have to speak plenty about yourself and your platform, then your pitch can certainly run longer.
- Practice before you get to the event. Say your pitch out loud, and even try it out on fellow writers. Feedback from peers will help you figure out if your pitch is confusing, or missing critical elements. Remember to focus on what makes your story unique. Mystery novels, for example, all follow a similar formula — so the elements that make yours unique and interesting will need to shine during the pitch to make your book stand out.
- Do not give away the ending. If you pick up a DVD for Die Hard, does it say “John McClane wins at the end”? No. Because if it did, you wouldn’t buy the movie. Pitches are designed to leave the ending unanswered, much like the back of any DVD box you read.
- Have some questions ready. 10 minutes is plenty of time to pitch and discuss your book, so there is a good chance you will be done pitching early. At that point, you are free to ask the agent questions about writing, publishing or craft. The meeting is both a pitch session and a consultation, so feel free to ask whatever you like as long as it pertains to writing.
- Remember to hit the big beats of a pitch. Everyone’s pitch will be different, but the main elements to hit are 1) introducing the main character(s) and telling us about them, 2) saying what goes wrong that sets the story into motion, 3) explaining how the main character sets off to make things right and solve the problem, 4) explaining the stakes — i.e., what happens if the main character fails, and 5) ending with an unclear wrap-up.