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Friday, June 29, 2012

Agent Consult Experience - #WETCon12

I try never to be negative—there’s just so many ways to be positive instead. So I have chosen to relate the positive side of this experience that took place this last weekend at the Writers’ League of Texas Agents Conference.

During my original selection process, I had maneuvered through each conference agent’s web site, special interests (business, in my case), access to major publishers (works with major publishing houses, as well as regional publishers that handle niche markets), special notes (looks for projects that present familiar subjects freshly or less-known subjects presented commercially) & ("This agency focuses on adult nonfiction, stresses strong editorial development and refinement before submitting to publishers, and brainstorms ideas with authors.") There was more to the process than the mentions above, but these several stood out above the others. There was also the mention that the agency had sold 35 titles last year alone.

I selected this agent for my consult and responded to the Writers’ League and the deal was set.

I wanted to be as fresh as possible so I had waited until two days ahead of the conference start to do my in-depth research on the selected agent’s web site and supported product. I gathered as much data from the information available and set off to dig in and be as prepared as possible.

I copied the titles from Business, Memoir and Humor and then conducted research on the authors and the title’s plus the author’s position on both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sales sites.

In total, I probably spent close to twelve hours reading and lining up notes to study before my consultation. I was prepared.

I studied my pitch and had it down as perfect as I considered necessary—I was positive I was ready for the meeting.

After the conference start, I made sure I attended at least one session that the selected agent sat on the presenting panel. This allowed me to gat that extra-positive feel that I at least had so idea of what to expect when I entered the consult room.

Twenty minutes prior to our meeting, I took the elevator to the seventeenth floor, all the while keeping my eyes on the elevator door—never once looking at the seventeen floor drop that loomed behind me should I somehow encounter a gust of wind that would send me through the glass and tumbling down.

Departing the elevator, I took my seat on murder’s row and awaited my turn. Low and behold, the pitcher preceding me failed to show and I was almost immediately shown into the consult for our ten minute hurrah.

I introduced myself and rolled my pitch as perfectly as I had ever practiced.

Miss Agent responded with one question—almost immediately also: “Where are you working?”

My response, being as upfront as possible: “I’m retired.”

She, again almost immediately, started in on the reasons why she couldn’t take on a business project authored by someone who wasn’t currently working in industry. Her explanation went on for some six or seven minutes. I knew there was not to be an author-agent meeting of the minds—while I was born dumb, I have been getting better ever since.

I’m positive that she never commented once on the quality of my pitch, nor did she ever offer any advice about a different approach. I ask several questions trying to probe her advice on what I had gleamed from other agents and the possibility of different approaches. I’m positive that she had nothing positive to say about the other agents’ advice.

I’m pretty sure that this was my chance to do some talking about my project. I am fairly sure that I spoke no more than a total of one and a half to two minutes out of my allotted ten.

I thanked her for her time, said good bye and departed the room.

I am positive that I am not going to waste much more time in the agent search.

Considering the recurring theme that resounded over and over during the conference, I am positive that I am going to look considerably harder at self-publishing and eBook opportunities.

I am positive that I can do a better job of representing myself than any near sited agent cut off from the reality of the business world and the people within it.

I’m positive.

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