Tips for Pitching

Writers Pitch BookReview all the pitch-takers (agents editors, and publishers) online ahead of time and match your work to those who can give you the best feedback. There is no signup.

Listen carefully to the introductions at the beginning of the program! Some agents or publishers may be interested in hearing a range of pitches—not just their specialty. Be prepared to line up with your first or second choice.
Be flexible.

We’ve asked all pitch-takers to provide feedback even if they do not represent your genre. Each publishing professional can give you advice on your pitch and other aspects of your project.

Rules for Pitching

  • There are TWO one-hour sessions with a break in between.
  • You’ll have a total of SIX MINUTES with each pitch-taker.
  • During your SIX-MINUTE PITCH you will be trying to convey the essence of your book and why you’re the best person to write it. 
  • During each hour, there should only be 10 people in each line to give a SIX-minute pitch. After the break, the lines will reform.
  • When the gong sounds, immediately move on to another line.  
  • Please converse quietly while waiting in line, practice your pitch, network.  If you want to leave the line for a short time to work with a mentor, use a sign to hold your place in line.

Tips for Pitching

Bring the first page of your novel to show or a one-page description of your nonfiction book. Bring business cards. But respect the literary professional if he or she chooses not to accept anything from you. If anyone wants to see something, you’ll be told what to send and how.

 Agents or editors might want to read the first page of a novel because they can tell immediately whether a writer can write and if they know how to start a novel. 

Narrative Non-Fiction: 
Be prepared to share the beginning of your work. It should have the impact of a novel. They need to know about the writing, platform, and professional experience that qualify you to write your book.

The following are 10 tips to use to help make the best of your time with an agent or acquisition editor. Start with the most impressive point about your book and go on from there.

NON-FICTION (prescriptive) 10 points to cover:

1. WHAT is the title and subtitle of your book?
2. WHAT is the concept of your book, in a “nutshell”?
3. WHO is your audience?
4. WHY this book at this time in this marketplace?
5. WHY are you the right person to write this book? Include your credentials,platform, track record, media experience, and your passion for the book.
6. DOES your passion for your book transmit to the agent?
7. HOW does your book compare/contrast to competition in your genre?
8. WHAT will you do to promote your book? Explain how your platform will provide continuing national, international visibility.
9. CAN your book be the first in a series?
10. ANYTHING ELSE unique or relevant about you or your book that would peak the agents’ interest.


Three story points to get across in 3-5 sentences. Don’t tell the story scene-by- scene.

1. What is the structure of the story? Set the state/tone/action/plot by including these elements:

a) Who are the characters? b) What is the setting? c) What is going on – the action?

Example: Far and Away (movie): A peasant and a noblewoman from Ireland set out separately to seek their fortunes in the great American land rush of the 1800s.

2. How is tension created in the story, i.e., what hitch has occurred to change all of the circumstances?

Example: Left penniless in America, they are forced to live together and form a bond that leads to continuing their pursuit and, ultimately, love.

3. How is the story going to be resolved?

Example: Conquering starvation, near death and family obligations, they figure out a way to make their American dream come true.

Also, is there a successful author or book that you are modeling your book on?

You will learn more by listening than by talking. So tell the agent what you think the agent needs to know in as few words as possible, and then let the agent advise you on what to do with our book.


  1. Hi:
    Is it possible to get a list of the agents before Saturday?
    Also, I sent in my check, but have not heard back.

    • Hi Curran, Thanks for your registration! The entire lineup is listed on our website, updated with any changes to remain current. Please refer to the Lineup just below this section on the website.
      See you there, Kate

  2. Silvia Brownlow says

    Hi! My name is Silvia, I am from Spain soEnglish is my second language. I pursuing my dream to write a memoir about my life struggles for more than 20 years in this Country living with bipolar two disorder. I have a really with accent and I am so afraid that they are not going to understand me and I am going to make a fool of myself around all real “writer”. In the other hand I can’t pass this opportunity .
    What do you think I should do?

  3. Margaret Marshall says

    Hello Kate,
    Are reservations closed now?


    • Hi Margaret, there are still a few tickets left. But not for long! If you’d like to attend, please register today. When we reach 60 attendees, we’ll close down the registration form. Thanks for asking and hope to see you there! Kate

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