Know Your Editors
Nothing shouts “NEWBIE…UNPROFESSIONAL” like pitching an editor or agent a suspense story when in their bio it says they don’t represent suspense. So before you pull out your romance one sheet make sure the editor is looking for romance. The more you know about your editor or agent, the more prepared you’ll be for your meeting. So where do you start?
Visit their website.
Most editors (publishing houses) and agents will tell you on their website what they’re looking for and have the guidelines for submitting your story. Why not use that information! Have you written a story too edgy for the editor you’re meeting with? Then don’t waste your appointment and their time. Do your homework and it will not only save you time, but embarrassment as well!
Does the agent or editor you’re targeting have a blog?
It’s amazing the information you can find on someone’s personal blog that you won’t find in their bio. Don’t be afraid to visit an agent’s or editor’s blog and ask questions. Of course, you don’t want to “stalk” them on the internet, but knowing who you’ll be meeting with will help you feel prepared and may even calm those pre-meeting jitters!
What if you can’t change your appointment and you realize you’ve targeted the wrong editor?
Don’t sweat it! Sit down and talk with the editor anyway. Ask intelligent questions. What type of stories would he like to see come across his desk? What books will she publish in the next year that she’s excited about? Don’t be shy about asking your opinion about the current story you’re working on. After all, part of the publishing process is networking. You never know if next time your story my be a perfect fit!
Here’s a short assignment.
If you’re going to the ACFW conference (or plan to attend another conference soon,) print out the entire editor and agent list. Then study it! Visit their websites. Read their guidelines. Highlight the people who are accepting your genre and forget those publishing houses that are not looking for what you write. Right down your top five editors or agents (in addition to those you’ll be formally meeting)) and plan on trying to speak with three of them during the conference.
How do YOU prepare for your agent and editor meetings?