**I recently attended the Killer Nashville Conference. It was an exciting time, and I’ve written a general article about the conference that will be published in Suspense Magazine. Here, though, I’d like to go over some of the individual parts of the conference**
One of the parts of the writer’s life that I’ve found intimidating is pitching a story. I feel i’m better on the printed page than talking extemporaneously, and my previous experiences with pitching a novel I’ve written only confirm that. It’s about as nerve-wracking as parachuting, but without the pleasant view going down.
At Killer Nashville, they came up with a new format for pitching your work that was so much better. Several times during the conference, they had what they called Roundtables with the agents and publishers who were present. Two of them would sit at a table with 7-10 writers who have brought the first two pages of their manuscript with enough copies for everyone at the table to have their own to follow along. There was a volunteer facilitator there as well who set the order. Then either the author or the facilitator would read the pages out loud.
Once the reading was finished, the agents and editors would give comments back – things they liked, things that the writer could work on, etc. The agents were given 3×5 response cards on which they’d write the name of the author and his work, then choose one of 5 options:
- Please send me the entire manuscript.
- Please send me _____ pages and ___-page synopsis.
- Please query me after the manuscript has been revised.
- The manuscript is submission-ready but not a good fit for me.
- The manuscript has promise, but it still needs some work before it’s ready for submission.
Two agents, Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and Evan Gregory of the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, asked for queries from me after the manuscript had been revised. (I didn’t write this post earlier because since I came home I’ve been revising the manuscript.) I was enormously excited, though, that Judith Shepard, who with her husband Martin runs The Permanent Press, asked for my entire manuscript.
The manuscript is now boxed and ready to send out on Monday, and I’ve queried the agents. Now comes the other hard part of the writer’s life – waiting for a response.