by Tamera Lynn Kraft
It’s that time of year again. The ACFW Conference is this week, and other writing conferences are set next month. I, like many of my writer friends, am prepared for the dreaded editor/agent appointment. Most writers will tell you the only thing you need to bring to a writer’s conference is a One Sheet. Don’t believe them. The one sheet is only the start of what you’ll need if you want to be prepared for the editor who is interested in seeing more. These six things should be at the tip of every writer’s fingers at any time during a conference.
One Sheet: One sheets are nice for editor and agents because they only have one sheet to take on the plane home. But I suspect that most One Sheets are disposed of unless the agent was unduly impressed with the writer. Still they’re nice to have because they do have all the information you need to make your pitch.
First Five Pages: If the agent or editor looks interested, it’s nice to mention that you have the first five pages of your novel if they’d like to look at it. This may be what gets you over the edge for the editor to request more.
Author Page: This is a One Sheet with the purpose of telling about the author. If you’ve had anything published or have any other information an agent would be interested in knowing about, this would be the sheet to present.
Synopsis or Summary: It’s very unlikely you’ll get to this point. If the agent is interested after the One Sheet and the First Five Pages, he’ll tell you to send him the rest. But my motto is be prepared.
One Sheets, First Five Pages, and Synopsis of other projects: You’ve decided to pitch that historical you wrote about the Civil War, and the agent says she’s not interested in anything from that time period. What she’s really looking for is something having to do with the War of 1812. You wrote a War of 1812 era novel five years ago, but at the time, nobody wanted it. If you have available information on every book you’ve written, you can change your pitch to another novel without missing a beat.
Business Cards: You won’t really need these for your appointment, but they’re fun to hand out to friends you meet at the conference. Besides, it never hurts to be prepared. You can get nice looking business cards at Vistaprint.
Of course you don’t want to carry a filing cabinet or a big briefcase to the meeting, so here’s some ways to organize you’re information.
Accordion File: These are very portable and have files for each project.
Folders: You could purchase an oversized folder for each project and carry them in a folder binder.
Conference Notebook: This is my favorite idea for carrying everything you need. This link will tell you how to make your own Conference Notebook.
One more thing, when you go to make your pitch, start by taking a deep breath and exhaling. Then treat the editor/agent like a real person, and ask her how the conference has been going. I’m not even above carrying around some chocolate for bribes. Whatever you do, remember to have fun. Your writing career does not depend on this one appointment. When you realize that, it will be easier to pitch your story.