My First Face-to-Face Agent Pitch

Antioch Writer’s Workshop offered the opportunity to present a face-to-face pitch to an agent from FinePrint Literary Management.

My Thoughts:  No big deal. It’s one person, just one young agent. I’ve given briefings to rooms full of people, to colonels and generals. I’ve sat in front of firing squad panels, fielding questions flung at me in rapid succession, questions meant to judge my abilities. I certainly could have a coherent conversation about my book. It is my world after all.  Who knows it better than me, right? It’s not like I’d have a deer-in-the-headlights moment caused by some question for which I wasn’t prepared. I’d just picture myself presenting something—it didn’t matter what—in our conference room at work, briefing charts displayed on the wall over my right shoulder, stern faces following my production. Not a problem.

My Reality:  I walk in. Greetings are exchanged and I start talking about this alien. Alien? Really? Suddenly my briefing-in-the-conference-room image turns to security police escorting me to the funny farm and I realize, I’m not in Kansas anymore. I’m not presenting some mind-numbing information, cheat sheet within glancing distance on the screen behind me, to a room full of people paid to be there. I’m sitting in front of the gate keeper of my dream. At that moment, about 5 seconds into my pitch, my brain spins around within my skull and lands up-side-down, crushing its speech center and machine-gunning words out of my mouth in some not-so-coherent fashion. My shaky hands flail wildly as I tried to use their power to coax out the proper words. At that point my goal has turned from land an agent to make it out of the room with some dignity.

By the end my brain had managed to somewhat right itself and my alien world didn’t seem so crazy after all.

I’m very grateful to Antioch Writer’s Workshop and the lovely agents of FinePrint Literary Management who allowed us to pitch.
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