Writing to Publish

Back to Main Page

Back to Archive Page

Back to Guest Speakers Page



"Rainlyte" (Kelly) writes romances.

6/20/05 6:58:47 PM Opening "Chat Log 6/20/05"

BornToVector: Howdy folks
G1ft0fgabn0t: Good [emailed] list, Rainlyte! Looking forward to the session :)
W2PDee: Rainlyte is our guest speaker tonight...
G1ft0fgabn0t: Our host has been sending out a pre-session letter
W2PDee: Why don't we get started...I turn the cyberfloor over to you Rainlyte/Kelly.
Rainlyte: Hello everyone! First off, this is the final call for the handout until after the presentation. Please check your email and let me know if you need it.
W2PDee: This will be a protocol session...unless Kelly wishes differently.
Rainlyte: Protocol please. I'll stop periodically through the session for Q/A
W2PDee: please hold your questions and comments until Kelly asks for them...
ShakespeareFn: probably because you aren't on my buddy list, Brown
Rainlyte: This workshop has been presented here as well as in other workshops (including my own) with much success. I hope it helps tonight.

Rainlyte: The Agent/Editor Appointment - Pitching with Confidence.
Perhaps the question asked most of editors or agents is-
Rainlyte: What's your best advice to someone making a pitch?"
The response 99% of the time -- "Don't be nervous."
Rainlyte: In essence - this is a job interview and it is human nature to be nervous.
At some point, this person sat across the desk from someone they admired.
They applied for their position just like you are going to do.
Chances are their palms were sweaty and their mouth dry as saw dust.
Rainlyte: Does this sound familiar?
W2PDee: yep!
G1ft0fgabn0t: Does it ever!

Rainlyte: Just as they sold themselves and their abilities, you will promote yourself and your manuscript. You are asking them to trust your ability to tell a great story and make their deadline. In return, they are asking you to trust them to do what is right for your manuscript and for you. So how do you prepare yourself for that all-important five minutes?
Just as with a job interview, there are certain steps you must take.
You know the position you want, you learn about the company, dress appropriately, and build your confidence. This interview will not be any different.
Keep in mind that each editor and agent is a different person. Their styles and questions will vary. There is no such thing as a 'text book' interview.
And while no two appointments are alike, the steps are basically the same.
Rainlyte: The Handout you've received covers the following section of this presentation. The interview is your 3-5 minute opportunity to have a face to face meeting with an editor or agent at a conference.
Most of the time - when you register for a conference you have the opportunity to request a meeting with an editor or agent of your choice. You may be asked to give your top 3 choices and they fill the available time slots on a first come basis.
When you get to the conference, you'll check in and get your welcome packet.
Your packet will contain (among lots of other goodies), which appointment time slot you have, on what day and with which editor or agent. You have 3-5 minutes to make a good FIRST IMPRESSION with that person.
W2PLyric: Remember, even reputable conferences sometimes charge an extra fee of $25 to $50 for this chance
Rainlyte: My biggest plug about these appointments is this:
Often times you are targeting a publisher that only accepts agented submissions. BUT - if you meet them at a conference during an appointment session - they are looking and may ask for a submission sans the agent. However - they will ask you to actively seek an agent in the mean time. I call it 'going in the back door' of the publisher. ;-)
Rainlyte: So you've registered for the conference, you have an appointment with the XYZ editor/agent of your dreams, so you better be prepared to bowl them over. :-)
Rainlyte: Are we ready?
W2PLyric: yup, just want to make sure everyone knows why this is so important!
Rainlyte: (I'm not yelling - just highlighting the 10 steps :-))
Rainlyte: this is crucial. Whether you are asked to submit a partial or a complete - it had better be finished/polished and ready to mail WHEN YOU GET BACK HOME.
Don't take the ms to conference with you. If they ask for 50 submissions, they don't want to schlep them back on the plane or ship them ahead. Have your submission packet on your desk at home ready to mail as soon as you get back.
PHeeren: I am Deaf but can I use an interpreter to help me or would my mother act as my interpreter?
Rainlyte: Let them know in when you apply that you are impaired and will be providing your own interpreter. You may also check - some conferences are required to provide an interpreter if they have someone in your position registered.
Not only should the ms be finished but polished and in proper format.

Rainlyte: You cannot give a confident pitch if you do not know for sure where your characters are going to take you. Know your characters like your own family - why they react or behave the way they do. Know their goals and their conflicts. This will be shown it's importance in step 6. Be able to synopsis the story in one hundred words or less. This is not as hard as it sounds. Don't let the 'S' word scare you. :-)
W2PDee: So, it good to write that 100 word synopsis out before hand...
Rainlyte: yes. Picture yourself standing in the bookstore reading the back blurb of your book. The flap copy is your pitch.
Rainlyte: In the case of fiction, your resume will vary. Do you have firsthand knowledge of the setting of your story? Do you have any experiences in the issues your heroine/hero are dealing with? When writing non-fic, you should have credentials to list. For example, if you are writing a book on hiking in a Nat'l park, have you hiked any of the locales you discuss? Are you familiar with the equipment involved? Do you have any publishing credits? Do you teach a class on writing or your area of expertise? Lead a critique group, or have a degree in English Lit?
Anything that lends credibility to you and your work is important. This is the time to pat yourself on the back. You wouldn't apply for a job without listing past experience, would you?

Rainlyte: who is the acquisitions editor? Are they publishing what you write?
What is their expected word count? How many titles do they release in a month? A year? Do they accept unsolicited? (without an agent) If you cannot answer these questions how do you know your book is right for them?
The best presentation you can give is the one that does not waste their time or yours. You can find out what they are looking for by requesting a copy of their current guidelines. A quick email or 3-minute phone call can save you a huge embarrassment and wasted time for both parties. Knowing who the acquisitions editor is can make a difference. Or in this case - the person you are pitching to.
What is she looking for? Is there a new line being launched in the future? Does this editor look for nontraditional stories? If you are marketing a historical, is there a time period or setting she prefers? A couple of personal details are good if they correlate with an aspect of your ms.
Rainlyte: As an example, I pitched to an editor that hardly ever asked for a partial let alone a complete. I found out the night before she was a proud new mom. My book dealt with 3 children - including a new baby near the end of the book. During my interview I really played up the emphasis of the children in the story. She asked for a complete! You want her to relate to your story.
These things are all common knowledge through research and networking.
When you can bring it to life for the interviewer, there is a good chance they will see their readers reacting the same way.

Rainlyte: #5 - KNOW THE AGENT
Rainlyte: If you are pitching to the agent. A lot of the same things apply. However - there are other important facts you need to know. How long have they been in business? Who do they represent-both now and in the past? How many new clients are they looking for? Which houses do they work with the most? How reputable are they? Do they require money up front? (Run away fast if this is a yes!)
You can check this out by asking around. References are always a good source.
But you do need to follow up. For further investigation, you can check out
Rainlyte: www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/peals.htm.
OnlineHost: W2PSushi has left the room.
Rainlyte: good point Lyric.
Rainlyte: Know something about the conference you're wanting to attend.
Rainlyte: Again - ask around of people you know for recommendation.
Rainlyte: I'll recommend 3 at the end of this session.
OnlineHost: W2PSushi has entered the room.
Rainlyte: The above mentioned website contains a list of agents and editors and their credibility.
6/20/05 7:41:11 PM Opening "Chat Log 6/20/05"

Rainlyte: The current printing of 'Jeff Hermann's guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents' is also an excellent source. You've done your homework, now it is time to prepare your pitch. Remember, the pitch is the flap-copy synopsis. Not sure how to write one?
Rainlyte: Spend an afternoon at the library or in the bookstore reading the flap copy. Which ones pull you to wanting to read the book? Which ones have you putting the book back on the shelf for lack of information? You also want to be prepared to answer any other questions the interviewer will ask. This is accomplished by your knowledge of the mss.

Rainlyte: Sit -don't stand- in front of a mirror and recite your pitch. Look at your reflection. Eye contact is important. It displays your confidence. Let the passion for your story come through. Pitching to a fellow writer is also great, particularly if they have pitched before. Another writer will understand your nervousness and recognize what you may need to correct. If you have your ms finished - You Will Be Fine :-)

Rainlyte: Business cards are a must and serve multiple purposes. Black print on a white background is best. Although a graphic is fine, your personal information should be the predominant feature. IMPORTANT:::: The back of the card should include TITLE, TARGET LINE of THEME, WORD COUNT. This bit of information will be your stepping stone in the white water of dozens of pitches she has heard. Back at the office, this will help distinguish your appointment from all of the others.
W2PLyric: Rainlyte, you need to explain what a target line of theme is
Rainlyte: Okay...
Rainlyte: If you are targeting a house like Silhouette or Harlequin, you know they have several lines. Which line are you looking at? Harlequin Medical, Historical. American Silhouette has Super Romance, Desire, etc. Other houses publish several categories (themes) such as HISTORICAL, FANTASY, PARANORMAL, etc. your GENRE We'll come back to more about Business cards in a minute.

Rainlyte: How you dress is important. Basic business attire is best.

Rainlyte: If you are a woman, pants or skirt with a blouse and blazer, or a nice dress is perfect.
OnlineHost: W2PSushi has left the room.
Rainlyte: shoes should be low heel.
Rainlyte: For a man, dress pants with a nice shirt will work.
6/20/05 7:49:08 PM Opening "Chat Log 6/20/05 -2"

Rainlyte: Depending on the genre, you may even be able to wear new denim jeans with a shirt and blazer. When it comes to business, navy blue or black is preferred. Stay away from bright colors or prints. No cologne, perfume or distracting jewelry. No gum. A breath mint before is fine and often available at the check-in table. Neat, Clean, and Tidy is the key. You are not out to impress with your fashion sense. Dress with business and confidence.

Rainlyte: #9 BE ON TIME
Rainlyte: About 10 to 15 minutes early is recommended. It is not unusual for someone to lose his or her confidence at the last minute, moving everyone's time slot up.Check in, find a seat in the waiting area and breathe. :-)

Rainlyte: #10 BE CONFIDENT
Rainlyte: Above all - Be confident. You are ready--or are you? How do you feel?
Are you still wondering what you are doing here? If you have gone through each step, you have nothing to worry about. The only thing left to do is ask yourself "what if?" What if you do not go through with this appointment? What if you do not give this your best shot? Then what? Five years from now you will be saying 'If I'd only..." You have to believe that your ms is the best it can be. You have to believe in your ability as a writer to tell a great story. If you cannot sell yourself to an editor or agent, you may never see your name on the cover of a book in your local book store. You believed in your ability enough to get this far - do not throw it away now. You are doing GREAT!

Trina Pink: If I waited until I was sure my ms was "the best it can be," I'd NEVER show it to anyone! I'm anal about constantly polishing.
Trina Pink: ;-)
Rainlyte: understood Trina - and that is a workshop in itself. :-)
W2PLyric: Rainlyte, did you say you had more info on the business cards?

Rainlyte: We are going to go over a bit....I hope you'll stay. NOW YOU ARE READY? If you are called into the room before the previous appointment is through, stand quietly to the side until you are signaled by the room moderator. At that time...approach the table, extend your hand, smile, and thank her (him) by name for setting aside this time for you. This is not brown-nosing. It is basic etiquette. This serves 2 purposes.... It is a great icebreaker. Puts the meeting on a business level. She is your client as much as you are hers. Ask to begin. This gives her a chance to ask any preliminary Q's. Do not let the questions throw you - they are not meant to. The interviewer is just trying to make the transition from one appointment to the next. Tell Your Story. You have rehearsed this flap until you can say it in your sleep. Let your characters take over, as we know they can. The passion for your story should come through naturally. Once you are through, the interviewer will ask questions. These are not meant to trip you up either. Don't let them. For her to gain a better understanding of where, if at all, their house can fit your story into their line. (or in the case of an agent - where he might market it). These questions are important. Answer them with the same confidence, following her lead. When the meeting has concluded.... Thank her again. Exchange business cards ... (remember you have your basic information on the back of yours) and shake hands. You have just breezed through five minutes. Congratulations!!!!! If you have been asked to submit either a partial or a complete, congratulations. Plan to mail the requested material when you get back home.

Rainlyte: Remember those business cards.... As soon as you leave the interview, make a notation about the appointment on the back of your business card.
W2PSushi: [Never seen one printed on the back]
PHeeren: I cannot afford business cards because I am on SSI.
Rainlyte: A detail as small as the conference date or a suggestion the interviewer made will serve the purpose.
W2PLyric: Tom, you can print them yourself on your own computer
Rainlyte: This will further allow your appointment to stand out. Paperclip this card to your cover letter with your submission.
W2PLyric: and at Kinkos they are about a buck a page of six or eight
Rainlyte: But what if they don't ask for a submission? Should your story not be what they are accepting, ask what they will be looking at over the next six to eight months. In either case, you will come out of the interview a winner.

Rainlyte: Regarding the back of Business Cards. If you order from a printer - let them know you want this info on the back. It will cost you extra.
Rainlyte: For printing at home, office supply stores, Sam's Club, and some Walmarts have Business Card blanks.
Trina Pink: cardstock.
Rainlyte: they come in a sheet of (let me look) Sheet of 10 pre-perforated. Usually in a package of 100-500 cards total. You run them through your printer and then tear them apart on the perforation.

Rainlyte: As to 3 reputable conferences..... My biggest plug -though not for agent/editor appointments. Just a great over all conference is www.ozarkcreativewriters.org
Rainlyte: Great intimate multi-genre conference. 2nd weekend in Oct. Very affordable. You also can enter up to about 20 different contests for the price of your registration fee. That is a conference I won't miss.
W2PLyric: and without paying the fee, airfare, or hotel, you just got Rainlyte's lecture free of charge!!!!
Rainlyte: LOL. Good point Lyric
W2PDee: sounds good!
Rainlyte: The 2nd conference is Arkansas Writers.
Rainlyte: I don't have a website for them. I'll try to get contact info to Lyric later in the week. It is held the 2nd week in June in Little Rock Ark. the 3rd conference - with Agent/Editor appointments is OWFI www.owfi.org That's one I hope to be speaking at next year. I've been asked to submit a query packet for this workshop.
W2PLyric: With information this wonderful, Rainlyte, of course you will! <G>
Rainlyte: Romance Writers Of America also offers editor/agent appointments.
You need to be a member to attend.
A Central IL conference always held the 2nd Sat. in November is PenDancer Winter Writers Workshop. I am the coordinator for that one. It's a one day for $25, no appointments but good info.
W2PLyric: Please note the Austin Writer's conference is excellent as well, and so is the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators of Dallas.
Rainlyte: Great ones Lyric. Thanks for sharing.

Rainlyte: Sure... If it is a multi-genre conference, they will have speakers on a wide variety of topics.
W2PLyric: there are conferences for playwrights as well as for TV and movies, as well as for fiction or nonfiction.
Rainlyte: Most will list their conference info on their website about 6 months in advance. If there is any in particular you are interested in, let me know and I'll help dig up info.

W2PLyric: Rainlyte do you have an example of what is on the back of your card?
Rainlyte: Business cards... One of the beauties of printing your own at home is that you don't have to Print 1000 of them. LOL. You can print just what you think you might need for the conference. What I do is, I open up my Business card template in my Printshop program and type the info I need.
Rainlyte: Top Line - center
Rainlyte: Kelly S. Henkins
Rainlyte: ::center:::
Rainlyte: 2nd line - Writer
Rainlyte: center - smaller font
Rainlyte: 3rd line - Freelance - Novel
Rainlyte: skip line 4
Rainlyte: 5th line - center
Rainlyte: Also- Speaking Engagements
Rainlyte: My graphic - a single stemmed rose.
Rainlyte: Bottom Left corner - flush with margin:
Rainlyte: #1 - street address
Rainlyte: #2 - city, state, zip
Rainlyte: #3 - phone
Rainlyte: #4 - email

[about 30 seconds of chat missing here]

Rainlyte: I believe I also have Contemporary Romance listed. That gives the editor (even if not with Harlequin) an idea of what I had in mind when I wrote the story.
Rainlyte: any other questions?
W2PLyric: btw, Rainlyte, what did you mean bye "affiliates" on the front right corner?
Rainlyte: I know this was a lot of info. I have 'affiliates' on the top line, and then the subsequent lines list what they are. Anyone know what those affiliates are important? It shows them at a glance that you are actively seeking this as a business not a hobby, and tells them a little bit about what you could possibly do to help in the promoting of your book should they pick it up.
W2PLyric: I want to thank Rainlyte for coming tonight.
Lightningbug1957: This has been great! Thanks so much.

Rainlyte: One last plug..... If anyone is interested in staying a part of what I do...I have a Yahoo Groups loop called TheWritersZone. Currently (for the past 5 years) we've been a motivating Book In A Week loop.
G1ft0fgabn0t: book in a week???
Lightningbug1957: What's a loop?
Rainlyte: With the absence of my AOL workshop, I hope to incorporate other items to it by the late fall.
W2PLyric: wonderful collection of supportive emails from one writer to another.
Rainlyte: We don't actually write a book in a week, G.
G1ft0fgabn0t: :::whew:::
Rainlyte: but it does motivate us to set a serious writing goal for 1 week to spew forth new gunk to spend 3 weeks polishing.
Rainlyte: Btw.. Clay, did it appear as if I missed anything in my presentation tonight?
ClayWrite: Rain, not that I saw. Seems you covered the bases.
W2PLyric: Rainlyte, it was perfect, and you are waaaaay ready for your stint! I want to say THANK YOU. APPLAUSE.
G1ft0fgabn0t: <><><>applause<><><> Amazing chat! Thank you!!!
ClayWrite: clap clap clap
Lightningbug1957: Great job!
W2PSushi: yay!
W2PLyric: And if you need another recommendation -- just say the word!
G1ft0fgabn0t: <><><><><><><><><>standing ovation<><><><><><><><><>
MoonCat25: Great session tonight!!!
LaTina11868: all i can say is wow! Fantastic job rain!
Rainlyte: As Lyric knows... I am available for speaking engagements both on-line and off.
W2PLyric: can we coerce you to come back again?
Rainlyte: Feel free to email me.I have other topics. :-)
W2PLyric: GRRREEAAAT. I will, Rain
Rainlyte: LOL sure Lyric.. for you.. anything :-)
Lightningbug1957: Do you have a web site?
Rainlyte: not yet.. hoping to get one up when things slow down here a bit.
ClayWrite: don't put off getting a website, grab your own name while you can.
W2PLyric: well, that's the end of our session for tonight. thanks for coming, and thanks again to Rain. bye everyone!
Rainlyte: you're very welcome.
W2PSushi: my name was grabbed by a politician in Maryland. ;-P
Lightningbug1957: Rain, check out Network Solutions.
Rainlyte: If anyone has questions, feel free to email me.
W2PSushi: nice guy but he needs to be John Smith instead.
ClayWrite: Sushi, the noive of the guy!!!
CHCLTEKISS2: Peace and Blessings
ClayWrite: I was lucky, registered dozens of Clay Ellis's but it was still open and I grabbed it.
G1ft0fgabn0t: G'nite everyone! See you on the Fourth of July! :::waves:::
Lightningbug1957: Good night all
W2PSushi: g'nite, all
6/20/05 8:29:27 PM Closing "Chat Log 6/20/05"

© 2006 by Writing to Publish, worldwide rights reserved. (Formerly the eWorld Fiction Writers.) All information contained herein is the property of the attributed author or Writing to Publish and may not be copied, excerpted, or reposted on any medium including the Internet except by permission. Contact ewriters@aol.com for details concerning the publication of any material contained in this site.

Back to Guest Speakers Page

Back to Archive Page

Back to Main Page

Top of Page