Questions agents may ask after the book pitch

To piggyback on my how to pitch your book post, here’s another thing to consider: the questions a literary agent or editor might ask you after your in-person pitch.

In her post, “Secrets of a Great Pitch, literary agent Rachelle Gardner reminds writers that you may have more talking to do after your pitch. Be prepared, she says, to answer questions like these:

  • How does your story end?
  • What published author’s style would you compare your writing to?
  • Who are your favorite authors in your genre?
  • Is this a series? And if so, what are the subsequent books about?
  • Have you worked with a critique group or a professional editor?
  • Have you pitched this to publishers in the past? If so, what was the response?

And here’s another helpful post, titled “An In-Person Pitching Don’t.” Mary Kole is a senior literary manager at Movable Type Management and a writer of middle grade and young adult books. She explains what not to do at the end of your pitch. Here’s a zinger from her post: “We’re not a guaranteed 30-second decision credit card application hotline, guys. These are questions that have no right answers and, more often than not, they put the asker at a disadvantage.” Be sure to read the post for her down-to-earth advice. Her site’s focus is children’s literature (Kidlit.com), and it looks like one that will do you a lot of good if kidlit is your genre.

What a relief to know there are publishing professionals out there who are so willing to share their knowledge, tips, warnings, and advice with us. The least we can do is give them great stories to sell!

Even if you’re still a long way from having a finished manuscript, it’s never too soon to think about how you will present your work to publishing professionals. I’ve always made it a habit to study far in advance for the test. Are you working for a good grade, too?

Learning about the business side of writing before you’re in the midst of it is, I believe, a practical, and exciting, way to go. And judging from the web-loads of advice, the publishing industry thinks we should be taking notes, too.

So, learn all you can now and be prepared when that opportunity comes to pitch your book.

If you’ve ever pitched, what are some questions you remember being asked by an agent or editor?


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2 thoughts on “Questions agents may ask after the book pitch

    1. Well, why not look at the questions as a confirmation? The agent could just say, “Thank you. Next.” But more questions might mean, “That’s interesting. I want to know more about this one.”

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