York Festival of Writing 2015

Last weekend I went to the wonderful York Festival of Writing, run by the lovely people at The Writers’ Workshop. Over the course of three days literary agents, book doctors, editors and authors presented a whole host of panels and workshops focusing on the nuts and bolts of writing as well as on how the sometimes mysterious world of publishing works. The weekend was a huge amount of fun, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the student accommodation at the University of York was an awful lot nicer than when I was a student!

I spent a lot of time conducting one-to-ones with authors and here are my three top tips on how to give yourself the best possible chance of success when pitching to an agent:

1. Be professional. You only get one opportunity to make a first impression, so make sure that you’ve worked on your cover letter and synopsis. Spelling mistakes make me sad.

2. Be concise. Most of my favourite pitches were short and sweet. I love it when an author can summarise the plot of their novel in a few short, well-written sentences.

3. Be prepared. Pitching can be nerve-wracking so make sure you’ve practiced with a friend. Or failing that, a friendly mirror.

So if you have a (short) pitch and a (spell-checked) manuscript looking for a home, I can’t wait to take a look!