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talkwrite
02-12-2010, 10:06 PM
These two questions are plaguing my critique group: An upcoming conference is offering meetings with agents, which will last about 20 minutes each, do you recommend giving the agent a Leave Behind and does the author have to have a completed manuscript for the agent to consider them?

suki
02-12-2010, 10:32 PM
These two questions are plaguing my critique group: An upcoming conference is offering meetings with agents, which will last about 20 minutes each, do you recommend giving the agent a Leave Behind and does the author have to have a completed manuscript for the agent to consider them?

I don't know what you mean by a leave behind, but in my experience, conference crits/pitch sessions agents and editors didn't want to collect like manuscripts or excerpts or anything. Maybe a business card, maybe, but anything more they are unlikely to want to lug back home.

Second, it's usually better to have a completed manuscript, or to pitch something complete, because while they might be intrigued by a sample, if they request more, they're likely to want the submission sooner, rather than later.

And often conference open submisisons have time limits - ie, submission must be submitted within 6 months...

~suki

talkwrite
02-12-2010, 11:38 PM
Thanks for your input Suki;
A Leave Behind is described as a one page calling card to help the agent remember you and your pitched ms. It consists of
A photo A one paragraph bio or resume
The Two sentence dramatic statement (log line) of your story
I agree that the agents would not want to get layered in material but this format sounds concise and kind of a smart way to help the agent remember you.

We are interested in what people think- both authors and agents.

Old Hack
02-13-2010, 12:44 PM
I wouldn't expect to hand over anything more than a business card: I understand that you're talking about just a single page, but those single pages add up. I did hear of someone handing out a few flash-drives containing an extract of his work, which might be more welcome, but I'm not sure. I'd stick to a business card, and send the agent more after the event if invited to. Because if an agent is interested in seeing more they will ask for it, and if they're not, why force it on them?

isabella19
02-13-2010, 06:16 PM
I think, if the material is good, the agent will ask you for contact info etc. Stuff left unsolicited with the agent might morph into stuff left on the desk when the agent leaves the room.

Giant Baby
02-13-2010, 10:19 PM
Janet Reid advises writers to always be prepared (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2007/11/forget-what-you-learned-in-kindergarten.html) with materials when you go to conferences, but never, ever hand anything over unless asked. I always kept a copy of my query, synopsis, and first chapter hard copy in my bag, along with a CD with the entire manuscript, just in case. The CD ended up being a good thing for me, but I wouldn't have even mentioned I had it if he hadn't expressed interest.

I've never heard of a leave behind, but pictures are strongly discouraged in querying or submitting requested materials, so I'd leave that off anything I took to a conference.

suki
02-13-2010, 10:33 PM
I wouldn't expect to hand over anything more than a business card: I understand that you're talking about just a single page, but those single pages add up. I did hear of someone handing out a few flash-drives containing an extract of his work, which might be more welcome, but I'm not sure. I'd stick to a business card, and send the agent more after the event if invited to. Because if an agent is interested in seeing more they will ask for it, and if they're not, why force it on them?


Janet Reid advises writers to always be prepared (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2007/11/forget-what-you-learned-in-kindergarten.html) with materials when you go to conferences, but never, ever hand anything over unless asked. I always kept a copy of my query, synopsis, and first chapter hard copy in my bag, along with a CD with the entire manuscript, just in case. The CD ended up being a good thing for me, but I wouldn't have even mentioned I had it if he hadn't expressed interest.

I've never heard of a leave behind, but pictures are strongly discouraged in querying or submitting requested materials, so I'd leave that off anything I took to a conference.

Yup, I guess there's a first time for everything, but I've never had an agent or editor want to take anything from the conference, and I've made good conference contacts. Usually, if the agent or editor is interested, they've already noted my contact info and title, and their impressions, etc. So the take away would be irrelevant if they already were interested, and irrelevant if they weren't.

Now, if we're talking cold pitches, instead of pre-sent material, again, I think a business card with contact info and manuscript title and log line on back might be ok, if the agent asked for something - but again, agents and editors are professionals, they know how to write, and they all have methods for remembering the info about people they are interested in.

And it's the material, not the person, they'd be interested in. So, Monday after the conference, you send your requested material with a cover letter intended to spark their recollection - ie, "I enjoyed discussing my character Joe's motivations with you, and your comment X makes me think you would be particularly well-suited to represent my manuscript."

But, again, you can try it, but I've never seen it done and I'd feel uncomfortable with it.

~suki

J.Reid
02-19-2010, 09:13 AM
You don't need anything. Not business cards, not twenty-dollar bills, nothing. If, after a meeting, an agent wants you to send material s/he will give you business card, or something with instructions.

Save your money for pr, and buying me a scotch.

nighttimer
02-19-2010, 09:26 AM
You don't need anything. Not business cards, not twenty-dollar bills, nothing. If, after a meeting, an agent wants you to send material s/he will give you business card, or something with instructions.

Save your money for pr, and buying me a scotch.

Far be it from me to disagree with a professional, but I subscribe to the notion that "one size fits all" doesn't.

Whereas Agent X may say, "Don't give me your business card. I'll give you mine," the possibility always exists that Agent Z may say, "Do you have a business card?"

It is always better to have and not need than to need and not have. :Thumbs:

suki
02-19-2010, 09:31 AM
Far be it from me to disagree with a professional, but I subscribe to the notion that "one size fits all" doesn't.

Whereas Agent X may say, "Don't give me your business card. I'll give you mine," the possibility always exists that Agent Z may say, "Do you have a business card?"

It is always better to have and not need than to need and not have. :Thumbs:


I can't believe I have to weigh in after the Shark. But...

Having a business card ready will not make any difference whatsoever in whether the agent asks for more or not. None. Have them if you like, but they will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the likelihood for finding an agent or an editor. And in my experience the only people at conferences who ever accepted, let alone wanted, any unpublished writer's business card were other writers.

So, have them if you like - but in my experience, having them will not at all improve your likelihood of connecting with an agent or editor - if they want more, they will tell you and you will find their contact info.

~suki

nighttimer
02-19-2010, 09:55 AM
I can't believe I have to weigh in after the Shark. But...

Having a business card ready will not make any difference whatsoever in whether the agent asks for more or not. None. Have them if you like, but they will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the likelihood for finding an agent or an editor. And in my experience the only people at conferences who ever accepted, let alone wanted, any unpublished writer's business card were other writers.

So, have them if you like - but in my experience, having them will not at all improve your likelihood of connecting with an agent or editor - if they want more, they will tell you and you will find their contact info.

~suki

Not to be arguementative, suki, but as I said, "One size fits all doesn't."

I can respect that in your experience having a business card doesn't help your chances any in connecting with an agent or editor. Mine is it doesn't hurt either.

It would be tacky to wallpaper a conference with business cards nobody wanted, nor would I offer a business card to someone who hadn't asked for one first.

As I said, on the off-chance that someone requests a business card, I'd rather have one at the ready than to shrug helplessly and reply, "Duhhhh..."

J.Reid
02-20-2010, 10:40 AM
Need=must have
Nice to have = anti-"duuuhhh"

I've never asked an author for a business card.
I've had thousands thrust upon me "just in case I need the information."

No one will arrest you for littering if you distribute cards, but if you wonder if you NEED to have them for contact with agents: no.

They are handy for connecting with other authors however.

kullervo
02-20-2010, 08:37 PM
I'll reiterate that if you're discussing a novel, have it finished, edited, beta-read, rewritten, polished, honed, refined, blessed by the holy man of choice, etc.. No agent wants to get excited about your story only to hear you'd be happy to send the thousand words you have and you're sure you can get the rest done "soon."

Plus, is it just me or does twenty minutes seem like a hideously long time?

talkwrite
03-10-2010, 12:37 AM
Great answers and input, everyone. Yes if the agent or editor likes what he/she hears you will be asked to stay in touch or could well need a way to remember you to pass you on to a fellow agent at the same agency or house. I am only attending and not meeting with agents, but I'm very glad to see a solid conference in this part of Texas.