Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 21, 2012

Notes From Editor/Agent Pitch Session

Ann Bellov submitted the illistration below, titled “Summer Cold.”

I asked Wafa Musitief to take notes during the Pitch Session with Agent Holly McGhee at Pippin Properties and Associate Publisher Steve Meltzer of Dial, Dutton, and Celebra.  There are snippets of the session, which Kate DiCamillo sat in on and participated at the bottom of yesterday’s blog post.  Here are the notes that Wafa took:

– It helps to do your research on comparative titles in your genre and mention that in your pitch if you can, because an agent will sell your story to an editor and that editor must sell it to the sales and marketing division, so you really must give enough information for a defined ‘hook’ in your pitch but not too much information.

– The pitch should include details such where, when, who, what, how, etc. to draw in the reader, and give a good sense of the character personality and the sense of environment of your story. All basic answers should be in the pitch.

– Holly McGhee emphasized that is all in the execution. The more personal and detailed your story is, the more universal the story becomes
And she advised when sending query letter, she recommended adding some personalization and then putting your manuscript or a few chapters at the bottom. Too much information in the query is not needed, except to show you have done your research when you wisely query the agent you have selected. The whole goal is to make the perfect match.

– When formulating your pitch, think what does the main character have to pull the reader in? Think about what’s magical about your story. The character should have a transformation that we find ourselves caring about.

– Keep in mind when pitching a story that you describe as Historical Fiction, it could leave questions for the agent regarding where your potential book would fit on the shelves of a bookstore. This could raise more flags and questions for the agent you are pitching.

-When pitching a middle grade or YA story, keep in the mind the stakes should be raised high for your character. It’s not always right to play it safe.

– in summary, a great execution is what it takes for a successful pitch while dropping a comparative title or two .

Thanks, Wafa.  I know people feel like they miss out, when so many workshops are happening at once.  I am sure this will help a lot of people who wanted to attend the workshop and couldn’t.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. All such valuable information! Thanks, Holly, Steve, Wafa and Kathy 🙂


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