Pitching editor or agent at a conference

I will be attending a conference in April, and will soon be able to choose the agent/editor to whom I would like to pitch. My first inclination is to choose an agent pitch, but I was wondering if there are advantages to pitching to an editor that might outweigh the advantages of pitching to an agent.

Also, the agent I am considering pitching to prefers the first three chapters and a synopsis from all would-be clients, rather than just a query letter. Since that's what most agents ask for at a conference pitch anyway, it doesn't seem like it would really get an author ahead of the game to pitch to her at the conference. Is there enough of an advantage to the face time of a conference pitch to make it worth pitching to her anyway, or am I better off using my one allotted face-to-face meeting to pitch to a different agent, one who normally requires query letters but may request a partial from those who are pitching to her?

I'd pitch an agent over an editor any day of the week. First, if you have an agent, you won't need to know what an editor wants; your agent will know. An agent gets you access to editors, one editor does not get you access to an agent.

Second, agents acquire more in any given year than one single editor does.

Third, agents can take things on if they aren't right for a particular publisher; an editor can't.

Fourth, I'm an agent, of course I think we're the first choice, top of the heap, and most desirable. Sheesh.


Gina Black said...

The other advantage is that you get to ask the agent questions and get a sense of them.

Caryn said...

Thanks so much! The conference is in April, and they haven't asked me about my agent pitch yet, so I still have a bit. This helps me narrow my target much more, and should help others else who are attending an upcoming conference, too. Now to get psyched up for that pitch...

Nora McCrea said...

I think this choice would also depend on whether you wanted to try for a big house deal. Advantage: more money. Disadvantage: if you don't sell big, you may have trouble placing books in the future.

If you want to go for a small press deal, talking to small press editors might be helpful.
Advantage: less chance of getting remaindered and lower sales expectations
Disadvantage: much smaller advance

Eileen said...

You can't beat the face to face. Imagine my shock to discover agents are people too. If you get them chatting they can give you tons of information about the industry that goes beyond simply sending in a query.

Anonymous said...

Last October I went to a conference and had a pitch session with a top agent. The problem was, I wasn't quite finished with my novel, so I decided to take the pitch time to have the agent help me perfect my query letter. Which he was very happy to do.

This did several things for me, all of them good. It got me an introduction to an agent I would love to have represent me, it helped me improve my query letter drastically, and it got the premise of the novel in front of the agent.

Because of that, he requested I send a partial when I was ready and that partial resulted in a request for a full (which he is still reviewing).

It was a very rewarding session. So I say, go for the agent.

Lizzy said...

"The problem was, I wasn't quite finished with my novel, so I decided to take the pitch time to have the agent help me perfect my query letter. Which he was very happy to do."

Smart, Anon; very smart!