Dear Miss Snark,
A writing conference offers the following activity to its attendees. My writing group is planning a conference and the organizers are intrigued by the idea. What's your opinion?
Speed dating agents and editors: what's it all about?
One of the things that makes the conference unique is the speed dating event with agents and editors. Each attendee who wishes to participate will receive three red tickets in their badge holder. On Saturday evening, the attendees will then line up outside of the room. Agents and editors will be seated in alphabetical order at tables along the periphery of the room.
At the beginning of the event, a certain number of participants will be allowed into the room, and will go to a table and start their THREE MINUTE pitches. You must convey the essence of your book quickly (we suggest using 25 words or less), allowing a response from the agent within your three allotted minutes. We suggest you use about two minutes to pitch your book, and allow one minute to listen to the editor/agent.
At the end of three minutes, when the bell rings, please give one of your tickets to the agent/editor and yield your chair to the person in line behind you. You may move on to the next agent or editor. When you have used your first three tickets, you will exit the room. We will have a person outside the exit who will give you three more tickets. You may then get in line to return to the room, and go back as many times as possible until the end of the session.
The energy level in the room will be high and we expect participants will find the speed dating event to be one of the highlights of the conference.
We do not charge an additional fee for the 'speed dating' session. This special event is included as part of your registration. You may choose not to participate, but everyone is welcome. Our intention is to make editors and agents as accessible as possible.
Please note that this is a separate event from the individual editor and agent appointments. The individual appointments will be 8 minutes in length.
I think the idea of a harried three minute pitch is insane. I'd rather drink green tea and sing kumbaya with Bill O'Reilly than have streams of crazed authors giving me three minute pitches.
Now, if you want to just talk to me, ask three questions, or show me pictures of your pet python for three minutes, ok. Pitching is not a contact sport, nor is it suitable for "speed". There's a place for the auction mentality in publishing; this isn't the place.
And you'll notice it's on a Saturday night. I gotta tell ya, Saturday night at a conference is when I want to be swilling gin at the bar with other malcontents not listening to stories of Rabbitania's version of Peyton Place.
Has anyone actually done this? Let me know if it worked better than it sounds. I'll be glad to hear from people who have differing opinions.