Friday, September 6th | 8:30am to 12:30pm
GardenComm is excited to announce our first ever Pitch Sessions at this year’s annual conference in Salt Lake City!
What is a Pitch Session?
A pitch session provides the opportunity for you to pitch projects – and yourself – to editors and agents seeking fresh new talent.
Each pitch session consists of a seven-minute, one-on-one meeting in which participants pitch their projects and receive feedback from the editor or agent. Feedback may include advice on improving your pitch, ways to refine your project, or a request to see your work. See the tips below on how to pitch different types of projects.
How it Works
We’ve gathered a diverse group of magazine and book editors as well as talented agents ready to hear your ideas. Profiles for each professional are available online (click here). Your job is to research participating editors and agents to find the perfect match for your project. Then, sign-up online in advance of the conference for a one-on-one meeting to pitch your project.
Pitch session time slots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis for registered conference attendees, so register early. Individuals may sign up for one pitch session in advance of the conference. Online registration will be open from beginning date to end date.
Participants may sign up for a second pitch session at the conference if any time slots remain available after the online registration period has closed. These will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m., Friday, September 6 at the Pitch Room check-in table.
Tips for Success
Do Your Research. Some editors and agents will be a better fit for your project than others. Review the list of participating professionals and check out their websites to learn about their interests. Study the lists of participating book publishers to see how well your project fits among their titles. Familiarize yourself with the types of stories a magazine editor includes in their publication. Armed with this knowledge, target your pitch to the best possible outlet.
Practice Your Pitch. Write out what you intend to say and then practice, practice, practice. Pitch to a friend, fellow GardenComm Member, or in front of the mirror. Chances are, you’ll make a few edits before you come up with the perfect pitch. By the time your session arrives, you’ll have a concise, thorough pitch prepared that you can deliver with confidence.
Allow Time for Questions. Seven minutes is not a lot of time. Limit your pitch to about three minutes. The remaining time is devoted to answering any follow-up questions the editor or agent may have and receiving valuable feedback about your project.
What Should I Bring?
Arm yourself with a friendly smile and a well-rehearsed “elevator speech”. Oh, and business cards. Lots of business cards. Feel free to bring along notes to keep you on track.
Don’t Bring Your Manuscript. A pitch session is about presenting your ideas in words, not delivering them in writing. Editors do not want to tote your manuscript or book proposal around with them. Bring business cards instead. If an editor and agent wants to see more of your work they will request your card, or give you theirs, along with instructions on what they would like you to send: a query letter, a full manuscript, a book proposal, etc. You may wish to prepare a single-page description of your project, including relevant visual references and your contact information. However, many editors and agents only want business cards, so don’t be disappointed if they don’t take your handout.
Visual References. Finding the right visuals to complete a story can be challenging for editors. Writers and photographers are encouraged to bring scouting images for location-specific projects. Professional photographers will want to bring a sample of images (print or digital) representative of their scope of work. Remember your time is limited. Be selective and limit the number of photos you showcase to allow plenty of time for conversation. You may wish to bring along a slick sheet or postcard – with your contact info, of course – to leave behind with the editor if requested.
How to Pitch Your Project
- Books: A book pitch conveys the main concept of your project in one sentence, often called a log line. The body of a pitch answers the following questions: why is this book important and relevant? Who is the intended audience? How is this book new or different? Editors and agents will also want to know a bit about you: What makes you qualified to write this book? Do you have an established platform and following? Prepare and practice a pitch that condenses this information into three to five sentences, or about three minutes. Make sure you have a fully conceptualized book before pitching, not just an “idea” for a book.
- Magazine Articles: When pitching magazine editors, pitch a story not a topic. Explain how your story fills a hole in their coverage or presents a new concept that will interest their readers. Familiarize yourself with other articles on this subject and explain why your angle is fresh. Personalize your pitch: why is your pitch perfect for their outlet? Does it fit within a particular section of their publication? Many editors are seeking location-based stories and would like to see scouting photographs or reference visuals along with your pitch. Be prepared to share pertinent information about yourself including your areas of expertise.
- Photography: Photographers may have a book idea to pitch, but many times the goal of a photography pitch session is to make editors aware of your services. If you are seeking to connect regarding potential future projects, brings sample images that demonstrate the breadth of your work and photo archives. If you are pitching a book idea, be prepared with a good pitch as described above for pitching books and bring some sample images of the type of photographs that would be included in the project.
Your Consideration, Please
Pitch Sessions are scheduled concurrently with morning educational sessions. It is anticipated that participants may slip in and out of educational sessions to attend pitch sessions. If you need to leave an educational session to attend your pitch time slot, please sit near the back of the room and exit as quietly as possible.