Speed Agenting: Pitching My Novel

This weekend I attended this meet-the-agent event, in which we got to spend five minutes pitching our books to an agent, before a gong sounded and we had to move on to the next one.

Although my novel isn’t finished, I took a chance and pitched it anyway, to varying degrees of success. I spoke with a total of five agents and one editor. I pitched my “Chinese novel” to four agents and┬ámy corporate murder mystery to one. From the editor I got some feedback about my Chinese novel.

Everyone seemed to like my ideas and asked to see chapters when I was finished with the manuscript, although a couple seemed confused about the possible complexity of my Chinese novel. Here’s my pitch in case you’re curious:

Lucy Wang puts her mother’s approval before everything else. When her fiance dumps her as a result, she runs off to the house her deceased grandmother has inexplicably willed to her, only to find a house full of mysteries. A creepy tenant who won’t leave, her grandmother’s secret dumpling business, her grandmother’s recipe books she’s been hiding from the family for years. Through these, Lucy discovers her own strength, learns to stand up to her mother, and more importantly, to forgive.

My pitch to the agents actually wasn’t exactly like that. This is a more polished pitch as a result of the all the feedback I got and spent all weekend processing (and being a little depressed about, I have to admit). I also spent hours (at least it felt like it) talking/arguing/brainstorming with MB about it.

Now I think I have an idea of where my novel might need improvement, but not before I spent all weekend on my first chaper, changing, unchanging, changing again, and changing back with smaller changes. I literally had a headache by the time I stopped Sunday night. In the end, I barely changed anything, and only added a more solid motivation behind Lucy’s mother’s immoral action.

As for the coroporate murder mystery, my pitch was much simpler and less detailed, and in a way easier to digest. Basically, it’s a murder mystery set in the corporate world and focused on secretaries. The main character, Flora, is a former investigative journalist who’s recovering from a nervous breakdown and has taken an “easy” job as a temporary secretary. She befriends another temp, Velma, who is very close – too close, some would say – with her married boss. Then Velma turns up dead, and it’s up to Flora to find out what happened.

I’ve done real speed dating before, once right after my divorce and once several months later. Agent speed dating was less stressful but just as exhausting.


1 comment

  1. […] I had set up was too complicated, or at least too boring. At first I ignored the advice from the agent speed dating thing, but then as I was reading over what I’d written, I realized that the sections that occur in […]