This month I was in town when the monthly meeting of the Willamette Writers was scheduled. I made it a point to attend because of the topic which would be: what to do and what not to do when pitching to a publisher. The speaker was Tod Davies, Editor and Publisher for Exterminating Angel Press. Being a small indie publisher, she should know and have encountered just about every imaginable situation with a prospective client.
But first, a little bit about Ms. Davies. She has done just about every job in the publishing profession. She is known for being an entertaining speaker and getting her audience into the subject. Sometimes, her talks get a bit rowdy. The WR July meeting was no exception and well attended. Ms. Davies was true to form and I enjoyed her talk immensely. On the serious side, she offered up a list of things to avoid, such as being insistent, pretentious or manipulative. Agents and publishers see these negative traits all the time. She urged the unpublished author listen to feedback when offered. This is something I have experienced and have appreciated. A publisher who says your work is just not for them and then offers a few suggestions is a good thing.
My most important take away? When you make your pitch, whether it is to a publisher or an agent, is to just be yourself.