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Conference agent/editor pitch worth the $$?

Started by Virginia (Gbug), May 19, 2024, 07:13 AM

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Virginia (Gbug)

I'm reading about the SCBWI summer virtual conference. It's $85 extra to join 14 people on zoom for a 5 minute pitch with an agent or editor.

Has anyone done this, who would be willing to share their experience? I'm definitely attending the conference,  I just can't decide if I should spend the $$ on the pitch session. It seems like such a long shot, and expensive for 5 minutes of someone's time. Or maybe it's worth it for professional pitch feedback? If my manuscript isn't requested, is that considered an official "pass" from that person or agency/house?

Thoughts? :-)


Virginia, will you be getting feedback? Will you be hearing not only the other pitches but the agent or editor's responses to them? If yes to both it could well be worth it--to hear how a professional reacts to a variety of pitches. If it's just you and 13 other people pitching with no feedback, I can understand your skeptical question!

I will add that as an editor I don't like pitch sessions.I'd rather read the manuscript. But that's just me.
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site:

Virginia (Gbug)

Hi Harold, thank you for replying!  I believe there's feedback. It looks like 5 minutes total, but they say to keep the pitch to 2-3 minutes to allow for feedback.


Then I would say that you need to think about how useful to you hearing not just your feedback but the feedback to the other participants would be...
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site:


I think whether or not it is worth it depends on where you are in the process. Do you have a well-polished manuscript ready to submit with a carefully crafted pitch? Do the editors and agents listed take the type of writing you do? Are you interested submitting to the pitch folks listed and/or hearing their feedback? Does this provide you with an opportunity you would otherwise not have (like being able to submit to a closed house or agent)?  I got my first agent through a paid critique session at an SCBWI conference.
Rebecca Langston-George

Virginia (Gbug)

I really struggle with knowing when a manuscript is polished enough! That's what concerns me...if it's not as ready as I think, did I just blow a chance with someone I could have possibly had a chance with later.

Debbie Vilardi

I find it more cost effective to do pitch sessions and first page sessions at events held by my local chapter. I can attend two for the price of the one you are discussing. But that may vary by region.

It's also worth it to research the editors/agents you could be paired with and make sure you have something that fits what they say they are looking for and you'd want to work with them as part of the decision. 
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Barbara Etlin

I have done this one-on-one (for much less money, but that was years ago) and I got requests and useful feedback. I only chose agents and otherwise-closed editors. It's usually a good idea to query or pitch only to agents first, so you don't blow your chance to have an agent submit to an editor for you later.


Virginia, I think $85 is exorbitant for a 5 min pitch. You should be able to submit to the editors and agents there for free since you are attending the conference. But I've not done a zoom pitch session so it's even less attractive.

What can be more instructive is attending first pages sessions where editors and agents give their opinions.

I've had manuscript critiques at the regional conference by agents, editors, and writers for $35 or so. And I've also been part of the faculty where I've offered critiques so I know that it costs time and it's right that to be compensated. It's a good investment.

Good luck!
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Elaine M Alexander

Personally, I think the $85 fee would be worth it if you got 5-10 minutes of feedback with an editor alone, one-on-one.

I mean no disrespect, but the trouble with having 14 other writers there as well is that there is always a risk that someone will monopolize the session and you won't get very much out of it.

Just my opinion, of course.
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