Thursday, April 12, 2012

Agent Kristin Nelson In An Elevator

If by sheer happenstance you find yourself in a hotel which happens to be hosting a writers' conference, and if at that conference there happens to be some of the publishing industries biggest names, and if you happen to be a writer who has queried some of these big-named agents, it would behoove you to prepare for the possibility you might happen upon one of those agents.

Preparation means coming up with some sort of pitch for that once-in-a-career making novel you wrote that no agent without brain damage could pass on.  It means being the salesman you don't think you can be when you have to be without which you are nothing more than another writer who wants to be an author but will never be until you nail down that pitch.  It means whipping out that pitch with no notice and dazzling that super-agent so well they see sparkles for weeks.

Sadly, I didn't come up with this advice before needing it.

So, I'm in Chicago on a layover and there is a writers' conference in the hotel.  By gum, I think, I've crashed these things before.  Remember DragonCon?  Why not do it again?

A quick google turned up a list of attendees, including Super-Agent Kristin Nelson.  Wouldn't it be something to run into her, I thought.  Except that my time was limited.  I have to fly later today, so I looked over the workshops to see what would be the best one to sneak into.  Sadly, none fit my schedule, so I headed down to stroll around.

Well who do you suppose ended up in the elevator with me, but Kristin Nelson?  So, not thinking at all, I introduced myself and told her I'd sent her a query about a kid living on a pirate ship.  She very convincingly acted as though she remembered it, to which I quickly called her bluff.

Brilliant move.  Then I reminded her that she rejected it.  Not in a bitter way, just making conversation.  She laughed and told me not to take it personally, which I didn't and don't.

She had to run.  I had to run.  She remembered my name as we parted.  Classy lady.

But boy did I blow it.  Because when I got back to my computer and looked up the query I'd sent, it wasn't to her, but one of her staff.  Nit picky, I know.  Query one agent, query them all.  But it had been a while.  I should have pitched her the story right there.  I'm sure by the eighth floor she'd've been hooked.  Alas!

The point is I was unprepared.  Well I was never a boy scout, but you never know when you'll need those skills.

Anyone else have a similar stupid story?


Amy Saia said...

Whoops! Don't do that again.

Dana Elmendorf said...

One time, over two years ago, I commented on Kristen's blog and called her "Janet" as in Janet Reed. I deleted the comment a day later and I'm sure she'll never remember that or me but it was the one time I was grateful I wasn't any where near querying.

Go you, Matt, for being brave enough to talk to her. I've had those opportunities and let them pass me by because I stick at pitching. Some day I'll get there.

MC Howe said...

At least you could erase yours, Dana. I have to live with it until I corner her again.

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

Send it again revised with a note "remember me the charming person you almost made out with in the elevator?" or something to that nature.

Natalie said...

LOL! That's awesome.

You have the perfect job for randomly running into agents at conferences. It's not even a possibility for the rest of us!