Hello! I have an odd question, but in your infinite wisdom and experience I’m sure you’ll have an excellent answer. I was at a regional romance writer’s conference where I was one of the finalists in a big contest. As a conference attendee I got one pitch session, with Deirdre Knight – and that one went really well. As a finalist I got another pitch session – with a different agent. It was a group pitch and I just was not pitching well for some reason. After my pitch, Agent B said, “well, it doesn’t really sound interesting, but send me a partial anyway.”
I was humiliated, of course. Out of seven people she only asked for mine and one other person – other people she either referred to other agents or flat out said “not for me.” This was in late September. I have not sent her the partial, but I’m now thinking I have nothing to lose. Here’s my question: Do I mention in my cover letter that she hated it but wanted to see it anyway? J I could make it funny, but would it be better to lie and hope she doesn’t remember me and only remembers requesting the partial? Such a tricky kind of situation.
You shouldn't feel humiliated. She wouldn't have asked for it if there wasn't legitimate interest; she may just have been tired, or cranky, or in a bad mood, or simply thought your presentation was lacking but she was willing to see if it looked different in paper. Don't mention that she hated it, just that she requested it.
A lot is made in books of the agent pitch at conferences and I'm sure a few sales have come from it, but it's not the main way to approach an agent. Many writers are not good at describing their books (myself included) in person and we're aware of that; the agents who go to these conferences choose to do so because they don't find them as unbearable as I would. If you're not a good speaker, send a query. If you ARE a good speaker and good presenter, go to conferences and pitch away.