Agents and Acquisition Editors

Acquistion Editors and AgentsThis photo is courtesy of photostock at

The line between being an independent author and traditional published author is blending. Some authors choose a particular route based on their vision for their book. If you decide to go the traditional route for your next novel – you will come across Agents and Acquisition Editors. An Agent is a writer’s advocate, their job is to sell your work to a publishing company and an Acquisition Editor acquires manuscripts for publication.

I came across several Agents and Acquisition Editors attending New York Writers Workshop’s Non-Fiction pitch conference, a three-day pitch conference where writers polish their pitches with conference leaders and other participants, then present them to three different editors from major publishing houses. Acquisition Editors provide feedback and may request proposals and manuscripts after the conference.

Going to the Non-Fiction pitch conference was a risk – taking time off from the job that funds my writing and $425. Ouch! My expectations were balanced. At worst I’d meet other writers and sharpen my pitch. At best, an Acquisition Editor would be interested in reading it.

My first exposure to Agents at the conference was the Agent panel. My take away from listening to the three Agents were the importance of compatibility and fit. Your story may not be what that particular agent is interested in selling. In addition, the Agent may have a different agenda for your story. In essence, a writer needs to have a clear vision for their story to find an Agent that their compatible with and fits within that vision.

The rest of the conference was built around pitching to Acquisition Editors at New York Publishing Houses. The first pitch was done in front of the group of sixteen writers. I was nervous and excited like a first date maybe because I was the first to deliver my pitch. Ha! Her advice was to make sure when delivering a pitch to be clear who the main character is and what he/she is up against. In other words, show what about the main character is driving the story.

The second pitch was private. However, my vibe from introducing myself told me it wasn’t a good fit. But her advice was useful. Make sure when pitching your story you include a moment that defines the book. The third and final pitch was private as well as beneficial. My take away from her was – be prepared to answer questions about your story – short and concisely.

Here are some  Do’s and Don’ts when dealing with Agents and Acquisition Editors:

Agents and Acquisition Editors Dos and Don’t’s

  • Do – research about Agents and Acquisition editors before meeting them
  • Don’t – assume your book will appeal to each Agent and Acquisition Editors
  • Do – have a pitch that includes your story, platform and a bit about You
  • Don’t – be too in love with your project to take feedback
  • Do – write a polished query letter if Agent or Acquisition Editor asks for your work
  • Don’t – act unprofessionally in the face of rejection
  • Do – take advantage of useful information coming from Agents, Acquisition Editors and other writers
  • Don’t – give up

Rashaun J. Allen (@rashaunjallen) is the author of A Walk Through Brooklyn & In The Moment. He has been featured in several publications such as: The Chronicle, The Troy Record, Albany Student Press & UA Magazine. Find his books at

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