I love attending the PitchSlam because of the frenetic energy of it all. Agents hear dozens of pitches in the big room, and I won't lie, they all bleed together at some point. This is ok. I'm there to meet writers, and then read their work later. As a writer, you shouldn't be looking for an agent to sign you on the spot. How can we tell from speaking with you for less than 5 minutes? The benefits of going to an event like this are honing your pitch, meeting other writers, meeting agents and editors, and seeing first hand that us agents aren't magical beings who will tap you on the forehead and bestow the power of a book contract on you. We're just people on the other side of the table.
Anat didn't pitch me in the big room. She caught me in the hallway, and politely asked if she could quickly pitch me her book. This is 100% ok! Agents expect this, welcome it most of the time, (DO NOT PITCH AN AGENT IN THE BATHROOM) and we're there to hear pitches, so I was fair game. She was casual, upbeat, and had a fantastic pitch. She said her YA novel was like Gossip Girl set in Saudi Arabia. That caught my attention--succinct, interesting, and certainly something I'd never seen before. I said send me the whole manuscript! and handed her my card. I knew any other agent getting that pitch was going to jump on it, too. It was just too good.
I received the manuscript within 24 hours and I read it in about a week and arranged a phone call with her. 10 days after I received the manuscript, I offered representation and she said yes!
But the manuscript needed work, a fact and task Anat approached with gusto.
When the manuscript was finally, finally ready, we sent it out to a variety of editors. I knew this book needed the right champion and we just had to find our match. And we did, with Julia Sooy at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. Her enthusiasm for this book was so evident that we all knew it was the right fit. I can't wait to see what awesome things she brings to this book, and for everyone else to read it. The book is scheduled for release in Winter, 2018.
Vice-President & Literary Agent
Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, Inc.