pitch the literary agents nonfiction writers conference

Actual image of Pitch-the-Literary-Agents session at the 2021 Nonfiction Writers Conference

We hosted the first ever Pitch-the-Agents LIVE session at the May 2021 Nonfiction Writers Conference. This event was a HUGE HIT with participants and attendees alike!

NFWC Gold, Platinum and VIP attendees had the opportunity to apply to participate in the live pitches during a special double conference session, and 20 finalists were selected by a random lottery to share their pitches with literary agents Jennifer Chen Tran and Joseph Perry.

Hundreds of conference attendees cheered on the participating writers as they shared their pitches and received feedback from the agents.

Of those 20 participants, seven received proposal requests from one or both agents! So far, at least one participant signed with one of the agents. We look forward to following along with all of their journeys.

How it Works: Pitch-the-Literary-Agents

Each pitch lasts a total of five minutes and time will be carefully monitored. Participants will have up to two minutes to deliver a pitch, leaving the agents with three minutes (or remaining time) to ask questions and give feedback on ways to improve your pitch and/or your book project. If either agent finds a pitch compelling, he or she may ask to receive your book proposal! That’s right, it is possible one or more attendees could end up with agent representation and a book deal! (Though please note there are no guarantees of any book deals or representation.)

How to Participate

NFWC Gold, Platinum and VIP attendees are eligible to participate, however you must register to participate in the pitch sessions. When more attendees register than time allows, we draw names in advance and let you know if you’ll be on deck for the live double pitch session. Be sure to register for NFWC early so you stay notified of event updates.

How to Prepare Your Pitch

  • Try to distill your book into a one or two-sentence “elevator pitch” that succinctly tells us what your book is about and why you are the best person to write it.
  • Make sure you distinguish your book from what has already been published: what makes your book different and why is it needed in the marketplace?
  • Don’t forget to reference competitive titles if they help you better encapsulate what your book is about. You don’t always need to use comps but one or two well-known comps may be extremely helpful.
  • If you have any kind of author platform (blog or newsletter subscribers, social media following, website traffic, etc.), be sure to mention the details during your pitch.

Don’t Want to Pitch? Here’s Why You Should Still Attend

Even if you don’t want to pitch your book project to the agents, there is a tremendous amount of value you can gain simply by watching the participating writers and agents in action. You will learn how a book pitch works, what makes it sizzle, what captures the interest of agents, and what recommendations they offer for improvement. Even if you’re self-publishing, it’s important to understand how the traditional publishing world works so that you can remain competitive. We can all learn from what sells well in traditional publishing and gain wisdom from these experienced literary agents!

About the Literary Agents for NFWC Fall 2021

Jennifer Chen Tran is an agent at Bradford Literary, joining in September 2017. She represents both fiction and nonfiction. Originally from New York, Jennifer is a lifelong reader and experienced member of the publishing industry. Prior to joining Bradford Literary, she was an Associate Agent at Fuse Literary and served as Counsel at The New Press. She obtained her Juris Doctor from Northeastern School of Law in Boston, MA, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis.

Jennifer understands the importance of negotiation in securing rights on behalf of her authors. She counsels her clients on how to expand their platforms, improve on craft, and works collaboratively with her clients throughout the editorial and publication process. Her ultimate goal is to work in concert with authors to shape books that will have a positive social impact on the world—books that also inform and entertain.

Joseph Perry is a literary agent and publishing attorney at Perry Literary, Inc., and The Law Offices of Joseph J. Perry, P.C. As an agent he represents bestselling cookbook authors, athletes, musicians, journalists, influencers, academics, and more. As an attorney, Joseph counsels clients in the publishing industry, where among other things, he drafts, reviews, and negotiates various publishing agreements and conducts prepublication review of manuscripts. 

Joseph obtained his Juris Doctor from St. John’s University School of Law and a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in English from St. Bonaventure University. He is a graduate of New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute.

Eric Myers founded Myers Literary Management, LLC in 2017, following two years with Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret, LLC and thirteen with The Spieler Agency. A graduate of UCLA and the Sorbonne, Eric entered publishing as a journalist and author. Books he has written include Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in Hollywood, Forties Screen Style: A Celebration of High Pastiche in Hollywood, and Uncle Mame: The Life of Patrick Dennis, all published by  St. Martin’s Press.  His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Arts and Leisure sections, Time Out New York, Opera News, Art and Auction, Variety, and Quest.  As an agent, Eric has a strong affinity for Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction, as well as adult non-fiction, especially in the areas of history, biography, psychology, health and wellness, and pop culture. He also represents thrillers and historical fiction, and is open to memoir from writers who already have a strong platform. Authors he has represented include Chris Grabenstein (Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library), Lydia Kang (Control, Catalyst, A Beautiful Poison, Opium and Absinthe), David Neilsen (Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom), Simon Gervais (The Thin Black Line, Hunt Them Down, The Last Protector), Tracey Goessel (The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks), Robert Hofler (Money, Murder, and Dominick Dunne),  Christina Lane (Phantom Lady), Sam Staggs (Finding Zsa Zsa), MAD MEN cast member Bryan Batt (She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother), Canada’s former Chief Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin (Full Disclosure, Truth Be Told), financial advisor Erin Lowry (the Broke Millennial series), former Soviet spy Jack Barsky (Deep Undercover), auto-repair guru Patrice Banks (The Girls’ Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide) the team of Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen (Quackery, Patient Zero),  and World War II Resistance fighter Justus Rosenberg (The Art of Resistance) .

Register for the Nonfiction Writers Conference.