Pitches to Agents, Editors, and Publishers

Pitches to Editors, Publishers, and Agents

Registered participants at the conference have the opportunity schedule individual pitch sessions with  editors, publishers, and agents. The fee for each session is $50, payable via CashNet during registration. There are a limited number of such opportunities -- we encourage anyone who wants to schedule a session to apply early.

Once you have registered, conference administration will put you in touch directly with the person with whom you are meeting to schedule your session.

This year's editors and publishers include:

Brian Calvert

Editor, High Country News


Writing: well-researched reportage, analysis, opinion, features, essays or criticism on issues vital to the West.

Photography: photo stories that show surprising aspects of the West or offer intimate looks at communities or people doing something unique.


Dillon Tracy

Editor, Antilever Press


Book collections of original poetry, criticism, essays, and translations.


Mark Todd

Editor, Western Press Books, and its annual anthology, Manifest West


Original poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction on an announced theme each year about the New West.

What to Expect

Each session will last about 20 minutes and be a one-on-one opportunity to present your work, or to pitch it, in person. These sessions do not involve editing or teaching -- it is an attempt to convince the editor or publisher to consider the work in the first place. The person with whom you meet will not be reading your work beforehand -- the trick is to convince very busy people, who have the ability to publish it...to read it.

We encourage you to think of your session as an opportunity to take a step towards publication with the journal or press with whom you are meeting, or towards professional representation with an agent. It is a big world out there, and writers at the beginning of their careers don’t often get a chance to hear a practical, professional face-to-face reaction to a  proposed submission. At the very least, these sessions present an opportunity to educate yourself about the realities of the business side of writing and publication, the better to hone your message and make it work.

How to Prepare for Your Session

A successful pitch session depends not only on the quality of the presentation, but also on understanding the interests and needs of the editor, publisher or agent. It is therefore essential to read some of the stories, poems, essays or books the agent or press has accepted in the past. Being familiar with that work sets the appropriate tone for a meaningful conversation, and you can then not only make the strongest case possible for reading your work and considering it for publication or representation, but also ask any questions you may have in a way that is that much more likely to help you in the future. To sum this up in a single word: Prepare.

Good luck.

Please direct any questions you may have about pitch sessions to the Conference Coordinator, Mark Todd, at mtodd@western.edu.

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