Whether you pitch to an agent face-to-face or via email query, please make your pitch personal. I believe there are ways to combine professional story information with a personal touch to show an agent that you intentionally chose to pitch to them. I have had people send me queries addressed to “Jennifer” not “Jessica.” I have had people spell my name like a boy “Jesse.” I have received queries where I was one of a hundred agents CC’d on a mass email. It’s not wrong to query multiple agents at a time, you should do that to improve your chances, but, there is a proper way to do it. I promise that cc’ing a group of agents together won’t get you an agent.
I was at a conference a few weeks ago and one gal sat down, looked me straight in the eye, and said “Hey, I’m a mother of multiples too.” I appreciated her personal approach. I knew she had done her homework, because she knew I had triplets. After our agent/editor panel, another lady approached me and gave me two amazing icing filled chocolate bundt cakes. I totally know that my mama taught me not to take food from strangers, but there they were in all their glory…gluten-free, chocolate-chip, bundt cakes! Of course I had to eat them, didn’t I? Well either way, I did. You know why that matters? Because she read my bio. The last line of my bio says that I can be “bribed with hugs and gluten-free cupcakes” and when people bring me things like that, it means something to me. It means they researched me. Or maybe it just means they are trying to make me gain weight! These tiny personal touches matter to me, and they matter to other agents. We invest our time, our energy, our emotions into you as an author, and we want to know that this partnership is going to be mutually beneficial. When someone pays attention on the front end, I feel more confident in signing them and investing in their career.
There was another girl at that same conference that sat down at my table, looked me in the eye and said assertively, “I want you to know that I came to pitch to you. I really want to work with you and I’m not pitching to any other agents.” She proceeded to slide a folder across the table that had my name on it, our agency address, and on the cover letter she told me all the reasons why she wanted me to be her agent. That is how it’s done. You don’t have to fill our emotional cup or desire to feel loved and accepted, but agenting is a two-way street. The agent/author relationship is an intimate one; it is personal. And a personal pitch, or lack thereof, sets the tone for what our interactions might look like in the future. This is business, but in my opinion, business is always personal.