Annie Bomke is a literary agent and the founder of Annie Bomke Literary Agency.
Annie is a literary agent with over a decade of experience in the publishing industry. Her clients include the Macavity Award-winning crime writer John Copenhaver, and the Barnes & Noble bestselling cozy mystery author Libby Klein. She represents a wide range of projects—from hard-nosed business books to otherworldly historical novels. Annie has loved the publishing industry since her internship at Zoetrope: All-Story, a literary magazine founded by Francis Ford Coppola. Authors have called her the pH test for good writing, and a bedrock for literary quality control.
She is looking for: adult and YA fiction and nonfiction, including commercial and literary fiction, upmarket fiction, mysteries (from hilarious cozies to gritty police procedurals and everything in between), historical fiction, magical realism, women’s fiction, psychological thrillers/suspense, literary/psychological horror, self-help, business, health/diet, cookbooks, memoir, relationships, current events, true crime, psychology, prescriptive nonfiction, and narrative nonfiction. She’s a sucker for locked room mysteries, books set in the Victorian era, books about evil children, and unreliable narrators. In any genre she is looking for character-driven stories. She is especially interested in books that feature diverse characters. She is not interested in representing picture books, chapter books or middle grade.
If you are coming to the 2020 San Diego Writing Workshop (May 9, 2020), you may be thinking about pitching our agent-in-attendance or editor-in-attendance. An in-person pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from a previous workshop instructor, Chuck Sambuchino) that will help you pitch your work effectively at the event during a 10-minute consultation. Chuck advises that you should:
- Try to keep your pitch to 90 seconds. Keeping your pitch concise and short is beneficial because 1) it shows you are in command of the story and what your book is about; and 2) it allows plenty of time for back-and-forth discussion between you and the agent. Note: If you’re writing nonfiction, and therefore have to speak plenty about yourself and your platform, then your pitch can certainly run longer.
- Practice before you get to the event. Say your pitch out loud, and even try it out on fellow writers. Feedback from peers will help you figure out if your pitch is confusing, or missing critical elements. Remember to focus on what makes your story unique. Mystery novels, for example, all follow a similar formula — so the elements that make yours unique and interesting will need to shine during the pitch to make your book stand out.
- Do not give away the ending. If you pick up a DVD for Die Hard, does it say “John McClane wins at the end”? No. Because if it did, you wouldn’t buy the movie. Pitches are designed to leave the ending unanswered, much like the back of any DVD box you read.
- Have some questions ready. 10 minutes is plenty of time to pitch and discuss your book, so there is a good chance you will be done pitching early. At that point, you are free to ask the agent questions about writing, publishing or craft. The meeting is both a pitch session and a consultation, so feel free to ask whatever you like as long as it pertains to writing.
- Remember to hit the big beats of a pitch. Everyone’s pitch will be different, but the main elements to hit are 1) introducing the main character(s) and telling us about them, 2) saying what goes wrong that sets the story into motion, 3) explaining how the main character sets off to make things right and solve the problem, 4) explaining the stakes — i.e., what happens if the main character fails, and 5) ending with an unclear wrap-up.