Literary speed dating: swipe left or right?

Do you think you may be a good candidate for a three-minute power pitch to publishers and agents?
literary speed dating. Image is an open book with the pages folded in to make the shape of a heart.

It’s the start of the year, so maybe one of your resolutions is to make more meaningful connections – not so much in a romantic fashion, but in a career sense. Do you have a manuscript set aside, little time and no idea how to proffer it to the right hands, so that it may eventually become published? Literary speed dating may be the answer. But, beware, it requires preparation and may not be the right avenue for those too shy and nervous to pitch in person.

Like the regular dating format, the literary version follows a similar principle of setting up participants with a limited time to engage with one another – tête-à-tête or online. With this quick-talking, power chat formula, you can try and gain interest in your book with a number of industry professionals. Perhaps a better name for it would be literary speed pitching.

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Thuy On is Reviews Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her first book, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was published by University of Western Australia Press (UWAP). Her next collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Twitter: @thuy_on