Since my self-published novel "Imaginary Friend" (available both on Amazon and Kindle) is a thriller about an atheist who gets himself into major trouble by admitting on national TV that he doesn't believe in God, it's also controversial. I pointed out to the agents that there'd been a goodly number of non-fiction bestsellers about atheism in recent years (Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, etc.) and that it was time for an atheist thriller to enter the market. I said this whenever I sat down across the table from a prospective agent, adding that if he/she wasn't interested in the subject matter please say so fast, lest we both waste time. My record for rejection in my fifteen or so pitches was thirty seconds. But, happily, six of the agents asked to see the entire manuscript (some of them were willing to take it on a flash drive immediately, others wanting it sent via email, or even as hard copy through regular mail). I was very pleased. Frankly, it would be the thrill of a lifetime to have "Imaginary Friend" published by a professional company that would promote its existence and get it into mainstream distribution.
What impressed me most about these lectures/discussions was how very much the presenters cared about helping those who were newbies. It's a truism of the human condition that those who know things are almost always anxious to teach them to others, and that trait was much on impressive display at ThrillerFest.