Saturday, March 18, 2017

Twitter Pitch Parties

About my year of participating in Twitter pitch parties and why you should participate too.

First let's start off with the basics. A twitter pitch is 140 characters (less with appropriate hashtags) about your chosen novel. A Twitter pitch party is a predetermined hash tag (ex:#PitMad) that groups all tweets together so participating agents and publishers and the writing community can find pitches and any related social media postings. With additional genre hashtags added to the pitch party hashtag (#A, #YA, #NF #PB) and even more specific genre hash tags (#SFF, #HF #MR) agents and publishers can read pitches they are interested in.

Example of a pitch: 3 generations of Black woman are bonded not only by life experiences but by a passed down pearl necklace.  
(The hashtags include the twitter pitch party tag:  and the genre tags:  )

One of the precursors to pitching in a twitter pitch party is having a polished query (bio, book blurb, etc.) and manuscript ready. I'd argue a synopsis too since in #DVPit some agents had them as submission requirements.

Large Like-Minded Audience
Twitter has the largest author, agent, publisher, fan community out there. During pitch parties I've made tons of connections with every type of creative related to writing and it's been an invaluable experience. Communicating is at your fingertips and engaging is what will help boost your followers and your content.

Do Your Research
Remember to research before DMing or tweeting agents. And if they favorite your pitch make sure you research their client and book wish lists to be sure you are a match. Just because agents are on Twitter and will engage with you doesn't mean you should pitch to them on Twitter or on their blog. There are protocols for querying that should be adhered to if you want to be taken seriously and remain professional. You can find agent and publisher submission info and manuscript wish list (#MSWL) all over the Internet and in their tweets - so do your research!

By pitching your 140 character pitch you are practicing the basics. What is your novel about at the core? Goal, motivation and conflict. Forget the title and even names in most cases. And sometimes a comparison of title(s) works to help people get the feel of novel. But be weary of this method because if your book doesn't hold up to comparison, you're setting yourself up for failure. Seeing what people are pitching is also important because it gives you an idea of what popular, missing or overdone. Reading and looking at what's in the market doesn't give you the finger on the pulse of what's next but seeing what agents and publishers are favoriting (asking for) does.

Study Other Writers Pitches and Response 
Studying the most favorited pitches gives you an idea of what agents are looking for and also how to construct a great pitch that catches the eyes of your intended audience.

The Real Deal
So far because of Twitter pitch parties I've been able to cater my queries to agents who I know expressed interest. This is huge, because aside from researching agents: their recent deals, their clients, their blogs, interviews, twitter posts and their MSWLs, as authors, we can only guess might be what they're looking for.

Every twitter pitch party has a general rule that only agents and publishers can favorite pitches which means they want to see you work. In essence you sort of get to skip the traditional slush/blind querying pile because they are targeting you because you have what they want. Or at least your pitch sounds like what they want. I'll be the first to tell you that a favorite during a Twitter pitch party is not a guarantee that anyone will offer to represent you. I have had 30+ requests with no cigar so far.

Test the Waters
You can test the waters of any story you're pitching but it's recommended that it be complete and polished because if an agent or publisher asks for it you want to be able to send it within a few days.

Most participants I'd guess don't ultimately end up with agents or publishers from these parties but it is great for networking and working through improving your novel. I met people who I'm now in Facebook groups with and who are now my Twitter friends. People who are supportive and awesome as awesome gets.

Here are some of the Twitter pitch parties from 2016:
#WriteOnCon #PitchFest #AdPit (Adult & NA books) 
#PitchSqueak (picture books) 
#JustPitchIt (faith-based books)