If you are an author who aspires to have your book published by any means other than self-publishing, you absolutely should participate in Twitter pitch events because literary agents and acquisition editors are participating.
If you’re an author in the making and don’t have a book to publish yet, you absolutely should not participate in Twitter pitch events. You absolutely should observe a Twitter pitch event!
WHY YOU SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN TWITTER PITCH EVENTS
- It’s FREE!
- It’s more personal than online or mailed queries.
- You'll get faster feedback than traditional queries.
- You'll get the opportunity to check out your competition.
- You'll get the opportunity to learn from what others are doing.
- It’s FUN!
- Most importantly, if you’re a first-time “pitcher” it will help you step out of your comfort zone and get used to risking rejection.
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PARTICIPATING IN A TWITTER PITCH EVENT
- Do you have a good Twitter persona? Does it demonstrate your ability to market and passion for what you do?
- Have you written an excellent query letter? If not, get on it. If an editor, publisher, or literary agent favorites your pitch tweet they’re going to want it.
- Have you thought about how you will provide a manuscript sample when asked? You should (tips for that below).
- Have you prepared several different 140 character pitches? These should include the event hashtag and the genre hashtags.
TWITTER PITCH EVENTS
#PitMad 6/9/2016, 9/8/2016, and 12/1/2016 started by Brenda Drake
#SFFPit no 2016 date set, started by Dan Koboldt
#WritePit no upcoming date set yet, hosted by agent Jessica Schmeidler (for faith-based works)
#Pit2Pub 2/3/2016 This is an event where authors pitch directly to publishers, not agents. It's co-hosted by Kristin VanRissenghem and Ann M. Noser.
#DVPit (New!) 4/19/2016 This event was created to highlight marginalized voices. It's hosted and moderated by Beth Phelan.
PITCH ETIQUETTE AND RULES
These are general guidelines. Visit the links above for specific pitch event rules and information.
DO NOT favorite pitches unless you are an acquisition editor, publisher, or a literary agent-I know, you want to help your friends, but don’t! Favorites are reserved for literary agents, publishers, and editors.
DO NOT directly contact or mention an editor, publisher, or literary agent unless they specifically say you may do so.
FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES for each event.
USE HASHTAGS. Include the specific #event and #genre. Otherwise, how will agents find you, and how will they know you’re what they’re looking for?
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PITCH TWEET GETS FAVORITED
- Do a happy dance or spin your chair around. High-five your office hamster. Give yourself a fist bump.
- Go to the website or Twitter profile of whoever favorited you. Look for their submission guidelines for that pitch event. Follow the guidelines. I cannot overstate this! See tips below.
- Gather all the required materials-pitch, query letter, sample chapter (or whatever they asked for), etc. I said “gather,” but you should already have these ready because you are a professional, and you are there for business. This is the business of writing.
- Send the requested information within a reasonable amount of time.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PITCH DOES NOT GET FAVORITED
- Pull your office chair closer to your desk. Smile at your office hamster. Give yourself a pat on the back. You now know what doesn’t generate interest.
- Reformulate your pitch tweets. Be ready for the next event. You probably won’t have to wait very long.
TIPS TO HELP YOU STAND OUT
- Put the hashtag and event name in the subject line of your email. Agents, editors, and publishers get many emails a day. It helps if you give context so that we can prioritize answering them. If you simply say, “Query” or “Pitch” I will make a frowny face. It tells me that you lack attention to detail. The last thing you want is for an agent, editor, or publisher to think of you as unprofessional before they even read your query. (When I originally posted this, I was participating in pitch as an acquisition editor for an indie publisher.)
- Put the working title of your manuscript in the subject line. If you include the genre I will smile. The goal is to make the recipient’s job easier so your story gets noticed.
- Of course you’re going to follow the query submission guidelines of whomever favorited your pitch, but if they do not specify their preferences, I recommend attaching to the email your sample chapter as a Word document, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font. Include at least the working title and your name. Name your Word doc something like this: Title_AuthorName_MS_Date. You want at-a-glance-recognition. Make it easy for an agent, editor, or publisher to identify and sort your query. It makes you look professional.
- Be professional. A query is the first step in a business interaction: Think of it as a job application. Set the right tone for any future business relationship that might develop.
- Do your homework. There is a lot of variation in the publishing industry. Only submit your manuscript to the parties that match your goals. If you're looking for a literary agent because your goal is to be traditionally published, don't submit to an indie or partner/hybrid publisher. It's a waste of your time and theirs.
- If your manuscript gets favorited by an editor, agent, or publisher that does not match your goals or, for whatever reason, doesn't seem like a good fit, thank them for their interest and kindly decline the offer.
- I've received several submissions I solicited on behalf of an indie publishing company that included a note from the author stating that what they really wanted was to be published by one of The Big 5, but that they were submitting to me anyway. (I'd been very clear about the publisher I was representing.) Not cool.
- Engage. Do some research and personalize your email intro or query to match the agent, editor, or publisher you’re pitching/querying.
Whether you’re a new author or a pro, you absolutely should participate in Twitter pitch events and with #PitMad, #SFFpit, #DVPit, #WritePit, and #Pit2Pub to choose from and because literary agents, editors, traditional publishers, and indie publishers will be monitoring, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
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