Joining the Pitch Party

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Today we’ll continue on with the idea of pitching your project on Twitter. In an era when it can take weeks or months to hear back from agents or editors you’ve queried, Twitter pitch parties are an excellent way to reach publishing professionals who have an interest in the type of work you write, and get instant feedback on whether they’d like a full query from you.

Important: make sure your project is done! It must be as polished as you can make it, so if an agent or editor favorites your pitch, you can send them what they are asking for, with the completed manuscript available if that’s what they want. Don’t bother pitching something you’re not ready to query agents on anyway!

A pitch party is a specific day when agents and editors interested in a particular type of manuscript are invited to review 140-character pitches made with a particular hashtag, e.g. #pitchmad. If they like your pitch, they will favorite it. That’s your invitation to submit to them, according to their preferences. Before submitting, make sure you go to their website to get the instructions for how they like to receive submissions. They may also tweet instructions specific to the pitch party. To find the party, put the search term with the hashtag in the search form – e.g. #pbpitch. You can usually make your pitch several times during the day. It might help to switch it up a bit, and see what version gets the most favorites.

The general rules of writing a Twitter pitch are the same as for a logline:

• Who the Protagonist is
• What Protagonist wants
• What will happen if s/he doesn’t get it

Be general in terms of giving names; you don’t want to confuse the agents and editors. But be specific about the desires and stakes – don’t be coy or vague. You want to make the pitch pop with what makes your story stand out. You may also need to save a few characters to specify the genre, e.g. #YA.

It should go without saying that you should spend time crafting your pitch before the day of the pitch party. Don’t wing it! If you have writer friends, think about critiquing each other’s pitches. They may see things you don’t, or have questions about something that may seem obvious to you.

Numerous pitch parties exist throughout the year, but if you’re ready to pitch a project now, #pitchmad is coming up on June 9. An excellent post from Brenda Drake on preparing your pitch, with examples, is here:

If you’re not ready to pitch, don’t worry! You can start researching what pitch parties exist for the types of things you write, and prepare for the future. As I’ve mentioned before, creating a logline or pitch can be an excellent way to keep an in-progress story on track, and keeping up with the pitch parties that exist can help inspire you as well as help you hone yours. Even if you’re not pitching at a particular party, you can learn a lot by following the pitches throughout the day, and see what ones grab your attention, and which get the most favorites from agents and editors.

If you do decide to pitch, good luck! In future posts, we’ll go over what makes an excellent query letter, as well as the dreaded synopsis and how to write ones of different lengths. This way, you’ll be prepared once agents and editors start favoriting your tweets!

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