Pitch Parties: Find Your Agent on Twitter
In a previous blog, we discussed how you can use Twitter to research agents who might rep your work. Today we’re tackling an exciting way to grab their attention: Twitter pitch parties.
Thousands of authors participate in these events every year, with good reason:
- The agents who “heart” your pitch ask for partial or full manuscripts, so it’s a way to hop to the top of their slush piles.
- These events are a great way to make #WritingCommunity friends.
- Since you need to keep tweets to 280 characters, it’s a fantastic test of your ability to describe your MS concisely.
Here’s a List of Events with Links to More Information
- #PitMad is for manuscripts in all genres, and all unagented writers are welcome. Upcoming dates are September 5, 2019, and December 5, 2019. To learn more and get ready, visit the #PitMad page on the Pitch Wars website.
- #DVpit is for works featuring marginalized voices, including: native peoples and people of color, people from underrepresented cultures and countries, disabled persons, people living with illness, people on marginalized ends of the socioeconomic, cultural and/or religious spectrum, and people identifying within LGBTQI+ communities. The 2019 event occurred across three days in April, with one day each for children/teen, adult, and illustrations. To learn more and get ready for the next event, visit the #DVPit website.
- #SFFpit is a twice-annual event for fantasy and science fiction. All age categories (PB, MG, YA, NA, and adult) are welcome. The next #SFFpit is scheduled for January, 2020. To learn more and get ready for the next event, visit Dan Koboldt’s #SFFpit web page.
- #KissPitch is an annual event for the romance genre. All subgenres are welcome, but romance should be the central theme of the work with the expectation of a satisfying HEA or HFN. This year’s event took place on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2019. To learn more and get ready for 2020, visit All The Kissing’s #KissPitch web page.
- #FaithPitch is a thrice-annual event for writers of faith-based fiction and non-fiction. All age categories and subgenres are welcome. The next #FaithPitch is scheduled for November, 2019. To learn more and get ready for the next event, visit Little Lamb Books’ #FaithPitch web page.
- #PitDark is a twice-annual event for dark literature. While not limited to horror, the work must contain an element of horror or darker writing. (Think dark fantasy, murder mysteries, and psychological horror, among others.) The most recent contest was in May, 2019. To learn more and find out about upcoming dates, visit Jason Huebinger’s #PitDark web page.
Please Note: All events require the work to be finished, polished, and unpublished. But if your MS isn’t ready, I’d still urge you to get on Twitter during the events and check out the posts. It will give you an idea of what to expect once you’re ready to pitch.
How to Participate
Before: Take some time to distill your MS into a scintillating 280-character tweet. Crafting an enticing pitch that conveys plot, character, genre, and age range is challenging, but it’s also a worthy exercise. (Think about it. If you can’t explain your work clearly, who can?) If you’re not sure where to start, do a Twitter search using one of the contest hashtags, which will bring up posts from past events. Then sift through them until you find a few that catch your eye and/or have been “hearted” by a lot of agents. There are also plenty of articles out there on how to craft your pitch. (Just Google.) Finally, take time to check out the event websites for their guidelines. Each has its own rules and etiquette.
On the day: Let your tweets rip! Remember to pay attention to guidelines and etiquette. Some events, for example, allow only a certain number of tweets per manuscript. If you can’t hang out on Twitter all day, you can use a dashboard app like TweetDeck to schedule posts. Agents and editors will request to see more (or all) of your MS by “hearting” your pitch.
After: Now it’s query time. First, sift through everyone who “hearts” your posts. Agents and editors should be the only ones who do, but not everyone pays attention to instructions. Check each agent’s Twitter page/posts for instuctions on how to submit. (Many will ask you to use the conference hashtag.) As always, do your research to make sure the agent is a good fit. You can find out more by using an industry resource like Publishers Marketplace or Guide to Literary Agents.
What Happens if No One “Hearts” Your Tweet?
Try not to take it personally. There are thousands of writers out there pitching at the same time. Trends in publishing change, and what doesn’t work for one contest may work for the next. Keep refining your pitch and learn from what works for others.
Did I Find My Agent at a Twitter Pitch Party?
Nope, but I’m sure glad I participated in them. Here’s why: Crafting my Twitter pitch made me realize I desperately needed to rewrite my query letter. And that rewrite got me ten (!) requests for the full MS within a month. Participating in Twitter pitch events also helped me create the in-person one I used at a conference, which was where I met my agent.
Remember: Everything you do, try, and learn builds upon everything else. No effort is ever wasted.
All Feedback Welcome
If I’ve missed an event, please let me know and I’ll add it to this blog. As always, if you have feedback, or if you’ve participated in a Twitter pitch party and want to share, I’d love to hear from you.