Apr
23

Twitter Pitch Events

90,000 words in 140 chars

Summarizing a novel into a 2-page synopsis is hard enough, but can you craft an eye-catching pitch in 140 characters or less?  There are numerous Twitter pitching events out there (like #SFFpit, #DVpit, #PitchMAS, and #PitMad) and they're a great way to gain exposure to agents who don't accept unsolicited queries otherwise.

Note:  The next #SFFpit Twitter event will be on June 23, 2016. Mark your calendars and read on to prepare!

Earlier this week, agent Beth Phelan kicked off her inaugural #DVpit Twitter event with a goal of increasing diversity (of characters, authors and world-building) within the publishing industry.  Agents were invited to ♥ any pitch for which they want to receive a query. And editors were asked to retweet any pitch that they would be willing to take a look at if/when the author is lucky enough to get an agent in the future. 

I'm still fairly new to Twitter in general (@ALeeRipley) so I searched out a few articles to help me prepare. I'll provide the link to the ones I found particularly useful here, and I'll focus my post on what went well for me and which tweets were the most successful.

9 Ways To Get Ready for #SFFPit by Dan Koboldt
How PitMad Helped Me Get a Literary Agent by Diana Urban

The #DVpit event ran from 8am to 8pm EST on 19 April 2016 and the limits were that each author could only pitch a maximum of once per hour.  (Different events have different rules, so make sure you research them individually.)  I really didn't know what types of pitches would work best for me so I focused some on the world-building/concepts of my story, some on the plot, and some on my main character.

In addition to using the hashtag of the event itself, it's important to also specify the genre and target audience for your book as well to help agents and editors narrow in on what they're looking for, for my posts that meant #DVpit #SF #A (for SciFi Adult).  I also included #LBGT to highlight which area of diversity that my submission relates to (beyond any personal linkages, my novel takes place in a world where individuals can custom-order their body  and gender  before they're born).  

I tried to vary each tweet but, as you'll see, some are stronger than others. My hope was that I had a good enough mix that if any interested agents clicked on my profile they'd see a fun cross section of different styles and tone, as opposed to only seeing a string of repeat tweets with a few words moved around each time.

Here's what I queued up in my Twitter feed, and the responses that I received:

08:04am EST - 1 Like by an agent in Minneapolis, MN

Allowing criminals to recall their past lives each time they die would throw one helluva wrench into the justice system

09:24am EST:
- 4 Likes (3 from agents in NY, and 1 from a fellow writer)
- 2 Retweets by editors in NY publishing houses (one from Ace Books and one from Orbit Books)

Eve's been serving a life sentence since her last death.  Life sucks and then you die (& then it still sucks apparently)

10:41am EST - 1 Like (by a writer at GeekDad.com)

Eve must uncover the truth before the Ministry finds her, eradicates her memories, and kills her all over again

11:57am EST - Initially 1 Like by a non-agent, later removed

Body starting to show its age?  Come browse our huge selection of skins and after market upgrades.  ON SALE NOW!

1:22pm EST - 1 Like & 1 Comment from a small press publisher in Arkansas ("@ALeeRipley this sounds crazy and awesome!  Shoot me a msg, let's chat!")

Bodies as the ultimate consumable: past lives and gene edits and body farms oh my!

6:54pm EST - 1 Like from a video producer/cat enthusiast that somehow came across my post

After the Fall, something changed.  Each decade yielded more individuals born remembering the lives they'd just departed

7:57pm EST - 1 Like by an agent in Jerusalem, Israel

Taking a new body is easy, we've each done it countless times.  It's giving up a body that's the uncomfortable part.

Overall, my second pitch was clearly the most successful.  The timing of it might have helped (9:24am New York time, participants would still be fresh and the search results might not have been too insurmountable yet) but I think it had the best content overall as well.  The two retweets by editors also boosted it's audience (giving it a potential reach of over 1.5K based on the metrics I have access to) and that editor interest means that I get to bypass the slush pile for these two great NY publishing houses (if I can find myself an agent).

Of all the agents that liked my tweets, two stand out to me in particular: one is at JaBberwocky and the other works at Donald Maas.  I've checked them both out on QueryTracker.net and I'm excited by what I've seen so I'll be working on my queries for them right away.

Overall, it was a rush and a blast to participate in the pitching event.  I've never hovered over my Twitter Notifications quite so closely before.  :)  I have to say that it was a great asset to use buffer.com to queue up my tweets before leaving for work and just let them auto-post at the appointed times.  I will definitely use that same strategy again in the future. 

The one thing I would do differently if I participate in another event would be to draft up/refine my tweets well in advance.  I threw most of the ones I ended up using together in a mad panic before racing out the door to work. I could only come up with so many before I had to go so there were hours in the competition when I wasn't posting.  But overall, I'm still really pleased and excited with the results.

I'll be interested to see a post from Beth Phelan summarizing the results of the #DVpit event.  If I see one in the future I'll add it to the comments section here.  Meanwhile, if you're interested to see the numbers from #SFFpit 4, last December, you can click on the image below.

If I'm still looking for representation in a few months, then I'll see you at #SFFpit 5 on June 23, 2016! 

SFFpit keywords and hashtags

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five Responses to "Twitter Pitch Events"

  1. Jerry
    Jerry on 23-04-’16 20:52

    Awesome!! Great pitches! :-)

  2. A. Lee Ripley
    A. Lee Ripley on 23-04-’16 20:55

    Thanks Jerry! Much appreciated. :)

  3. Eric Thomson
    Eric Thomson on 23-04-’16 20:58

    Well done, you!

  4. Jeff
    Jeff on 25-04-’16 16:10

    Enjoyed this entry, a lot. Cool pitches!

  5. A. Lee Ripley
    A. Lee Ripley on 25-04-’16 19:28

    Thanks, Eric. Thanks, Jeff! :) The queries are now sent to those two agents so we’re back to more of the waiting game on this manuscript (for now). :)

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