After the overwhelming interest in 4 Tips to a Stellar First Chapter, I’ve made this complimentary post upon request. Now, the reason I got a publisher’s feedback on how to shape up my first chapter was because I first won a Twitter Pitch Contest. This just show the benefit of winning a Twitter Pitch Contest that some authors may minimize. Many of you have asked me, what did you do to win? This was a third attempt on Twitter Pitches and I did quite a bit of research on how to word a pitch to garner an agent’s interest. Here’s everything I discovered in an organized fashion for you to enjoy!
Tip1: Understand what you’re getting into. What is a Twitter Pitch Contest?
Every few weeks, agents and publishers will host a Twitter Pitch Contest. Terms and rewards will vary, but the basic idea is to give authors a chance to pitch their novels to agents and editors that are otherwise too busy to pay any special attention. The catch is you have 150 characters to catch their eye. If you do, the reward can be otherwise elusive feedback or even landing your agent.
It’s hard to stand out in a slush pile, and some may be confused that the “reward” is to submit to the slush pile like everyone else. But think about it, the hardest part of making it out of the slush pile and into the “maybe” pile is getting noticed. If you’ve already caught their eye, then half the battle is already won.
The most popular pitch contests can be found under these hashtags. Be sure to keep searching for when the next one is going to take place. It only takes a few moments of your time and is worth the effort.
Supported by Pandamoon Publishing:
#PitMad (Next Dec4)
Exclusively for Picture Books:
While these are some of the main ones, keep a lookout for any type of # with pitch in it, since small publishers will also host their own contests here and there. New Pitch contests are popping up all the time, and the easiest way to keep track of these is to follow your favorite agents and publishers. Their notifications will pop up on your feed.
Tip 2: Be prepared! Understand the limitations of the Pitch Contest you will join.
I’ll use #PitMad for this example. #PitMad will last for 12 hours, and you are allowed to tweet twice per hour. Meaning you should have 24 pitches ready to go out. If you’re not able to set an alarm and send out your prepared tweets on schedule, then try using a free service which allows you to preschedule your tweets. As I don’t use these I don’t want to recommend any, but feel free to do a google search. I know there are plenty of options out there.
Tip 3: How do I write a Tweet that’ll get noticed?
This will be trial and error. You need to find a pitch that works for your novel. And even if you do have a pitch that works, you may still not garner interest from an agent or editor for unknown reasons. (They’re looking for someone specific, they didn’t check all the pitches, etc.)
So before I go into what I THINK works and what doesn’t, here’s what worked for me.
Try 1: No Favorites
Azrael is half human, half angel, and forced into a pact with a demon. Who better to prove flaws make us stronger?
Why I don’t think it worked:
– There’s no interesting twist that sums up why this novel would be interesting. What kind of flaws? Who becomes stronger? And while it’s clear who the main character is, it’s not clear what’s the conflict and goal of the story.
Try 2: No Favorites
The only way left to go from Heaven is down… Azrael, a 16-year-old fallen angel girl will find the strength in her flaws to survive:YA
Why I don’t think it worked: While the logline is good, it’s too generic and again doesn’t grab interest with the bland “strength in flaws in order to survive” idea.
Try 3: Favorite!
What do Angels, a teen girl, and magical tattoos have in common? A life lesson that perfection comes with flaws. Wings not included.
Why I think it worked: The novel has some interesting and unique topics, so why not list them out? That’s what I did. And instead of focusing on the theme, I focused on being interesting. “Wings not included” stands out and draws the reader in wondering what that could mean. It’s by far the most interesting out of the three I’ve tried.
In a Twitter Pitch contest, you have to instantly attract the person reading your tweet. If it’s confusing, vague or uninteresting you aren’t going to have a chance at a favorite. You need to do your best to find what is unique in your novel that can stand out from others. If you say, “Jane must rescue her brother against all odds” I don’t think that’s going to win a tweet. An agent wants to understand the feel of your novel and what’s special about it. Be specific, be interesting, and be fun.
Tip 4: Be prepared! What do I do if someone favorites my Tweet?
If you’re like me, when you do get a favorite you’re imagining some other aspiring author liked your pitch and favorited it, even though that’s considered poor etiquette. Check the person who sent you a favorite and if they’re part of an agency, even if it seems like someone that wasn’t tweeting about the event.
Usually the event you’ve joined will have an originating Tweet which provides a link of how to submit if you win a favorite. Search the #Pitch that you entered under “Top Tweets” and you should find it. This is the best way to make sure you aren’t finding some scam link on google. Double and triple check your sources!
Make sure to follow the directions. It’s a query like any other and you need to follow the rules. It would be a shame to get this far and be disqualified from review based on deviating from the submission standards.
In your query, be sure to include your Twitter handle so the agent can verify the favorited pitch. It’s your chance to stand out from other queries with a statement of, Look, you were interested in my novel! Here’s more about it.
Feel free to leave comments of your Twitter pitches that got a favorite! I’d love to hear some. And if you don’t have any yet, I hope this post will help you write your winner. Be sure to come back and let us know the results!