Monday, March 27, 2017

Getting the Most out of a Twitter Pitch Event

Recently the IWSG announced our first Twitter pitch event on July 27 - #IWSGPit. You can read all the details HERE.

Just what is a Twitter pitch party?

On a designated day, writers are to compose a story pitch in less than 140 characters and Tweet it with the appropriate hashtags. Publishers and agents scan the feed for pitches that catch their attention and pressing the “heart” button. That indicates they want a query from you.

Each Twitter pitch event has its own set of rules and hashtags:
  • How often a pitch may be posted
  • Hashtags for the event and for specific genres
  • How writers can show one another support

Often participating publishers and agents will Tweet instructions for submitting manuscripts that have received a “heart” from them. Sometimes they will simply direct people to their submission guidelines.

A recent Twitter pitch event garnered over 1000 Tweets an hour. That’s a lot of pitches! How does one stand out? What can writers do to make the best impression possible and follow all the proper steps?

Here are some tips for getting the most out of the experience:

  • Compose a solid pitch. It’s difficult to sum up an entire story in one line, but not impossible. Loglines have to be basic. (Think of the taglines from movies.) What’s the key plot element? Who is the main character? Aim for 120 characters to allow room for the hashtags.

  • Add some personality to your pitch. A little humor or quirkiness does stand out.

  • Test your pitch on other writers first.

  • Be sure your story fits the event. Some Twitter pitches are gear towards specific genres.

  • Use the proper hashtags. You’ll want to use the event’s hashtag AND a genre hashtag. It also helps to add the age hashtag. (Examples - #F = fantasy, #PR = Paranormal Romance, #A = adult, #YA = young adult.)

  • Consider your genre/age options. During most pitch events, #YA is the most popular age/genre. But we know that YA does not comprise half of the books published every year. Think outside the box and pitch a genre/age that will stand out rather than blend in.

  • Don’t pitch more often than allowed or you will get banned. In addition, only publishers and agents are to “heart” pitches.

  • If your pitch receives a “heart,” go to that publisher/agent’s site and review the submission guidelines. Be sure to mention the pitch event in your query. But just because you were invited to submit doesn’t mean you can ignore their submission requirements - send everything they request and ONLY what they request. No need to shoot yourself in the foot when you just got it in the door.

  • Be sure to research that publisher/agent BEFORE you send your query. Don’t waste that person’s time. The publisher/agent won’t remember that you didn’t send a “hearted” query, but he or she will remember that you sent one and then later withdrew it.

  • Once the event ends, analyze your results. If you received no “hearts” it might be time to adjust your pitch. Of course, with thousands of pitches filling the feed, it’s also possible it got lost in the shuffle. Adjust and try again at the next event.

Many authors have found homes for their books through Twitter pitches. It’s a great way to test the waters and get the attention of a publisher or agent. Don’t rely on them solely though - you still need to be querying with a proper query letter. Just give it a try and have fun.

Various Twitter pitch events:


Have you ever participated in a Twitter pitch event?

32 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

As I don't belong to Twitter I read this with interest. Perhaps I should join after the A to Z.

Yvonne.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It's good that these events have rules to really keep things organized and controlled. I've heard they can be a great way for authors to get their work discovered.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like a great opportunity for writers. Awesome that the IWSG is doing this.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

I've done a couple twitter pitches and they are really fun. I love reading everyone elses pitch. I found some I'd love to read--and I'm made several new internet buddies.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

never participated but we'll be ready for our own pitch this summer!

Bish Denham said...

I participated in one twitter pitch... it's telling the story 140 characters that's hard, hard, hard.

Christine Rains said...

I've never participated in a Twitter event like that. It's a tremendous opportunity and my fingers are crossed for all the writers who will be participating.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I haven't taken part in one yet, but one of my friends received a request from PitMad last week.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Elizabeth, after watching #pitmad last week, I'd say it's free-for-all enough without those rules.

Holly, and I saw one of your pitches recently.

Bish, and a lot of writers can't do it.

Susan, that's good, especially considering how many participated.

Ann Bennett said...

The twitter pitch fest sounds like a fun. It would be disappointing to be chosen by no one. But it would also be a non threatening start for someone new. For those with hearts it would eliminate querying those not interested.

Juneta Key said...

Very interesting event.
' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Tyrean Martinson said...

Diane,
I always appreciate your detailed tips! Thank you. I've never taken part in a Twitter pitch event, but I hope to do so this year.

Chrys Fey said...

This well help members a lot. Great work!

Sandra Cox said...

This is going to be such a great event.
And the guidelines set up are very helpful, very clear and well stated.

J E Oneil said...

I definitely need to work on my pitch skills because I totally stink. Hopefully sometime I'll have a book to actually use them for :P

Spacer Guy said...

I created a list once America is Great..... your pointers will lead the way...

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't think I've done a Twitter pitch contest yet. If my story is ready, I'll give it a go this time!

Dean K Miller said...

I dropped twitter about a month ago. Too many things I wasn't doing right/well, and that was on of them. This sounds like an interesting event. I do have an account set up for my next project, but don't know if we'l be ready by then....but cool idea!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

This is a wonderful writers' aid! I shall tweet it to my 30,000 – – yes! Now 30,000 – – Twitter followers I am pleased to give them this information.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

This looks like a good opportunity. Thanks, Diane. Will keep it in mind for the future. I'm not quite ready.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane - it's great you've set things straight for us ... and everyone's comments imply it's a useful tool to participate in ... and certainly your guidelines help us ...

The IWSG event seems to be garnering a range of participants -wonderful idea ... cheers Hilary

Erika Beebe said...

Thank you Diane. What a great way to connect with professionals and make dreams come true. One liners are definitely something I need to work on. I appreciate the information.

Rhonda Albom said...

I had not heard of a Twitter Pitch before. What a fabulous idea.

Stephen Tremp said...

I've never heard of such an event until I read about this particular event. I have some new stuff I'm working on and will put together some pitches and give it a try.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

L. Diane Wolfe, I put this page in the next issue of my #SharingwithWriters newsletter as a tip because it is full of so many good ideas as well as an introduction to a way to pitch not familiar to many authors! Like @Rhonda Albom, who commented above! (-:

Your folks can subscribe to #SharingwithWriters to get great tips, articles and interactive marketing opportunities by going to http://HowToDoItFrugally.com. There is a subscription form in the top right corner of most any page on the site. I hope you will also check out the extensive Writer Resources section on that site--the landing page for it links to a tab in the header. Hugs, as always!

Pat Hatt said...

Great tips indeed. I can see many getting rather excited and ignoring submission guidelines when they send. Have to remember the rules, at least in this case.

Nick Wilford said...

I appreciate the tips given here. I'm giving serious thought to participating in the IWSG party and thanks for the hashtags for the other events. One question: is it OK to publish a pitch on your blog before the event when seeking advice? Or is it preferred to keep it low-key until the day itself?

emaginette said...

Yes and I was offered a contract. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Elsie Amata said...

Fingers crossed that I'm in a place to do this for next year. I had never heard about this until you spoke about it last time. Amazing how people are found on Twitter!

LD Masterson said...

I participated in #PitMad this month. It was my first Twitter event. I only receive one heart and the publisher wasn't one I'd want to go with. But I'm going to try again.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I think this is a wonderful idea, Diane. You've helped me understand what it is. I'll contact all of my writer friends.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I've participated in a few, and always had a good response. It's an exciting event. It was a bummer when #PitMad changed the rules so authors could no longer retweet each other, though. The interaction and support of the authors was one of the best parts!