Last week I popped my Twitter party cherry. On Thursday, September 10, I participated in #PitMad. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, it’s a Twitter pitch party where writers tweet pitches for their polished and unpublished manuscripts. If an agent or editor likes your pitch and wants to see a query, they favorite your tweet. The catch: pitches are restricted 140 characters.
This is not an easy feat. Pitching your story in one short paragraph is incredibly difficult. Doing it in one sentence is grueling. But 140 characters means describing your story in about 25 words or less.
Yeah, that’s hard to do! But I wanted to take part. And I’m a writer, goshdarnit! I can concisely describe the stories I’ve worked on for months in bite-sized blurbs. No problem. Gulp.
I decided to pitch two polished stories during #PitMad and I’d already written one-sentence and one-paragraph pitches for both. I edited them down to 140 characters (leaving room for the hashtags #PitMad and #PB) and created three variations for each manuscript. A lot of writers participate in this event, so it’s advised to post multiple times during the party. So I planned to tweet about every hour. Go get ’em, tiger!
I woke up and posted my first tweet. I got three retweets! Not by agents or editors, but by fellow PidMaders. This was awesome because more people would see my pitches. And retweets from writers was a small slice of validation.
I sent out another tweet or two. No favorites yet. And then I noticed that #PitMad was trending, first at 15K, then 18K, then 22K. By the end of the day, over 44K tweets were posted for the party. I was still hopeful, but as the day went on I realized the likelihood of my tweets being seen among the other thousands was decreasing fast.
So I posted at odd times and spiced up my pitches. But ultimately I only got retweets from other writers. The party ended with no favorites for me. And that’s ok.
When I committed to the event, I promised myself it was purely for the experience and the fun of it. The optimist in me knew it was possible to get a favorite from an agent, but my more realistic side realized I was one of many in a large 140-character slush pile competing for the attention of a small pool of people.
I haven’t yet queried agents for any of my PB manuscripts. I plan to do that within the next month or two after a pending writing event and manuscript critique with an editor. The query process is much different (and less fun) than the #PitMad party, but this event taught me some valuable pitching lessons:
- Every word counts. Weigh each one.
- Be concise and get to the point.
- Entice the reader without being over the top.
- Be patient. Agents and editors are busy people.
- Don’t let a rejection dampen your spirit. Learn from the experience and keep trying.
I’m so glad that I participated in #PitMad. It was a fun and valuable experience that I’ll carry with me when pitching my stories in the very near future.