Thursday, March 7, 2019

Dear O'Abby: Should I Enter Twitter Pitch Contests?

Dear O'Abby,

There's this thing called #PitMad happening on Twitter this week.  I don't know if you've heard of it, but it's a thing where you tweet a pitch for your book and agents and publisher request the things they like the look of.

Are these kinds of contests a good idea?  The word limit on Twitter is so small, I can't quite figure out how an agent or publisher can figure out what's worth asking for.

Do you have any thoughts about this?

X Twitchy

Dear Twitchy,

I actually got my agent through a Twitter pitch contest, so I'm evidence that they work, at least sometimes.

Like any contest, these Twitter pitch parties are another way to get your project seen.  They are also a really good way to distill your story down into a really tight, punchy longline that will catch attention.  If you can get people re-tweeting and favoriting your pitch tweet, chances are you've managed to write a compelling pitch.

The key is to just focus on the main details of your story and make them unique and interesting.  For example, here's the pitch that got me my agent (and is for my recently published novel, The Sidewalk's Regrets):

When Sacha's sheltered life entwines with sexy rocker Dylan's, she gives him her cutting-edge sound; he gives her his drug habit. #PitMad #YA

Or this one, for a project I've been re-working recently after several agents requested it and gave me feedback on why they didn't think it worked:

A trans-boy and a pregnant stranger struggle to survive in the woods after an earthquake. But are they as alone as they think? #PitMad #YA

Like any other contest, it pays to do your due diligence on any agent or publisher who favorites your tweet before you send them the material they're requesting.  Just because they like your idea doesn't mean you have to send them anything.  If you don't think they're someone you want to work with, just ignore their interest.

So my advice would be to do it if you want to, but don't get too hung up on whether your pitch gets noticed or not.  You can always query.  That option is always there.  And even if you do get noticed in the pitch contest, you still have to send a query to the agent.

There are no shortcuts, I'm afraid...

X O'Abby




1 comment:

  1. I've found pitch contests very helpful in getting requests. It's also a useful experience to break down your story into one sentence--then you have something to say when your relatives ask you what your book is about.

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