With popular threads; such as, #MSWL(a literary agents’ wish lists) and #PitMad (a book pitching event), Twitter is the best source of up-to-the-second information on what literary agents and editors are seeking.
For twelve hours on Thursday, September 12th, Twitter exploded with book pitches during #PitMad. The event, organized by the amazing BrendaDrake, is an extraordinary opportunity for writers of all genres to pitch their books to agents and editors, who pop by the thread throughout the day in search of pitches that capture their literary hearts.
If an agent favorites your pitch, once you complete your happy dance and stop hyperventilating, you get to send them a partial of your manuscript.
It is a fabulous and fun event. And regardless of whether or not your pitch is favorited by an agent/editor, you can learn a great deal from the experience. Reading through the thousands of pitches gives you insight into what constitutes a tight pitch and what other writers are querying agents/editors. But before you can join the fun, you have to craft a strong Twitter Pitch.
Now if you thought summarizing your story in a 1-page synopsis was terrifying, brace yourself for the 140-character beast that is the Twitter Pitch.
Actually, allow me to correct that last statement, once you subtract the mandatory 7 character hash tag and 3-4 character genre abbreviation, you will have 130 characters in which to pitch your story. So buckle up, fellow writers, this could be a bumpy ride. But I promise, the process of perfecting your pitch will strengthen you story, writing and confidence, so rev up your creativity engines and let's hit the road.
In order to help smooth out the journey a bit for you, I’ve created some Twitter Pitch Planner sheets that note some of the steps I took when creating pitches for my book FINDING OBENO.
The following sheets I created for an upcoming writer's group meeting. We will not have access to computers at the meeting, so we needed hardcopy forms to practice Twitter pitches. I did not use these to create my pitches. I copied and pasted my pitches from a Word document into the tweet box on Twitter to see if they fit.
Below is an example of one of my pitches plugged into the chart.
Feel free to use, alter, crumple up in frustration or burn any of the forms. But if you think of anything I missed or should revise, please let me know. Or if you create cool origami from them, take a picture and send it my way.
Once you've crafted a pitch you're proud of there is one more step: repeat the process.
When entering a pitch event like PitMad, you want a minimum of 3-4 strong pitches. This is important as different agents respond to different pitches. Besides, being able to write a variety of strong pitches for your book shows your versatility as a writer.
Mix up your pitches, so that most of the key components of your story are covered in them collectively. Here are the six pitches I used during #PitMad.
1. Based on a true story, child soldier Ricky escapes Kony’s LRA, but must face his captor & past in a fight for his life & future. YAC #pitmad
2. In Uganda death stalks children w/guns & machetes, but when Ricky escapes the LRA, he fights to save them w/ 1 weapon: his story YAC #PitMad
3. A LONG WALK TO WATER meets Kony’s LRA. Based on the true story of a child soldier fighting for his freedom & future in N Uganda. YAC #PitMad
4. As a child soldier Ricky faces death w/ a gun and machete, but when he escapes, he faces a new challenge: rebuilding his life. YA- C #PitMad
5. Joseph Kony arms children w/guns & machetes. After escaping the LRA, Ricky fights his former captor armed w/1 weapon: his story. YA-C #PitMad
6. In Uganda Obeno is the cloth moms use to carry babies. To child soldier Ricky it is code for home & his vow to someday return YAC #PitMad
Above all, remember a Twitter Pitch is not a do-or-die situation. If a solid Twitter pitch remains elusive, there are other ways, like queries and conferences, to reach out to agents/editors with your idea. In the end, a strong pitch may grab someone's attention, but only strong writing will hold it. So try to have fun with your pitch. Approach it like a puzzle. Play with the words. Become better acquainted with your story. And as always, have chocolate on hand. Lots and lots of chocolate!
Good Luck & if you'd like to post your pitch below. I'd be happy to take a look and offer feedback.