Seasoned writers probably know all about Pitch Madness (also known on Twitter as #PitMad), especially if they write Young Adult books. To be honest, I’d never heard of #PitMad before seeing mention of it early this morning on a writer’s discussion board that I’m on. And, boom, just like that, I decided to jump right in before I could get cold feet and start talking myself out of it.
Now, pitching is not my strong suit. At all. In fact, the idea of approaching an agent at a writers’ conference and pitching them at one of the many pitch sessions that are commonly offered sends cold chills down my spine and makes my palms sweat.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my story and my characters. I delight in making life difficult for them, even killing off a character or two. (Three bite the dust in my current work in progress, in fact.) It’s simply that I find it difficult to condense the whole 100K-word story into just one sentence. But this seemed like a good chance to learn, to explore, to push my boundaries a bit.
Here’s what I learned from my five tweets (four done already, one more to go):
- Make sure you learn the “rules of the road” for something like this. For #PitMad, that means no favoriting tweets — agents only are allowed to do that. If you spot a tweet you like, though, you can show that by retweeting it.
- Make sure you know the hashtag for your own genre/subgenre. I went by the list on one website which, unfortunately, was not complete. So my first two tweets were mislabeled. Live and learn. Know your genre’s labels.
- Plan in advance and draft as many tweets as occur to you. Using something like TweetDeck can simplify this process by letting you schedule tweets in advance. (Note to self: learn more about TweetDeck!)
- Make sure you understand how Twitter counts characters, too. It was frustrating to me to dutifully count out my characters in Excel (using the =LEN(A1) function) and keep the tweets under the magic 140 limit (including the hashtags!) only to have the Twitter character count suddenly go negative with no warning. As in I’m happily typing away with 22 character spaces left, then suddenly I’m in the red by 4 characters. (What’s up with that, anyway? There were no image or URL links in my tweets!)
- Let your imagination run free. Think of multiple angles from which to pitch your book in a tweet. And then use some of those angles as the starting line in your pitch/query letters to really grab an agent’s attention.
So, how were my tweets? Well, they were okay, nothing to knock your socks off. But I learned a lot and gained some confidence. One of them was even retweeted and not even by someone I knew but by a total stranger (yeah!). And I loved reading other tweets, including this tweet from one of my critique group partners, Nancy Burke. I liked it!
Now, let’s all get ready for the next #PitMad coming up on June 4th!