December ’tis the season of many wonderful things… including SFFPit, PitMad, and PitchMas. I don’t really have much to say about the holidays (Except that I like sugar cookies and fudge. Please send me some), so let’s talk about Twitter pitch parties. I love a good party.
|They just got requests from their dream agents.|
First, pitch parties are a great way to get in touch with new writers. You can see what other people are writing, follow them, and make some new friends. That’s a bonus for everyone, whether your MS is ready to pitch or not. I actually met one of my closest friends and CPs through retweeting each other constantly during a pitch party last year.
But a pitch party is also about giving agents enough information to make them want to read your work. The biggest problem I see with people noting that they didn’t get request is pitches that don’t tell the reader anything about the book. If the agent doesn’t know what you wrote, they don’t want to read it.
For example (I made this up):
Being a dwarf can be so dull. But not if you have superpowers! #PitMad #MG
Sure, it’s a great tagline for a movie, right before the trailer that tells you what the plot is. But just reading that, do you want to read the book? I don’t know. Another thing I saw a lot of (which I also hear agents don’t like) is rhetorical questions.
Duncan is the smallest dwarf in his clan. But when the apocalypse comes, can he save the world? #PitMad #MG
I don’t know. Can he? Sounds like he probably can’t, and I don’t really care. Compare:
Duncan lives a ho-hum dwarf life. When dragons attack, he learns that his ability to fart roses may be key to saving the world. #PitMad #MG
Do you want to read that? Probably not – it’s a plot I made up in three seconds without the benefit of coffee. But do you at least see the difference? Some pitches are just a quote from the book or a sentence in the voice of the character, but that doesn’t tell agents what they want to know. Agents want to know the character, the plot, and the stakes. Yes, that’s a tall order for 140 characters. But it can be done.
Another good tip, for anyone who has been in multiple pitch contests, is to see which tweets were favorited before. Work from those. There’s no need to recreate the wheel entirely. And if you didn’t get any hits before, ask a friend or CP to review them and help you figure out why. It might be because the stakes weren’t clear or the plot didn’t shine through. With that said, the same agents tend to stop in at the parties. If you’ve pitched the same MS at five or more contests, you might not be getting hits because the requesting agents have already seen it.
If you need help with your pitches, I do offer help for $5 with any first page or query critique.
Good luck, everyone! May the favorites be ever in your favor.