The longer I use Twitter, the more I discover opportunities to pitch novels to agents and editors. Ever heard of #PitMad? #AgentMatch? #MSWL? #AdPit? #PitchWars? #Pit2Pub? Each of these (and probably more I haven’t discovered yet) offers you an nontraditional approach to publishing professionals. And let’s get real–it’s incredibly impressive if you can sandwich your book into 140 characters or less!
Here’s what I’ve got on how to write a good “Twitch:”
According to Ave Jae (YA/NA author and editor) on Writability:
By the end of your Twitter pitch, readers should know a few key things about your novel: Who your MC is. What’s at stake. Essence of plot. Genre. Bonus: What makes your story unique. Bonus: Conveying the voice.
And EM Castellan has this to say on a recipe for a good “Twitch”:
And Dan Koboldt says:
In essence, the Twitter pitch should contain the same basic elements of your query letter: The main character, by name or vivid description. The central conflict around which the plot is based. The stakes of success or failure by the main character. The age level and genre. More on that in a minute. Also, don’t forget to add the appropriate hashtag for your contest, or those monitoring the feed won’t see your pitch.
I’m seeing a bit of a trend. Are you? We have a formula.
[Lead hero/heroine] encounters [conflict] and will lose [the stakes] unless [story adventure/plot/the action lead takes in response to conflict/inciting incident]. [appropriate hashtag]
Clear as mud, right? Let me craft an example from my new novel, Chase.
Lauren’s (lead) mom loses her job (conflict) and will sell Emblem (stakes) unless Lauren can catch a faulty genetic experiment for the reward (story adventure). (hashtag or two)
Whoo-hoo! Nailed that one with 23 characters left for the hashtag.
I think it’s okay to shuffle the formula around, too. You are, after all, the creative writer. For example:
Chase (lead) will die (stakes) unless…
Okay, never mind. Don’t mix up the formula unless you are REALLY inspired. Learn from my trial and error–but that’s why I blog these bloopers.
Depending on the hashtag, pitch rules are going to vary. If you aren’t sure what they are, then ask! People are usually more than happy to give you an answer. And that’s part of good pitch etiquette–be kind, respectful, and network with others.
As far as I’ve seen, Twitter pitch parties are only open to completed, polished manuscripts. And some pitch parties vary on genre age, too. Take the time to do your research and be prepared.
Another good tip from Dan Koboldt: “Don’t spam the feed, or use it to self-promote (your blog or your forthcoming book). Unless you are an agent or editor, don’t favorite anyone’s pitch. Few things are more disappointing than seeing an e-mail with the subject “JohnSmith favorited one of your tweets!” and getting excited before realizing that JohnSmith is just another writer who liked your pitch. Use the Retweet function instead; the meaning of that function is clear. If a limit (usually 1-2 pitches per hour) is specified, please follow it. Otherwise, you’ll clog the feed. People will know, and it will hurt your chances. In the same vein, don’t start early or keep pitching past the contest’s end.”
Aside from all the networking and possible publishing opportunities, the best part is…
Got any Twitter pitches to share?