10 Tips for Pitching on Twitter

Every time a pitch party happens on Twitter, whether I’m participating or not, I scroll through the feed. I love reading and learning from the amazing pitches!

I also see writers making rookie pitch party mistakes. Since my Pitch Party list is the most popular page on my website, I thought it would be a good idea to write a short guide for how to pitch on Twitter.

NOTE: I’ve used the word “publisher” in place of “editor” in this post for clarity only. Typically, the job title of the person from the publishing house reading a tweet will be Editor.

10 PITCH PARTY PARTICIPATION TIPS:

01. RULES. Every pitch party is different. Seek out the relevant website and/or Twitter account for the pitch party you want to participate in and read the rules carefully. Follow them exactly.

02. TIMING. While you’re reading the rules, take special note of the time the pitch party begins and ends, and to which time zone it refers. Too often I see pitches an hour early or on a different date entirely. Most agents and editors only look at posts that fall within the allotted time frame.

03. HASHTAGS. Include the pitch party’s hashtag (with the correct spelling) and add any additional hashtags that are relevant. Again, look at the pitch party rules because they usually provide a list of additional hashtags you can (and perhaps should) use.

04. PERSPECTIVE. Write your pitch from your own perspective, not your character’s. You are selling your book like you would on the back cover, and in traditional publishing these are almost always written from an outsider’s point of view.

05. COMPS. Include the title(s) of one or two recently published books to give the agent or publisher a sense of the genre, style, and/or tone of your book. Do not phrase your comp as “the next [blockbuster title here]”. Write comp titles in title case and your manuscript title in all caps to make it stand out.

06. STAKES. You only have 280 characters, and several of those are devoted to details like hashtags and comps. Use the rest to make sure your stakes are clear. Stakes are what the character might lose if they fail. This is the crux of the conflict in your story. World building and interesting character details alone don’t make a story; you need conflict!

07. EDITING. Examine every word in your pitch and decide if you really need it. You only have a small amount of space to say a lot, so it’s okay to take a few grammatical shortcuts so long as your pitch flows and is clear. The bonus here is that if you prove yourself to be a great editor, agents and publishers are more likely to want to work with you.

08. INTEGRITY. Don’t spam the feed and don’t try to use the hashtag for anything other than its intended purpose. If you abuse the hashtag, you will get blocked by agents and publishers, which means that even if you learn your lesson and want to participate in future pitch parties, they still won’t see your posts. They won’t even know they’re missing them.

09. PATIENCE. Some agents and publishers don’t start reviewing the feed until later in the day. Some don’t get to it until the day after. Keep your pitch up for a few days at least. If you get a request, link to the tweet in your submission; it could be weeks before they review your submission and they’ll appreciate the reminder.

10. PERSISTENCE. You may not get a request your first time out. Don’t dismay! You may just need to tighten your pitching game a little. Maybe your comps weren’t a good match. Maybe you spelled the hashtag wrong. Maybe you were a little too wordy. Learn by reading other people pitches and seeing which ones got a lot of requests. Read guides like this on how to write a great pitch so that next time you’re more likely to get a request.

REMEMBER: If you never get a pitch party request in your entire life, it doesn’t mean your story isn’t worthy. There are dozens of reasons why you might not have gotten a request and many of them have nothing to do with you or your story. You can always submit through the normal querying process. That’s where the majority of traditional publishing deals come from.

TwitterLit Advice Issue 3: What You Shouldn’t Put in Your Query

Victoria Loder, Agent with The Rights Factory recently started a new series of tweets called Things Not to Include in Your Query. It’s pretty informative and funny, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, please do.

That got me thinking: there must be a lot of #TwitterLit advice from agents, publishers, and the like about what things you shouldn’t put in your query.

There doesn’t seem to be a single popular hashtag that specifically addresses query dont’s. #querynonos and #querynono have both been used in the past. You can also search #querytip, #subtip, and #pubtip for general do’s and dont’s about querying.

Let’s get down to it. The list of what you shouldn’t put in your query is virtually endless, but here are the most common mistakes writers seem to be making:

 

Generalized openings:

 

Ignoring submission guidelines:

 

Bashing yourself or other writers, genres, agents, etc.

 

Pitching more than one book in a single query:

 

Lying

 

Rhetorical questions:

 

Missing Stakes:

List of Twitter pitch parties moved and updated!

The latest version of the popular Twitter pitch parties list has been posted. I’ve also moved it to a permanent page on my site (it was previously a post). I did this because posts embed the date in the url, which made the list seem out of date, when in fact I was continually updating it. You can now find the list here: www.jessicatrudel.com/list-of-pitch-parties-on-twitter-for-writers/. As always, the list of upcoming pitch parties will be shared in my pinned post on Twitter for you to retweet and share with your writer friends. Pop over and visit me on Twitter to retweet. .

 

TwitterLit Advice Issue 2: Prologues

To prologue or not prologue, that is the question.

 

Agents and editors don’t hate prologues, they hate BAD prologues. It’s hard to write a good prologue, one that doesn’t reveal too much, or feel like a bait and switch.

 

 

 

Ask yourself: is the prologue is really necessary? Too many potential good books are bogged down with prologues that take away from the excitement of the first chapter.

 

 

 

Sometimes, the prologue contains good information that simply belongs elsewhere.

 

If you are going to include a prologue, make sure it contains important plot information, stakes, and/or tension.

 

If you do have a prologue (hopefully a well written, necessary one), should you query with it?

 

Agents and editors all have their own preferences, but the majority seem to agree that a prologue should not be sent as a sample, but saved until later.

 

So, should you tighten/cut your prologue? Many writers report good results from cutting their prologue or, at least, keeping it short.

 

TwitterLit Advice Issue 1: Writing a Synopsis

If you’re a writer, #TwitterLit is the place to be! You can connect with authors, readers, agents, editors, and publishers, get all kinds of writing / editing / querying advice, participate in Twitter pitch parties, win books, critiques, and mentorships, and so much more.

If you’re not on Twitter, get on it. If you can’t, I’ll do my best to keep you in the loop with this #TwitterLit Advice series.

In each issue, I will focus on a specific aspect of writing, and share the best advice I can find from agents, editors, publishers, and published authors on Twitter. I’ll occasionally share advice from readers and unpublished authors when relevant to the topic.

Today, I’m going to to share Twitter advice about writing a synopsis. You don’t have to look far on Twitter to find writers struggling to write a synopsis:

 
About that last tweet: when we talk about a synopsis, we’re not talking about the 100 or so word blurb that goes in your query letter:

 
The query and the synopsis have different forms and functions:

 
A synopsis lays out the main plot points of your entire book, including how it ends:

 
Agents and editors need a synopsis to do their job. It’s a tool they use throughout the publishing process:

 
Your synopsis should be thorough, but focused:

 
Be concise, but be specific in your synopsis:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

 
Some agents will want you to send a synopsis even if they haven’t specifically asked for it, while others say only send it if they have.

 
Yes, sometimes #TwitterLit gives conflicting advice. What isn’t unclear: you should write a synopsis before you start querying, and you should always follow submission guidelines:

 
And never include a synopsis in place of a query:

 
Finally, a few miscellaneous synopsis writing tips: