Every so often twitter fills up with people pitching their novels in twitter pitch contests. I watch these with interest and sometimes take part. There are a whole raft of contests that run, the main one being #PitMAD but others like #SFFPit and #DivPit crop up at regular intervals.
Over the course of following several of these contests I have made a few observations which I thought I would share with you on the pros and cons of these types of event.
1. Distilling the essence of your story into a single tweet is a really good exercise. It makes you think about what your novel is really about and what makes it unique.
2. Looking at the pitches that get a lot of love can help your develop your own pitch, and it’s useful to be able to pitch your book in a single sentence. You never know when that might come in handy.
3. You get a sense of what is popular, both within the US market and in what people are writing. This can fluctuate a lot as the market changes but seeing what’s popular gives an idea of what’s hot right now.
4. I’d never really thought about comparison titles before, but again, it’s a good thing to think about. Where does your book fit with the market? Where do you see it on the bookstore shelves?
5. There’s a lot of camaraderie among participating authors, retweeting the pitches that catch their eye. If you want to connect with other authors on twitter this is a good opportunity.
6. Going to an agent’s profile and looking at what sort of pitches they’ve liked gives you a good idea of what they are looking for. If they’re liking stuff similar to yours it’s probably worth submitting to them, even if they haven’t liked your particular pitch – they could quite simply have missed it in all the noise.
1. The feed is public and there’s nothing to stop people picking up on that brilliant idea you just tweeted and going away and doing their own thing with it, so if this is something that worries you, best not to pitch yourself.
2. Not all agents and publishers are made the same and there are definitely some dodgy ones that follow these contests. So if you do get a like from someone you haven’t heard of spend a little time on research. You’re under no obligation to actually submit if you don’t like the look of them.
3. It’s very US focussed. That doesn’t mean International authors such as myself can’t submit but most of the participating agents and publishers are American so they’ll be looking for work that fits the US market.
4. The feed is incredibly busy so don’t overthink it if you don’t get any love. Concentrate on the positives you can take away.