Manuscript now complete, I decided to participate in a pitch war on Twitter. It’s been on my radar since August, and I’ve been steadily working toward it for months. This particular pitch party is called #PitDark. This event is specifically geared toward dark literature: horror, dark fantasy, suspense. All the things that go bump in the night. In other words, everything I love.
The Lost Daughter (and its series, The Necromanteon) definitely falls into this category. Although the story is mythology-based and contains romance and epic fantasy, there are some seriously scary scenes and visuals in my book. Perfect!
What’s a pitch war/pitch party? It’s where writers with finished manuscripts post a tweet about their book, hoping to catch an agent’s interest. So, it’s not really a war, per se. We’re not fighting it out and getting all bloody. But you are in the Twitter arena fighting for the attention of an agent with hundreds of other writers with a starvation allotment of 280 characters.
The event was worthwhile, and I learned a lot of things I’d like to share:
I am definitely ready to pitch this book.
I came up with 5-6 solid pitch variations that captured the main premise of my 130K word book in under 280 characters. This surprised me! A pitch war will force you to edit down to the marrow of the bone. If you can still get an agent’s attention with a pitch that short, you’ve got something working for you.
Try not to get discouraged if you don’t get any Favorites from agents.
There are thousands of people pitching all day long. You can and will get missed, even if you are tweeting every hour.
There are waaaaay more agents not participating than participating. Just because you don’t get tapped by an agent, query anyway. There are so many agents you can query.
If you don’t get tapped by an agent on the day of, understand that not all of the agents look at the pitch war on the day of the event. Why? Because it is a hashtag-trending, scrolling madhouse of constantly updating feeds. It’s a wonder they agree to participate at all! You may get taps the next day or anytime the following week as they have a chance to go back and look at the thread once it’s a little more sedate.
Keep in mind, your Tweet is not what you’re selling. You’re selling you. You’re selling your skills as a writer and your story. If you have a good story and you can write well, you are naturally going to do better when you go to full query mode because the agents will have a chance to see what you really bring to the table — and 280 characters of stripped-down headline isn’t the best showcase of your talent. A pitch war is like a lottery you have a little control over. It’s still a lot of luck to get the right person seeing your stuff.
Querying, no matter the format, is stressful, so get used to it.
I was a wreck on #PitDark day. I had so many people liking my posts, and nearly all of them were not agents. My poor heart! The best thing you can do is remember that the book didn’t get written overnight and finding representation isn’t going to happen like that either. In the words of the Beatles, let it be.
You have nothing to lose from trying and everything to gain.
In other words, do it. If you pitch and no one is interested, you are, literally, no worse off than you were before you started! Is that 280 character tweet representative of all the work you put into your book? No, it’s not. It’s a pithy byline, not a query letter. So, if you don’t get any agents interested, you still have your query list, remember? Putting all your eggs in the pitch war basket isn’t a good strategy. Querying is always the best strategy — pitch wars are just a different way to go about the query process. Participate — you have nothing to lose.
I fear for the future of fiction books for adults.
I scrolled the #PitDark Tweets for a good hour after the event. Nearly all the ones picked by agents were Young Adult and Middle Grade books. I only saw a couple of Adult fiction books tapped by agents. I’m definitely an adult fiction writer. I’m not saying I would never branch out into younger age groups, but I like writing for adults. I’m hoping that fantasy and science fiction are not dead among the 25+ years of age crowd. It would be sad if Netflix has rotted our brains to the point no one wants to read anymore.
My first time at the pitch wars went pretty well, I think. My daughter and I made an excellent trailer to go with my project, and I attached it to my pitches. I have no idea if anyone actually watched it, but it was there, in case they wanted to. I wanted to show them all the tools I’m bringing to the table as an author. I think that’s important.
GOOD NEWS! I ended up with agents at two NYC literary agencies wanting to see my book! In the publishing world and the realm of pitch wars, that’s the equivalent of putting on the One Ring and getting the Eye of Mordor’s attention. More may come through over the weekend as agents have a chance to go back through and look at the pitches. I’m working on researching this weekend and getting those queries ready to send off. I’ll also be sending to the agents topping my personal query list — because those are the ones I picked for myself, and querying is querying.
If nothing comes of my queries between now and December, I will probably participate in #PitMad. It’ll be a little harder to get attention, I think, because the genre specifics are much more broad. Which means more authors will be tossing their babies from the nest and seeing if they’ll fly. As I said above, nothing to lose, everything to gain.
More updates soon as I go through the query process. But for now, I’m off to a good start!