Tuesday, March 25, 2014

#PitMad hints

This post was helpful to some earlier this year, so I'm revisiting my #PitMad advice!

Unagented and/or unpublished writers looking for agents and small publishers can jump on the #PitMad tag on Twitter and pitch your book today!

Full rules/explanations on Brenda Drake's blog.

So . . . would you like some advice on pitching?  Here we go!

First off, I have only participated in ONE Twitter contest as an author trying to get signed, and I did get a request (though the agent did not ultimately offer on my book). What I learned from the experience and from watching the others who got requests is that trying to sum up the whole story in one tweet does not work. Don't give them plot summary!

The purpose of the tweet is to get agents and publishers interested enough to ask for more. You can do this by shocking them, intriguing them, or--best of all--making them laugh.

I recommend against being vague or generic. Focus on what's really different or unusual about your book. 


He may be her dream guy, but he's NOT what he seems!


Dev can manipulate Kay's dreams, and now she believes he's someone he's not. Will their meeting be a dream come true or a nightmare?

I recommend against naming all the elements your book contains in a list format. It just makes us go "okay, so it has this stuff in it, but I don't connect." Give us one unusual element to focus on.


Lady cop faces car chases, shootouts, and love triangles in a high-speed crime drama.


Jess's cop ex-lover has decided she needs to die. Too bad her police training didn't cover how to survive a shootout while running in heels.

I recommend connecting us to something personal about your character rather than just reducing them to a name, age, or profession.


Cameraman Nick wants to date rising celebrity Summer, but doesn't know how to approach their relationship.


Summer's incredible superpowers have made her famous, but Nick craves a down-to-earth romance with the girl who can fly. 

I recommend against pitching devoid of voice. Give us some funny or sarcastic flavor that matches your book if at all possible, and don't worry if we don't have the context to understand; just make us curious enough to ask!


Cassie has two personalities. They both want different things. She goes on a quest to figure out who to date and who she is.


Can't a girl and her other self have a good old-fashioned reality-crossing romance anymore? 

Sometimes it's incredibly hard to figure out what agents and publishers will nibble on, of course, and they all like different things for different reasons. But focus on a clincher, a one-liner, a sentence that makes you blink and think "Wait, what?" You only need to make them ask for more. Then you get to show them your query. Remember that, and happy pitching!  

(For the record, the first two pitches in these examples are things I made up for hypothetical books, so if you want to read them . . . sorry, they're not real. The last two examples are for books I actually wrote. And the final one is a Twitter pitch that got me a request.)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for providing such concrete examples. It really drives the point home.