By: Sarah Dussome
Nov. 30, 2016
I think many of us agree that it’s exciting when we receive “likes” on Twitter. That little swell of happiness we get when our phone whistles or we see the tiny heart notification at the top of our screen signals that someone in the great expanse of the Twitter universe resonates with something we’ve shared. Speaking as a writer, Twitter has proved to be an invaluable tool for not only promoting my manuscript but supporting other aspiring authors via pitch contests. Over the last few years, writers have had several opportunities to Tweet 140-character pitches succinctly describing their completed, unpublished manuscripts, in turn receiving “likes” from literary agents and editors. If a writer receives a “like”, that means the corresponding agent or editor is interested in reading more of the manuscript and wishes for the writer to send a submission package in accordance with the guidelines on their individual Twitter pages.
Various pitch parties take place several times throughout the year; while some of them are open to manuscripts in every genre, subgenre, and age category, some are specifically tailored to manuscripts belonging to certain genres and age groups. Each contest has a mandatory hashtag that writers must use in order for their pitch(es) to be seen (ex. #PitMad, #KidPit, #SFFPit); it is also recommended that writers use hashtags corresponding with their manuscript’s genre (ex. #SF, #H, HF) along with hashtags indicating the manuscript’s target audience (ex. #YA, #A, #MG). Depending on the guidelines of the pitch party, writers are allowed to Tweet only a certain number of times per hour so as not to bombard the feed with their pitches and to provide an equal opportunity for as many pitches to be viewed as possible over the course of the contest day.
While it’s impossible for every agent to read every pitch, Twitter parties are excellent opportunities for writers to test the strength of their elevator pitches and to cheer on other aspiring writers. The individuals who host these events often have success stories on their personal blogs, celebrating with newly signed writers and presenting Twitter pitch parties as excellent opportunities to find an agent or publisher who connects with your manuscript. Another advantage of these parties is that agents have the ability to learn about your work very quickly (as opposed to waiting weeks or months to be seen via the slush pile). I love that social media provides writers with the opportunity to share their pitches with infinite numbers of people, and, while it is a bit daunting to participate, it’s so wonderful to receive notifications from industry professionals who want to consider your work!
P.S., if any of you are interested, here’s a link about #PitMad, which is inarguably the most popular pitch party of them all (and the next one is tomorrow, December 1):