Brenda Drake’s next #pitmad event is coming up on Thursday from 8AM- 8PM EST. Never participated before? Well, first things first– read the link above. Done that? Okay. Double check that you meet all of the key qualifications:
- Is your manuscript completed?
When you get a request for that awesome project that you’re only 1/3 done with, you’re going to be sad about that bridge you just torched because you couldn’t hold off for a few months.
Being completed also means having the elements of your submission ready, too, not just your book. Make sure your query letter is complete, and it’s a good idea to draft a solid, full synopsis as well.
- Is your manuscript polished?
If no one else has read your words and your manuscript is as virgin as untrodden grass, hold off this round. Instead, find a good beta reader (who reads and gives an overall impression of ‘this works’/’this doesn’t work’) or critique partner (who gives the real, gritty feedback and who you should make cookies for at least once a month).
- Is your manuscript unpublished?
That means no self-published books. Great as they are, self-pubs are already out there in the world, in the hands of readers (hopefully). They aren’t going to have much appeal to most agents/publishers as far as acquiring a new project/client goes (not that they don’t have their benefits!)
Good manners (and professionalism) also dictates that if you’ve got an exclusive with an agent right now in the cold-query game, don’t join in on pitch contests.
So, you’ve got your manuscript that fits all three criteria… what next? Well, assemble your pitches. You’ve only got 140 characters to grab the attention of an agent or publisher, so what do you include?
Stakes. Character. Hook. Don’t waste words on what makes your book like every other book of your genre. And, just like in your query letter, your voice needs to connect in the pitch, too. Remove cliches and “verdant verbage”. If you read your pitches out loud, do they sound awkward? If so, they just might be.
Make sure to save room in your pitches to include the hashtag #pitmad (or else you’re not technically participating) and a hashtag of your genre (a full list is on Brenda’s post, but #A for adult, #MG for middle-grade, etc.)
Create THREE unique pitches for each project you’re pitching (only three allowed!) and prepare to post them throughout the day or schedule your tweets ahead of time so that they appear at different times. If you get a favorite, make sure to follow the agent/publisher’s submission instructions. Also, don’t tweet at agents. If you’re interested in querying them, you can do that through traditional querying methods.
But I’m not pitching at #pitmad, so why should I care?
Already agented? Not ready to query yet? #Pitmad is still a great day to watch the feed and see what’s being written right now. Remember not to favorite posts that you like since that’s how agents and editors are expressing their interest. If you see a book that you can’t wait to read some day, comment on the post and let the writer know that or quote/retweet it with #pitmad to spread its goodness. Writing can be a lonely business, and querying, even more so!
Update as of 12/16: If you don’t have luck with #pitmad, you’re not alone. I quite a few requests from #pitmad, but that wasn’t how I found my agent. Cold querying works well, too!
Also, #fakepitmad is a fun feed to watch, so if you’ve got a hilarious pitch for a novel that does not need to exist, you can post it there and join the fun.
Want another pair of eyes on your pitches before Thursday? Follow my blog and DM me on Twitter. I’d be happy to take a look!