Twitter Pitch Parties for Authors: What You Need to Know
So, you’ve finished your manuscript, and now you’re ready to publish. However, getting your work out into bookstores seems to be harder than completing it! If you don’t already have an agent, you can’t get a book deal. In addition, securing an agent requires sending countless query letters, most of which will be ignored. The process can be disheartening at best and soul-crushing at worst. After all, the dream of any writer is to be published, and sending out query letters into the void may leave you feeling like you simply aren’t good enough.
It’s important to know that this isn’t true. Though the publishing world is competitive, it doesn’t mean you should give up; it just means you have to know where to look.
Fortunately, it’s possible to get your foot in the door with agents via events where you can develop personal connections with them. Conferences are the traditional venue for this, but recently, it has become possible to participate from the comfort of your own home courtesy of another option: the Twitter pitch party.
There’s no shortage of pitch parties in the publishing world, so you may have heard of them before. They can be pretty grand events, with participants sometimes numbering in the thousands. If you haven’t heard of a pitch party before, don’t worry—you’re about to learn what you need to know.
Before we get into Twitter pitch parties, we’d like to let you know that if you’re tired of doing all the work of finding an agent by yourself, we can save you time and effort by providing you with a targeted list of the agents and publishers who are most likely to be interested in your manuscript.
What a Twitter pitch party is
Typically, a Twitter pitch party is a 12-hour event set up by an individual, a publisher, or another organization. Writers participate by tweeting their pitches, using the event’s designated hashtag. Agents and publishers peruse those tweets and “like” the ones they’re interested in. Then, if their tweet is “liked,” a writer can submit a query letter.
What makes a Twitter pitch party so great is that the agents and publishers have solicited the queries, so those won’t languish in their inboxes. It’s a good way to get a response to a query letter, but keep in mind it doesn’t guarantee an offer. If an agent or a publisher “likes” your tweet, it shows they’re interested in your book but doesn’t mean they will represent you. Bottom line, it’s important to temper your expectations.
While each pitch party will define its own rules, there are some basic principles nearly all of them stick to. Firstly, you’ll have to include the pitch party hashtag in the tweets, as well as the hashtag specific to your genre. To keep things manageable for the agents, there will be a limit on how frequently you can send out tweets (e.g., hourly). Since “likes” are how people know that agents or publishers are interested in their pitches, don’t “like” other writers’ tweets (although you can retweet them). If your tweet is “liked,” that is your invitation to submit a query.
Who it is for
If you have a finished manuscript you’re ready to publish but haven’t yet found an agent or a publisher, a Twitter pitch party may be right for you. However, to ensure that your pitch is well received, be certain to include your genre because while some events are more general, others are genre-specific.
Once you have found the pitch party that’s right for your manuscript, it’s time to prepare for the event. If the participating agents and publishers are listed on the event website, find out what you can about them so you can customize your pitch tweets accordingly. You should craft three or four tweet versions in advance, making sure to include all the relevant hashtags within the character limit. There is one thing you shouldn’t include: any images, such as mockups of a cover.
You want your tweets to summarize your book. Play around with the wording. Make sure that you include the most important aspects of your book, such as the setting, time period, and main plot. You want to give agents and publishers a good idea of what it is about, but you don’t want to give away the ending. Hook them with your premise, then reel them in with your characters and your world. If you want, you can ask a friend or a family member to help you craft your tweets—you want them to be as perfect as possible to enhance your chances of getting a “like.”
How to participate effectively
When the day of the pitch party arrives, it’s time to get tweeting! Just make sure you don’t send out your first tweet before the event officially kicks off. Your job’s not done after your first tweet—send out one every hour (or whatever the designated interval is) until the event is over, alternating between those three or four versions you crafted earlier to avoid monotony. Different agents and publishers will check in at different times, so you will need to monitor the hashtag feed and your profile throughout the day to see if your pitches have been “liked.” If you so desire, you can also check out the feed for your genre’s hashtag to keep an eye on the competition.
In case one of your tweets gets a “like” from a publisher or an agent, head over to their Twitter profile, where they may have a tweet specifying how they want you to submit your query. You should also visit their website and study their submission guidelines to ensure you comply with those.
Before submitting your query letter, make sure the publisher or the agent is reputable. Searching for them in Google is always a good first step, but there are also sections on Critters Workshop and the SFWA that can alert you to possible scams. The last thing you need is to query someone who isn’t legitimate. You don’t want your book to fall into the wrong hands, and you certainly don’t want to be duped into thinking this could be your big chance at becoming a published author.
Assuming everything is above board, it’s finally time to submit your query letter. Make sure your email’s subject line includes the fact that your query was requested in a Twitter pitch party and include the event hashtag. If you need help crafting the perfect query letter, you’re in luck: We have a team of experts who can write a query letter for you.
Lastly, keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get any “likes.” It doesn’t mean your manuscript isn’t any good—maybe a publisher that would have been interested is already working on something too similar, or perhaps the right agent didn’t see your tweet. The best thing to do is keep at it and start preparing for upcoming pitch parties. There will always be another one, so take the necessary time to regroup. You have some experience now, so when you revisit the tweets you drafted, you’ll see what can—or should—be changed. Maybe there is a better way to explain your plot, or you forgot to mention a key theme in your book.
Although you can’t escape submitting query letters, pitch parties can help you get your foot in the door or at least gauge interest in your manuscript. Pitch parties have paved the way to success for hundreds of writers. Maybe you will be next!
Once you land yourself an agent, we can also help you market your book to readers. We offer comprehensive marketing packages that cover everything, from book blurbs to author bios.