Hi, I’m back from my blogging break again. This time to introduce Jennifer Derrick. And what she has to say comes just in time because #PitMad is back again this week on June 9th. So is #SFFPit for science fiction and fantasy authors. They’ve finally have a date and it’s June 23rd. Don’t forget to save the date. Still unsure about taking part in a Twitter pitch party? Then decide after reading Jennifer’s post!
Success at a Twitter Pitch Party
I’m often asked how I found a publisher for Broken Fate. The short answer is, “Thank you, Twitter,” because I found Clean Teen Publishing (or they found me, depending on your perspective) through a pitch party on Twitter.
I had been querying Broken Fate for a couple of months. Despite some interest and requests for full manuscripts, I was getting nowhere fast. One day I was on Twitter and I saw something called, “#Pit2Pub” trending. Okay, I thought, what’s that? I looked into it and discovered the world of pitch parties.
Sponsored by users, agents, or publishers, pitch parties invite anyone to craft a 140-character pitch for their book, post it under the proper hashtag, and let the interest roll in. Most parties operate under the rule that if an agent or publisher favorites your Tweet, you are invited to submit to them.
I thought it sounded like fun and I didn’t have anything to lose, so I crafted this little beauty and hit Tweet:
“#Pit2Pub #YA #SFF Atropos is the Fate who cuts lifelines. Alex is a boy dying of cancer. She can’t love a boy she has to kill, can she?”
Much to my shock, people began liking it. Clean Teen Publishing was among them and they asked for the full manuscript. The rest, as they say, is history and Broken Fate finally had a publisher.
What makes this story remarkable is that I’d only been on Twitter for about two months before #Pit2Pub. It wasn’t that I was afraid of social media; it was just that I had no use for it. As a freelancer, I had more work than I could handle thanks to a long career and word of mouth advertising. I didn’t have the need or the time to really get into social media.
But… I’d recently signed on to do board game reviews for iSlaytheDragon.com and they really wanted me to get on Twitter and help promote my reviews. So I reluctantly dragged myself to the sign up button and made an account. That I found #Pit2Pub was more of an accident than a plan.
That I got any favorites at all was also something of a miracle. I didn’t craft my tweet in advance. I had no idea what I was doing and part of me wondered if this whole thing was even legitimate. I went through maybe three drafts of a tweet and hit send, thinking nothing would happen. It was supposed to be an experiment, not a serious effort. I figured I’d try this one pitch party, see what happened, and then make a serious plan to really work the next party.
In other words, I did everything wrong and still got a publishing offer. I think that either speaks to fate or to the capricious nature of a universe that just likes to mess with your head sometimes.
I (obviously) recommend pitch parties. What I don’t recommend is approaching it as I did, which was completely on a lark. Here’s my advice if you want to try pitch parties for your own work.
1. Craft the pitch in advance. That way you have plenty of time to get it right. Plus, you’ll have it saved so that you can quickly jump in to any party that you see. (Remember: Your tweet will need to be less than 140 characters to allow for the hashtags.)
2. Follow the rules. Most parties have a website that lists the official rules. Visit it and make sure that you tweet according to the rules, use the correct hashtags, and that you understand what to do if you are contacted. Check participating agent/publisher feeds to see if they’ve posted how they want to receive material.
3. Trust, but verify. If you receive any submission requests, check up on the publisher or agent and make sure you’re a fit. When I partied, I got several requests from legitimate publishers/agents, but there were also some vanity presses, book promoters, or similar services. Know who and what you’re dealing with before you submit.
4. Tweet only complete manuscripts. Agents and editors are looking for projects that are finished and available right now. If your book isn’t complete and fully revised, wait for the next party. Don’t blow your chance by either submitting a draft or telling the editor to give you six more weeks to finish it.
Pitch parties do work and there really are people on the other side reading and responding to your tweets. If nothing else, pitch parties can be a great way to get some feedback on your project and do a little networking. They’re fun, too. I can lose a whole day watching other people’s tweets scroll by. The creativity on display is amazing. It certainly can’t hurt anything to try and you may even end up published.
Jennifer Derrick’s Bio
Jennifer Derrick became a writer at the age of six when her parents bought her a child’s typewriter for Christmas and agreed to pay her a penny per page for any stories she churned out. When she got older, Jennifer realized that she needed to make (much) more money from her writing so she first turned to the corporate world (where she learned that she is spectacularly unsuited to cubicle life) and ultimately to freelancing. Her writing career came full circle when Clean Teen Publishing published Broken Fate, her first novel.
She lives in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading anything she can get her hands on, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with her dog.
Where to find Jennifer:
PS The next #Pit2Pub Twitter pitch party is on July 13th!