How to #PitMad

As you may have heard, #PitMad is a super awesome pitch event. Incase you don’t know, #PitMad is a quarterly Twitter pitch party where you pitch your work in a tweet. Agents and editors look in on #PitMad tweets throughout the day, and if yours piques their interest they just might request a look. Writers of all genres are welcome to take part.

Twitter allows 140 characters per tweet so your pitch has to be tight. Yes, it can be a challenge to pare your story down to a short sentence or two but it’s great practice to create a tweet sized pitch even if you don’t want to take part in the pitchfest. If you are going to participate be sure to leave room to hashtag your tweet #Pitmad along with the genre. (Pasting your pitch into twitter, without posting it of course, is a great way to check your length.) Check the rules and hashtags at contest maven Brenda Drake’s blog: http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/

When creating your pitch think about the core of your story. What is it that your main character wants? What’s in their way? Remember, this is just a snippet. There is no way you can get it all in there! Use active verbs and strong descriptive words. Writing a short pitch is not as easy as it sounds. It takes time! Develop it. Try different angles. Move words around. Just like great writing, great pitches take time and revision.

There are definitely a few things to remember when participating in a pitch party:

  • Only pitch completed work! This means it is not only written but has been critiqued, revised, edited and is ready to submit.
  • December 2015 Rule Update: You can tweet 3 different pitches per project throughout the day. You are allowed to pitch more than one project. #Pitmad coordinator Brenda Drake suggests Tweeting a pitch every four hours.
  • Posting the exact same tweet more than once violates Twitter rules so you are going to have to change your pitch around with each tweet. This can be as simple as putting your hashtags at the beginning or end, changing up a word, or even a period. Just make sure your pitch is still cohesive! See Flip That Pitch for more ideas. Of course, creating an entirely different pitch to show something different about your story can be a good way to go too!
  • Don’t pitch anyone directly i.e. tag agents or editors with your pitch. Just use the #PitMad hashtag.
  • DON’T PITCH IN ALL CAPS! CAPS DO NOT MAKE YOUR PITCH ANY BETTER!
  • Don’t RT (retweet) pitches. It clogs up the feed. You want it to be as easy as possible for industry professionals to see all those pitches. Including yours.
  • Can’t be there for the party? You can still participate. Schedule some tweets to post throughout the day. You can do this using applications such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and futuretweets .
  • Besides the #PitMad hashtag be sure to tag your pitch with category as well. This will make your pitch easier to find for agents looking for work in your category:

#PB – Picture Book

#CB – Chapter Book

#MG – Middle Grade

#YA – Young Adult

#NA – New Adult

#NF – Non-fiction

#A – Adult

#WF – Women’s Fiction

#SFF – Science Fiction & Fantasy

#R – Romance

Agents and editors favorite a tweet when they want to see more. So, a favorite by an agent or editor means a request. Pay attention to those! Thinking about favoriting a pitch tweet but you aren’t an agent or editor? Think again. Yes, it’s a great compliment but you may excite (and therefore disappoint) and confuse the writer when they figure out you aren’t making a request.

When you do get a request:

  • Check the requesters twitter feed for instructions.
  • Research the requester and make sure it is someone you want to submit your work to.
  • Check their website for submission guidelines and follow them, taking into consideration their twitter instructions of course.
  • Be sure to mention the #PitMad request in the subject line of your submission and thank them for the request in your cover letter.
  • Relax! You don’t have to send your submission the moment you get the request. Get your submission package together with your personalized cover letter, and send a professional submission. Your manuscript and pitch is ready. It shouldn’t take too terribly long!

For the most part, yes, of course you will want to submit your requested work. But if someone makes a request and you are not interested in working with them you DO NOT have to submit your work to them. You don’t have to say no, or apologize. Just don’t submit it to that requester.

If you don’t get a request, don’t despair. Not getting a #PitMad request does not equal rejection by any means. You can still submit to those agents and editors through their regular channels.

To get a feel for good pitches check (and to be inspired by the number of requests!) out this list of requested pitches on Carissa Taylor’s blog: carissa-taylor.blogspot.com

See the pitch that connected Nilah Magruder with her agent Michelle Witte and get some great tips from this writer/illustrator agent team in their post Have Yourself a Merry Little #Pitmad.

For more inspiration be sure to read about how Dina von Lowenkraft got together with her agent Kaylee Davis via #PitMad.

Kristine Carlson Asselin made a sale to Bloomsbury Spark through #PitMad. Read a bit about it along with her advice on her blog: krisasselin.blogspot.com

Participating in pitch parties is a great way to break up the usual submission routine. It’s fun and exciting! You never know what agents and editors will be peeking in on the pitches and what can come of a “simple” tweet. Polish yours up and put your very best out there!

Want to run your pitch by some writers before putting it out there on Twitter? Join our private Sub It Club Facebook group. We go over each others pitches with an eye toward improvement. Go team!

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