With thousands of pitches set to pour through Twitter’s #Pitmad feed for literary agent and indie publisher perusal on Thursday, its time to tell you everything I know about crafting a quality pitch (illustrated with tweet pitch examples, though advice here also applies to query letter pitches). I’ll also give you advice on preparing for pitch party days, which can be chaotic, stressful and discouraging if you participate on your own.
If you thought writing and editing your novel was the hardest thing you’ve ever done -bad news- writing a query letter which clearly introduces your main character, conflict and stakes isn’t easy. Doing so concisely is harder still. Crafting a query which invites industry professionals to connect with your character and care about their conflict -which overall entices them- may seem impossible -at first. Great query crafting is an art (different to novel writing unfortunately) and requires honing a specific skill set. Luckily, there are many great resources listing the ingredients you need and more importantly -modelling what skillful inclusion of them can look like.
You’ve written your novel. You’ve revised it multiple times. Now you know it so well that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Your mind can fill gaps, plot and character arc holes big enough to park cars (or at least bicycles) in. When you re-read your novel, your subconscious is re-wording convoluted sentences that could tie poor reader up in knots and your authorial bias is skipping over sentences/ paragraphs/ entire scenes which may put readers to sleep. Now you need critical reader feedback, ideally from writers with different strengths and experience to yours, to help develop your knowledge and hone your craft. If you can’t afford an editor, critical reader feedback is your best chance of avoiding premature querying/ publishing. So where do you find effective critical readers?
With so many tweets flooding our feeds, twitter isn’t the easiest space to navigate. Whether you’re a newby, or an old hand, this post aims to help you find tweets about writing (discussion, advice, chats & prompts) and choose relevant hashtags to invite fellow writers to interact with your tweets.
A year and a half ago, I was a technophobe who didn’t see the point of social media, until I discovered Twitter’s #WritingCommunity. On twitter, I made friends and met many writers who have helped me on my editing journey and with preparation to query my first novel. Being a relative technophobe, Twitter was initially alien to me and quite a learning curve. Whether twitter is merely a next step for you, or a leap out of your comfort zone, I hope these tips will help you get started if you’re new, or continue to settle in if you’re new-ish.