I know of 13 parties on twitter (and 2 on blogs) to pitch your novel to literary agents and three author mentoring programs. In this post you’ll find links to each pitch party and mentoring program website, and parties and programs listed by calendar month. You’ll also find detailed advice on effective pitch and party preparation and on making the most of #WritingCommunity support. (Hint, RTs are the beginning -not the end!).
But First… Is your book Ready to Query?
Have you edited your MS for every aspect of character, setting and external plot you’ve read up on and developed as you write? Have you received constructive feedback from critical readers? Was it focused on improving the quality of your MS, not just complimenting your writing, nor holding back for fear of hurting your feelings? Did you edit again and possibly get a second (and third round) of critical readers? (Especially if you’re a fellow pantser 😉). Deciding when you’ve finished editing your MS is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make as a writer. For some tips to help you judge if you’re done, see this post. Also, talk to your beta readers, critique partners and or editors, as their much fresher eyes can help you make the call.
Which Pitch Party is for Me?
Preparing For Pitch Parties
1. Read Pitch Crafting Advice & Successful Pitches
If you haven’t taken this step, chances are there’s a lot you don’t yet know or understand about how to write a successful pitch. If you don’t know where to find tweet pitch advice, mine is here for starters.
Reading as many strong tweet pitch examples as you can also helps. To find them, search the pitch party hashtag and the hashtags you plan to pitch on. The ‘top’ feed may have some great examples, but it also ordinary pitches by people with lots of friends who RT’d them, so I also suggest skimming through ‘latest’ too.
A third source of inspiration and understanding is successful query letter pitches. Here’s a spreadsheet of 600+ successful query letters by genre.
2. Comparison Titles & Formatting
Use comps in your tweet pitches. They can indicate more about tone, setting and themes than you have room to indicate in your pitch. For tweet pitches, you’re not limited to books published within the last 5 years (unlike query pitches). Film or tv series and older books are ok. Ideally your comps will be recognisable to agents and publishers, and or contrast with each other (e.g. my MG tweet pitch comps are MATILDA X kids INCEPTION). Alternatively, you could have a notable twist on a comp, e.g. gender-swapped (fairytale/ well-known story) or Downton Abbey –with witches. Putting your comps in ALL CAPs at the top of your pitch can help it stand out on a feed and encourage industry folks to read and pay proper attention to your pitch.
3. Party Hashtags
Agents and publishers will search genre, audience age and marginalised writer hashtags to find pitches of interest to them. Parties like Pitmad or SFFPit have their own official hashtag lists, which aren’t always the same. (Eg. Fantasy is #F for Pitmad and #FA fo SFFPit). So whichever party you’re pitching in, check if it has its own hashtag list and if so, only use hashtags from that list, so your pitches are seen by industry professionals. I’ve linked every pitch party I know of’s website above.
As you’re identifying the main relevant hashtags for your pitch, and having already chosen comp titles, now is a good time to type your pitch and hashtags into a tweet or do a character count to check each pitch, with comps and hashtags, fits Twitter’s 280 character limit. If you’re struggling with this, you might want to skip to step 4.
4. Get Feedback on Your Pitches
There are a few options for doing this, the first being great if you’re new to Twitter and don’t know many writers yet.
Pitch Feedback Parties
Like pitch parties, practice pitch parties run on a particular hashtag, day and time. Some general ones are #Mockpit (dates on their website), or #Pracpit ( #Practpit’s website), while some parties have their own practice pitch event. Eg. #WMPitch has #PeerPitch and #DVPit has #PreDVPit. These events are a great way to get pitch feedback if you’re new to Twitter and have few contacts there, or just want additional opinions on pitch revisions.
Asking For Feedback
If you can’t find or can’t participate in a practice pitch party, you can also tweet asking for feedback, or search your pitch party’s hashtag for anyone offering feedback. Or you can or do a Twitter search of ‘Discord’ and ‘#AmQuerying’ to look for servers which may have pitch feedback channels. If you’d like to join my Craft & Query Discord Server (which has pitch, query letter, synopsis & beta reader channels), let me know by replying to this tweet.
5. RT or Comment Lists
Tweeting offering to add writers to a twitter list where you can RT or comment on each other’s pitches is a good way to encourage each other and to boost your pitch visibility. With so many people pitching in parties, its also an increasingly popular idea. If you don’t want to make your own Twitter list (which stores handles of people pitching so you can check their feed or pinned tweet), I suggest searching the pitch party hashtag for people offering to put writers on their lists. For Pitmad especially, there will be LOADS.
6. Join a DM Group
Pitch parties can be lonely, stressful and discouraging affairs on your own. Creating or joining a Group DM on Twitter, or a Discord Server to share pitches for RTs and comments, and to chat, commiserate, celebrate successes and cheer each other on makes Party Day much more enjoyable. It gives you a community, whereas spending time on the party’s hashtag feed on your own may give you the feeling of being a drop in the ocean. If you’re new to pitch parties or have questions about anything, including agents or publishers who like your pitches, a DM Group gives you a whole bunch of people you can ask directly. And as many people in my DM groups have said: pitch parties are more fun in a DM group!
To find people creating DM groups, search the pitch party hashtag in Twitter search bar. I usually have a group going, so if you’d like to join it you can check my profile @ElisesWritings for DM group tweets before the party or just DM me to ask.
The easiest way to share your pitches in a DM is to hit this button
on the bottom right of your tweet after you pitch it. Then select ‘Send via Direct Message’ and select the name of the DM group you are in from the menu. On computer, you can also copy the url from your browser, paste it in the DM and hit ‘enter’ to share it in the group.
7. Tweet to Explain Pitch Party Etiquette
It never hurts to tell your followers you’re pitching and that they can support you by boosting your impressions and visibility on hashtag ‘top’ feeds to industry professionals, with comments (which are more effective for Twitter algorithms) and RTs (which make your pitch more visible to writers, who can then comment on them). If you don’t have many followers and aren’t getting many comments or RT’s, don’t worry. The other hashtag feed industry professionals can search is ‘latest’ and that shows up EVERYONE’s pitch at the time they tweet it.
The other important thing to tweet is the explanation that during a pitch party a ❤️ is how literary agents and indie publishers request submissions, and that non-industry likes cause disappointment, or leave us fighting hope as we sift through tens of ❤️ ‘s wondering if even one is an actual request. Given how many writers don’t know this during any given party, I’m also tempted to change my Twitter handle to ‘Elise Carlson. Writers DON’T ❤️ Pitches’ during parties, to reach EVERYONE who sees my pitches and my RTs.
8. Mind Set
March’s #Pitmad saw over 570k tweets on the hashtag (yes this includes LOADS of RTs). Its possible your pitches won’t be seen by industry professionals and its common not to get industry requests. Some agents and publishers made under 20 requests -period not just per genre- in March’s Pitmad. But if you go in expecting nothing from the industry, and prepare with the goal of improving your pitch craft and or of making writer friends, and of testing how your pitches are received by fellow writers to learn what works well for future parties and query editing- you’ll be all set for a positive experience.
9. Decide Which Pitch to Tweet First
This is important because your first pitch will get the most impressions, as people who are supporting pitching writers are most likely to retweet and comment during the first hour. So try to identify which pitch sells your character best, makes your conflict and stakes the clearest and most engaging, and ideally also the pitch which has the most voice.
To get maximum retweets and or comments -pitch it in the first 1/2 hour. If you’re not sure how to write a pitch, or don’t know the difference between a pitch, a log line or a blurb (book pitches are different to both and must include certain things to be successful), here’s my post on tweet pitch crafting.
But when do you tweet your other pitches?
Hourly for some parties, but only 2 or 3 pitches max for others. If its Pitmad for example, their website suggests posting one of your 3 pitches (per project) every four hours. This is a recommendation, not a rule. Parties tend to get increasingly quiet after 1pm -especially in the finale hours- so you may wish to tweet all 3 pitches by as early as 1-3pm. That said, I saw a few agents tweet that they were beginning to check Pitmad pitches in the last few hours of March Pitmad, so if you are online during the party, checking when agents are online is your best way to decide. You’ll sometimes find their ‘I’m checking out (insert party)’ tweets on the party hashtags ‘Top’ feed. If you have particular agents or publishers in mind, you could also check their twitter profiles, as they will normally tweet when they start checking pitches.
9. Schedule Your Pitches on Twitter
Yes, you can use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, but now you can use Twitter to schedule, so everything is in one place. Whether you’re home all day and awake during a party, sleeping because your timezone isn’t compatible with the US east coast, or working -or both- scheduling pitches takes pressure off you during the party. If you’re online, scheduling lets can focus on retweeting and or commenting on others pitches.
To schedule pitches on Twitter
1. Hit ‘tweet’.
2. Type your pitch.
3. Select this button (beside the emoji button).
4. Select your time and date.
Timezones: If you’re not on US EST time, most parties run on it, except for #WMPitch, which runs on British time. So check your party’s times below (its often 8am to 8pm but again, not always) and convert them to your timezone! If you’re pitching from Australia or New Zealand, remember its often the date after the party because we’re a day ahead 😉.
5. Hit ‘confirm’ (top right).
6. Then you’ll see your pitch again. Hit ‘schedule’ (bottom right).
10. Pin your Pitch
This is so writers you know and kind random strangers can easily find and retweet it -if you’re also retweeting other writers and your feed is cluttered with RTs. (FYI, I’m hearing a lot about how comments do more for Twitter’s algorithms, so I suggest commenting on pitches if you can and asking others to do so for you -again if they’ve got time and it isn’t midnight or 2am in their timezone -fellow Aussies -and Kiwis- I feel your pain!)
To pin your pitch to the top of your profile, after its tweeted, hit the top right ̇ ̇ ̇ then select ‘pin to your profile.’
11. During the Party
Get in your DM group and or the party’s hashtags to comment on each other’s pitches. When you find pitches of writer friends, associates or pitches you like, reply or quote RT saying what you like about them. We’re all nervous, so acts of kindness like words of encouragement can really make people’s days. And yes, hopefully you will get some of what you have given -and you will have earned it.
12. After the Party
Celebrate, commiserate -ask how writers how they fared and share anything you learnt or ideas you have for next time with anyone likely to participate again. If you pitch in a future party, try and connect with the writers you’ve met this time and see if you can continue supporting each other in future. This is also a great chance, via DM group, Discord or tweet, to offer to trade query letter and synopsis feedback with querying writers.
Whichever pitch parties you participate in, Good Luck!
If you’d like a concise PDF of most of these steps, you can download it on the right.
Pitch Parties By Calendar Month
(To see them listed by type as above, select here)
January #IWSGpit & (#AuthorMentorMatch -mentoring).
*All dates on this post are based on 2021 dates as of Feb 4, but many events will run during the same month in 2021, which gives you some indication if the pitch party site isn’t updated yet*
My Pitch Crafting Tips
QueryConnection’s Tweet Pitch Tips
For a list of resource links spanning Query Letters & Synopsis to Finding & Communicating with Literary Agents, see this post.
Writer Mentoring Events
There are three mentoring programs which involve matching writers with mentors, who will provide manuscript editing notes and help writers hone manuscript for submission, #Pitchwars mentors also help with query package edits. For #AuthorMentorMatch and #Pitchwars the mentors are authors, for #Revpit they are editors.