Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Value of Twitter Pitch Parties

Caitlin, here. Back when I was querying, I remember getting super excited about Twitter pitch contests!!! Here’s a rough re-enactment of a twitter pitch day:

Me: “I want lots of agents and editors to favorite my pitch!” *bounces like a bunny around the apartment*

Husband: “What happens when they favorite your pitch?” *holds out hands as if calming a wild bunny*

Me: “I get to query them!!” *excited jazzy hands!!*

Husband: “But couldn’t you query them anyway? Aren’t you already querying agents?” *raises eyebrow*

Me:  “Huh? What did you say?” *stares at screen and refreshes twitter notifications*

But, um, my husband had a point. Aside from the occasional agent who’s closed to submissions but partakes in twitter pitch contests, getting a “favorite” doesn’t move the ball forward much. So, does that mean you shouldn’t do it? NO! But I do think writers should realize the real benefit of Twitter pitch parties.


Yeah, I know. Today especially, right after #Pitmad,  your feed is probably filled with tweets saying it’s okay you didn’t get any favorites because it’s all about the connections! And you’re thinking that’s a load of crap. That’s just something people say to losers who didn’t get the coveted gold stars. :(

But, it’s not crap. It really is (or should be) about the connections! 

Pitch parties can help you find writers who can

  • give you advice
  • celebrate with you
  • commiserate with you
  • swap work with you
  • answer your questions about their agent or publisher
  • meet up with you at conferences so you aren't sitting by yourself 
  • etc. etc. etc.

General pitch contests supply these opportunities, and there are also more specific twitter parties based on a genre or age category than can really help you find the right writers out there to chat with depending on what you write. (Shout out for #SFFpit, created by our very own Dan Koboldt!) 

What do you think? Have you made any great connections through a pitch party? Are there other benefits outside of just getting a “favorite”?

Dan: I love this topic, and think Caitlin nailed it on the head about the true benefit of pitch parties. We organizers sell them as an event for matching up authors to agents/editors, and that does happen -- at least 3 authors found rep after the last #SFFpit. From the numbers I've seen, however, about 85% of authors who participate in these events won't get a favorite from a literary agent.

Nevertheless, they draw hundreds of other authors who, like you, are chasing that dream of publication. Who understand the endless waiting and constant rejections of the query trenches. You should make friends at this stage, with these kinds of peers, because you'll need them. Pitching events also are useful for getting an idea of what other people are writing, and for seeing what kind of pitches catch the attention of agents. Finally, they force you to write a concise pitch for your book, which is a useful exercise in itself.

Lisa: I've only done one Twitter Pitch Party and that was one from WriteonCon. It was a good experience, though at first I thought it was a waste of my time. Like Caitlin and Dan said, you make many connections that way. However, I've found that my lasting connections come from spending more time with people with such things as NaNoWriMo or WriteonCon, or the year-long writing community called Valorpen. Maybe one day I'll make a more lasting connection with Twitter Pitch contests - I certainly plan on continuing with them simply because they're fun. They're also great feelers for what stories people are desirous of, or what stories have already been written and yet to be published.

Karlie: While I have stalked a few of these events, I have to admit I haven't participated in one yet. They sound amazing and I agree about the potential connections one can make. I'm definitely looking forward to participating soon! And Lisa, I agree with you about places like Valorpen and NaNoWriMo - I still think it's awesome we met during a word war in November!

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