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Staying Sane in Pitmad

The time is upon us, friends!

It’s that lovely time of year when you break your writer brain in the attempt to compress your hundred-thousand-word novel into a 280 character tweet, not counting leaving space for genre hashtags.

Your twitter feed is about to clog like a sketchy motel shower drain, and every time you get a fave that isn’t from an agent, you’re gonna wanna commit grand-something-or-other that carries of a minimum jail sentence of 5 totally-worth-it years.

I know, because I’ve been there. Twice. (okay actually a lot more but we don't need to talk about it)

After years of querying and tweeting and contesting, I signed with my first agent off a PitchMas tweet.

Then she quit agenting.

Back to querying I went, and it was another Pitmad where I found my agent. (Actually, her intern (at the time) found me!)

We signed like a week later.

So as a veteran Pitmadder, here are TEN THINGS TO REMEMBER during this most excellent twitter lollapalooza of creativity:

1. Cool kids do it in the a.m.

Holy crap is that feed gonna clog. And once that tag starts trending, spam is gonna infest like a biblical event straight outta revelations. So the best shot you’ve got at having your stuff seen is to get it out there, fast.

Pre-schedule on tweetdeck etc. if you need, that’s fine. But don’t pop off early (BIG NO-NO that shows you can’t follow directions!). Hit the morning break times, and lunch breaks. Remember most agents are on the east coast. Stay clear of afternoon and evening, their eyes are melted.

2. Keep it short

So yeah, you now have 280 characters to sell your stuff. Congratulations!

(w/e jerks, I had to do it in 140!!!!)

But yeah. Use that extra space for genre hashtags or comps. The shorter and faster you can pitch a full picture that hits the three C’s (character, conflict, and . . . I forgot the third one. Cake?) the stronger your pitch is.

Think movie posters – they don’t have a paragraph telling you Bruce Willis is about to bust some skulls, they get one MAYBE two lines to get that point across. Efficiency is the name of the game! Don’t over pitch.

3. For the love of God, hashtag

You know how I keep saying the feed is clogged? The get around for agents is searching by #Pitmad + genre hashtags. So if you’ve got a contemporary romance, make sure you add in that #CR. The pitmad site (and someone on the feed) will usually give you a list of the tags for each genre, subgenre, and subsubgenre, etc.


4. Write them ahead of time

If this is your first Pitmad (or twitter pitching experience), definitely take a whack at writing out some tweets ahead of time and tweaking them. Read some blog posts that talk about how to hit those three C’s (and come back here and tell me whatever the third one was) and make sure you’re somewhere close to the character limit. Have a buddy check them. Trust me.

5. Write them the morning of

If you’ve pitched this manuscript a few times before, and you’ve had tweets that were revised and edited and perfect and got no traction in prior contests, ditch them! I know, I know. But just let it go, sugar bear.

By this point, you should know the steps to twitter pitching, and how to encompass the three Cs (what the fuck was the third one?!?!?) and sometimes, freshest is bestest. My second agent signing? Wrote those tweets that morning. Seriously - spit em off, stacked em on tweetdeck, and went about my day.


6. Beware predatory freelancers

You’re gonna see a lot of “Need help crafting the perfect twitter pitch? Hire me!” Some of these people are legit and know their stuff. Some don’t.

Personally, I freelance edit, and I offer a twitter pitch service (closed right now sorry!), and I’ll tell you: the number one thing any freelancer should tell you straight up is that THERE IS NO GUARANTEE!

I couldn’t even guarantee my own shit would get liked, so there’s that. Also, don’t pay out the freaking nose for tweets, y’all. There’s forums and facebook and hell, just tweet it and say WHAT DO YOU THINK before the actual date and someone will help you. I betcha. Writers are nice.

7. Research the freaking agents OMG




8. Don’t gloat

At least not publicly. That should go without saying, but seriously, just don’t.

Some people put way too much pressure on themselves, and this contest, and it’s a big stroke of luck of having a weird sliver of light reflect off your particular needle in a big ass haystack.

You may not take it that seriously, and are only trying to be like HEY I GOT 3 LIKES HAHAHA IM NOT A LOSER YAY even tho they were all crappy scam agents and you aren’t gonna send anyway, but it’s fine because you weren’t putting all your hopes and dreams on this.

You know that querying is the way that like 99.9% of writers get their agents. I am a total weirdo!!! But someone else really, really wanted just at least ONE LIKE as a sign from a writer god that they were supposed to be there. And this is why we can’t have nice things.

9. Don’t cry

Read #8

10. Someone’s gonna win – and it’s probably not gonna be you. You don’t want it to be.

Every time this contest comes up, someone’s PitMad tweet practically goes viral either because of the pitch, or *someone speshul* rt’d, or it’s got the market catnip that no one knows and can explain until we see the person who’s got it get “Tapped.” It’s gonna be everywhere, constantly getting retweeted and liked in your timeline until you HATE.IT.

But guess what, buttercup? Be THANKFUL! That poor person has to sort through hundreds of likes and figure out which are randos, which are well-meaning friends, which are predatory presses, and which are the real deal agents.

And once they whittle that number down into one that’s still stupid big, they’re gonna have to deal with the frenzy. Cause EVERYONE’S gonna request the full, and maybe their book will hold up and they’ll sign.


But maybe it won’t. And then the rejections will pour in – not one or two, but hundreds. And that’s gonna suck.

So remember that everyone is doing their best,

Everyone is nervous,

Everyone is hoping.

Some are gonna win,

Some are gonna lose.

But where you fall on that depends entirely on YOU.

sorry, wrong gif

Querying is still the best shot you've got at landing an agent,

so don't discount it,

and for the love of all the Harry Potter books in the world:


Happy Reading (and pitching)!



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