- Nikky Lee
Twitter pitching 101
Twitter pitching contests are a fun and sometimes effective way to pitch to agents and publishers.
How does it work?
In a nutshell, you come up with a series of short pitches (max 280 characters – that's Twitter's limit) and post them on Twitter across a specified pitching period. In the case of the next #SFFpit, it runs from 8am-8pm (EST). SFFpit allows you to post 10 pitches over the day, however, other pitching contests, such as #Pitmad, only allow you to post three times.
Note: Twitter doesn't allow you to post the same thing twice in a two-hour period, so it's good to have a few different pitches.
Key things to remember are:Use genre and age group hashtags to make it easier for agents and publishers to find your pitch. For example, if I'm pitching an adult epic fantasy, my hashtags are #EF (epic fantasy), #A (adult) and #SFFpit. You can find a list of SFFpit hashtags here and Pitmad here.
Note: Every pitching event is slightly different, so look up their preferred hashtags on the contest websites before posting—otherwise you might use the wrong ones and not get noticed!
As a rule, don't "like/heart" pitches from other writers. This is for agents and publishers to show that they're interested and want you to submit to them. If you want to support a pitch, retweet it instead.
Dan Koboldt has written a fairly in-depth guide of Twitter pitching that I found useful when I first looked into participating.
What pitching contests are there? When are they held?
#SFFpit – Science fiction and fantasy pitches only. They usually take place in January and July.
#DVpit – For marginalized authors and illustrators.
#PitMad – All genres, held quarterly each year. Note: the Pitch Wars mentorship programme is run by the same organisation and opens up for mentee applications every Q3.
#PitDark – Dark fiction. Usually in May and October.
#PBPitch – Picture books.
#PitchDis – For writers with disability.
#FaithPit – For Christen-based fiction and non-fiction (all genres).
#IWSGPit – All genres, held every January.
#Kisspit – For romance authors, usually on Valentine's Day.
How to write a Twitter pitch
I highly recommend reading Dan Koboldt's pitching tips as a starting point. It is also good to research pitches that have done well in previous contests and unpack them to see if yours can follow a similar format. However, if you're short on time, here's a basic outline I've come up with, using my book The Rarkyn's Familiar as an example:
Character + situation/story trigger: Lyss, she's bound in blood pact with a monster.
Desire: Get to Illredus to break the pact, find her father's killer.
Obstacles: The physical distance, the monster, the empire's soldiers hunting her.
The stakes: If she doesn't break the pact she'll go mad, if she gets caught by the Empire, they'll execute her.
From here, I mix and match the order/elements to create different pitches, such as:
Lyss's bound in a blood pact with a monster [character + situation]—a forbidden magic punishable by death [stakes]. Her only hope of survival lies in the city of Illredus [desire]. But first she has to drag the less-than-amicable monster across the Empire [obstacle] and try not to go mad from it's magic [stakes + obstacle].
Lastly, I've found it helpful to get feedback on my pitches. Try testing them out on a few beta readers or see how land during a #MockPit (a practice pitch event)—the pitch that resonates the most with readers often isn't the one you think it will be.
If you liked this post and want to stay in touch, join me on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates!