This week I participated in my very first pitch contest on Twitter.
It wasn’t a contest in that there were “winners” and “losers.” It was simply an opportunity to share a teaser for my completed book and see if any agents were interested, which they would indicate by liking or favoriting my pitch.
What’s a pitch on Twitter? It’s a description of my novel, boiled down to 280 characters, including contest hashtags and an attention-grabbing mashup of two other books/movies/TV shows that captures the essence of the book. Mine is “Downton Abbey meets The Perfect Storm.” You get the idea.
I pitched three times throughout the day, and I did not get any agent likes, which I’ll confess was a little disappointing. But participating in the contest was far from a waste! Here’s what I still got out of it:
A Pitch. I summarized the main point of my 86,000-word novel to 280 characters. I mean, that’s impressive. It was also really difficult! But now I have a really easy, two-line description for when anyone asks about my book. I also wrote a pitch for my novel-in-progress, which has really helped to focus my drafting efforts.
A Completed Manuscript. I knew the contest was coming up, so I set myself the goal to have my novel completed in time to participate. (You can’t pitch if your novel isn’t polished and ready to send to agents.) As a writer friend on Twitter said, deadlines are magic, and when the December contest comes around, I plan to be ready for it with the next novel.
Retweets. Twitter users retweeted my pitches a total of 217 times throughout the day, and I also had some lovely comments from people who said the premise sounded great, or that they would definitely read the book. It’s always encouraging to hear there are at least a few people out there who love the idea!
New Writer Friends. I gained about 50-60 followers on Twitter, and there is nothing like having that camaraderie, especially with people who are shooting for the same goals, namely an agent and traditional publication. I also connected with a couple writers before the event. We traded pitches back and forth to fine-tune them, and we kept each other bolstered throughout the emotionally exhausting day.
New Agents to Query. In the process of making new friends and looking at pitches that DID get agent likes, I found a couple more agents to add to my query list. More baskets in which to put my eggs is never a bad thing.
Fun. Even though this was the first time I personally joined a pitch contest, I’ve seen them happen on Twitter, and I love those days. The richness of imaginations baffles me, and I always feel so proud of everyone for their completed manuscripts. If nothing else, pitch contests are huge love-fests filled with cheerleading and support from a community who all want each other to succeed.
Not getting any agent likes in one little pitch contest was just a very minor bump in the road, and there are still so many opportunities to find someone to represent me. Now that the contest is over, I can move ahead with querying my novel again, after taking a break to make some major revisions. Along with brand new opening chapters, I also have a rewritten and professionally-edited query letter and a new strategy for sending them out.
Good days are still ahead!