Monday, February 22, 2016

Pitching your book. The art of the 140 Character tweet

by Susan J Berger
PitMad is coming up on March 17th 2016. What is PitMad? I am so glad you asked. It's speed dating for authors.

This information is from Brenda Drake's site.
#PitMad is a pitch party on Twitter where writers tweet a 140 character pitch for their completed, polished, unpublishedmanuscripts. ANY Genre

New Rules:
 you may only tweet three (3) pitches (they can be different pitches or the same pitch) per project for the day. You may pitch more than one project. I suggest every four hours or so tweet a different pitch. Or tweet during breakfast, lunch, & dinner breaks.
The pitch must include the hashtag #PitMad and the category (#YA, #MG, #A, #NA, #PB etc.) in the tweet. The “#” is important to include. It will sort the categories to make it easier for the agents/publishers.
For more information about Twitter Pitching visit this post by agent@carlywatters here and this post by #PitMad alum @DianaUrbanhere. And here find a post from Diana on how to filter out spam from the #PitMad feed.
What an opportunity.  3 pitches per project. Each of the three tweets must be slightly different. (easy way? Change the position of the hashtags in the post.)
First job. Compose your enticing tweet. approximately 126  characters (You have to leave room for the hashtags #pitmad #YA  That's 13 characters right there.
I searched the internet for advice on how to compost a great tweet. On Ava Jae's Blog I found this:
By the end of your Twitter pitch, readers should know a few key things about your novel: 
  • Who your MC is. 
  • What’s at stake. 
  • Essence of plot. 
  • Genre. 
  • Bonus: What makes your story unique. 
  • Bonus: Conveying the voice. 
Her example: 
Cade is unaware a secret society has been watching since he killed his gf w/ a kiss—now an assassin isn't his biggest problem #PitMad YAPar

I got more examples from Literary Agent Carly Walters' Guide to Twitter contests.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
When escaping WWII 4 children go to magical, tyrannical land through wardrobe to fulfill prophecy & save both worlds. #PitMad #SFF

The Three Little Pigs
Brothers devoured by a killer known as Big Bad Wolf, third pig fights for his life with a pile of bricks between him & death #PitMad #A

Alice in Wonderland
Girl abducted by rabbit from family picnic to fight war in magical dimension. When put on trial for her life, will she wake up? #PitMad #YA

I hopped on over to Twitter to check their lengths and try one of my own.
For composition purposes, I suggest putting your hashtags first. Then you will now how much space you need. By the way, if you are an author/illustrator you can include a picture.

  When Nat the Rat assaults Fat Cat, Fat Cat calls in the big gun - The Bat! Is peace possible? Tom & Jerry meet Elephant & Piggy
Phew! One character to spare.
Yeah but that was a picture book. How about a longer story.  
I tried my romance.
  Kate doesn't believe in HEA. Michael's sworn off women. On a trip to Ireland they can't stop meeting. Is it Fate or Leprechauns?
I am not so happy with this one. I will work it again.
   Set in Ireland. 2 stubborn people. An elderly matchmaker and a leprechaun with a mission. What could possibly go wrong?
Which one do you like better?

How to set up your Pitchmad day.
Practice your tweets on the twitter app.
Move your final tweet to an excel spreadsheet or word doc.
Copy/past it three times. Change the position of your hashtags on each tweet so that you have 3 different tweets.
Save and repeat with the next project you plan to pitch.

Start the process now. It's not that easy coming up with the tweets. If you have time, run your tweets by your critique group. They will help you.
You can set up and schedule tweets.


Step 1
Open TweetDeck, then select your Twitter account. Click the clock icon to the left of the Send button.

Step 2
Enter the date and time that you want the first tweet to post. Click "Set Time" to schedule the tweet.

Step 3
Type your tweet into the entry field, then press Enter to send the message at the scheduled date and time. Repeat for each tweet that you want to schedule. Stagger the publish times to if you have tweets that need to be published in a particular order.

Remember many of the people you want to reach are on the East Coast. So I suggest scheduling to match their 9:00 AM, noon and 4:00.

Do a few minutes off those exact times.
There are a number of tweet scheduling apps. here's another. (ten free tweets a day)

Come on. Try it. What have we got to lose?
There are more pitch contests. You can find a complete list of 2016 pitch opportunities on author John R Berkowitz's site.
Also don't forget to check #MSWL on Twitter. You can always find agent's wish lists there. I think there is a special #MSWL event on March 7
Happy selling.



  1. Thanks for letting us know about this. I know about the pitch wars but have never participated so wasn't sure how it works.

    1. I did n't know either. Was glad to find out.

  2. Hi Sue, Sounds exciting! Thanks for letting us know. :)


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