Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Is It Worth Twitter Pitching Your New Book?

Twitter pitch contests, or parties, are a fairly recent development in the online publishing world. These are day-long Twitter sessions whereby writers tweet enticing pitches about their new works via a hashtag that is reviewed by publishing house representatives and agents. It’s fascinating to watch Twitter’s instantaneous and expansive social reach being used this way, but it brings up the question about how well this works for both writer and publisher.

Publishing house agents or representatives ‘favourite’ a Twitter pitch to let the author know they’re interesting in seeing their book, and/or twitter what exactly they would like you to send. It’s a fast-paced, 12-hour day.

A popular Twitter pitch party is #PitMad (hosted by Brenda Drake). This is held four times a year and is for all writing genres.  Their upcoming pitch party will be on March 11, 2015.  The remaining pitches for the year will be:  June 4, 2015, September 10, 2015, and December 4, 2015. There are other pitches that run as well including #AdPit (ran Feb 5, 2015), #PitchMadness (just ran in February),and  #SFFPit (does not appear to have a 2015 schedule up that I can find at this time), and others.

From a writer’s perspective, my main questions are just how effective is Twitter pitching, and is it worth participating?  In researching the possibilities of this opportunity, I found Dan Koboldt’s website (author and scientist).  He has done a very useful study on the statistics of twitter pitching from a pitch contest in early 2014.

The bottom line is that Dan Koboldt estimates the odds of one's pitch getting a ‘favourite’ at #PitMad are between 6.5% and 10%.  Please see Dan Koboldt’s Guest Post on January 13, 2014

At first glance, based mostly on his study and researching the web, it appears that the chances of actually getting ‘favourited’, and therefore just getting the opportunity to submit your work to an interested party, are very low. There is the additional hurdle of having a publishing house then offering to acquire your manuscript for publication. However, this does happen.  Here are a few success stories for inspiration:

Diana Urban

Dina von Lowenkraft

Kristine Asselin

Also, Amy U’Ren @amylaurenwrites notes on January 26, 2015 she is now represented by The Bent Agency thanks to #PitMad!

I think Twitter pitching is definitely worth doing if you have a completed, edited manuscript ready for submission, and can take the time to pitch through different parts of the day. However, I would keep my expectations modest.

Check out how to craft a tantalizing pitch from online advice. Tweet your pitches if possible 2 times an hour 8:00 am through 8:00 pm, changing the order of the words and placement of hashtags to vary your tweets a little each time. If your pitch gets a ‘favourite’, then follow that editor’s/publishing house’s submission guidelines to submit, advising them you were invited to submit. If you’re interested in being represented by them. If you don’t get a ‘favourite’, just take in the experience and don’t get down about it. You’re in with lots of good company J

Ultimately, it’s worth participating in events that will get your name out there, especially if you’re a relatively new author. Hopefully it will bring you some great contacts as well. And maybe you’ll get into that magical 10%! As my novella, the Iron Web, is currently still a WIP, I won’t be pitching until later in the year, even though I’m an Indie. In the meantime, I’ll be watching the March 11 party to see how things work.

As for the publishing houses, they do acquire new talent via Twitter pitches though the numbers currently look to be low. This trend seems to be on an upward swing, so perhaps this will eventually become a significant way for new authors in particular to get noticed.

If you have interesting tales of your Twitter pitches and if they’ve brought you success and/or great contacts, I would love to read about them in the comments section. Good luck in your 2015 pitches.

Your Guide to #PitMad

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