The Insecure Writer's Support Group has a special event coming
on January 20, 2021: Its annual IWSG Twitter Pitch!
And today we have just the person to explain all things Twitter Pitch,
IWSG founder and science fiction writer Alex J. Cavanaugh.
His expertise can help you pitch your manuscript to publishers and agents.
Twitter Pitch With Gusto!
by Alex J. Cavanaugh
If you are a writer preparing to query your manuscript or you’ve been in the trenches awhile, you’ve probably heard the term Twitter pitch party. Maybe you’ve participated in one with no results. We can help you prepare and get the most out of an event.
What is a Twitter pitch party? It’s an event put together by an organization for writers to pitch their manuscripts to agents and publishers on Twitter. Writers pitch their manuscripts in a tweet with the appropriate hastags, and agents and publishers heart the ones they are interested in seeing. It usually occurs over the course of a day, allowing time for multiple pitches and time for agents and publishers all over the world to check the feed. It gives writers an advantage over those sending in unsolicited submissions because when they query a manuscript that received a heart during the pitch, it’s been requested!
Each Twitter pitch party has its own set of rules, but here are the general guidelines:
* One pitch per hour. Writers can send multiple pitches if they are for different
* Use appropriate hashtags. Those pitching should use the hashtag of the
Twitter pitch (for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, it’s #IWSGPit),
the hashtag of the genre (#SF for science fiction, #R for romance, etc.),
and the hashtag of the age group (#YA for young adult, #A for adult, etc.).
* Only agents and publishers interested in a manuscript are allowed to heart
* Writers can retweet their fellow writers’ pitches.
* No images allowed in tweets.
Who is a Twitter pitch party geared towards? Any writer with a complete and polished manuscript that is not committed to an agent or publisher. Writers should also check the guidelines and be sure their manuscript’s genre fits the event. No need to pitch a young adult adventure book during a science fiction Twitter pitch!
Before the event, compose several tweets. There’s not any room for fluff in a 280 character tweet. Plus all appropriate hashtags need to be included, which makes it even shorter. A pitch needs to convey the story in one to three lines and pack a punch in the process.
What needs to go into the pitch? Debra Dixon says to always include Goal-Motivation-Conflict in any manuscript pitch. You probably also heard about including the “who-what-where-when-why-how” in a pitch. But in approximately 200 spaces, you need to identify the main character, his motivation or goal, and the crisis. Composing several different pitches lets you try each one several times during the day, and you’ll know by hearts which ones are the most effective.
Before the event, it’s also best to run those pitches past others. Send them to your critique partners or a couple trusted writer/author friends. The more pitches you can compose for them, the better. They can help you narrow down the best three or four. There are also online groups and forums where you can post your pitches for feedback. Polish those pitches right up until the day of the party.
The day of the event arrives – you’re ready! Be sure to double-check the times and the rules. When the pitch opens, send out your first pitch, and pitch again at the appropriate intervals. Remember, no images and only retweet your fellow writers’ pitches – don’t heart them. Keep an eye on the feed to see what is being pitched and who is hitting the heart button on those tweets. Check on your own pitches periodically for hearts. If you get a heart, that means some agent or publisher is interested in your manuscript. Get excited!
The event will end, but that’s not the complete end. Don’t send out any more tweets, but do keep checking earlier ones. Some agents and publishers can’t tune in the day of the event but they search the hashtags later for manuscripts of interest. A heart could turn up several days after the party.
It helps if you can research agents and publishers before the event, but that’s not always possible. (You can research them during the event as their hearts appear on pitches.) But if you’ve received some hearts, check out those agents and publishers before sending them anything. Check their site and Google their name. You can search Critters Workshop http://critters.org/c/pubtips.ht and SFWA http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/ for them as well. Make sure it’s someone you can trust and that they offer what you want in terms of publishing.
After receiving a heart, go to their Twitter page. Often agents and publishers will post exactly what they want to see if they have clicked the heart on your Tweet. Then go to their submission guidelines on their website. Just because they hit the heart button doesn’t mean you can just query them any old way. Follow their guidelines on their site and for the Twitter pitch event. Unlike an unsolicited query though, yours has been requested! So be sure to note in either the subject line or in the email that they hit the heart button during the pitch event.
Several things can happen after a Twitter pitch party. Those with hearts on their pitches get to send in queries. Those queries can turn into partials or full requests. They might even turn into a signed contract for a manuscript! (My own publisher has signed four authors from Twitter pitch parties.) But what happens if there are no hearts? That usually means one of two things—either timing was bad and the right agents and publishers weren’t watching the Twitter feed or that the pitches still weren’t quite right. Don’t despair! Learn from the event. Keep polishing those pitches. Get outside help to make them shine. (And of course, keep sending out query emails and letters.) There is always another Twitter pitch party on the horizon.
Ready to try your hand at a Twitter pitch? Then join us January 20, 2021 for #IWSGPit - https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-twitter-pitch.html And polish, polish, polish those pitches. Good luck!
IWSG's Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which hosts #IWSGPit every January. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.
Visit Alex at
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Coming on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 . . .
Our next post will be on IWSG Day in December. A number of us are participating in this year's NaNoWroMo during November, so it's going
to be a busy month. Have a great November and enjoy Thanksgiving!
Till next time ~
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If you haven't read this year's IWSG anthology
VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost, you can find it here.
You can order a copy of
VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost
at the links below.
Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure /
Fantasy & Magic
Fantasy & Magic
Amazon - Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472X/ - Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Third-Ghost-Yvonne-Ventresca-ebook/dp/B083C4WPR5/
Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voyagers-yvonne-ventresca/1135912991?ean=2940163430857
So, everyone gear up for #IWSGPit next year!
Thanks for the helpful info.
I'm not in a position to participate, but it's good to finally get a clear explanation of what the Twitter pitch event is and how it works!
Alex certainly laid it all out, Rebecca! Thanks for stopping by!
Great information on what Twitter pitches are and how do do them!
Alex came through! Have a good one, Sherry!
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