Yesterday was PitMad (Pitch Madness). It’s a Twitter based literary pitch festival, starting at 8am and running through 8pm ET. Basically, you pitch your novel on Twitter using the hashtag #PitMad and a genre tag (#YA for young adult, #WF for women’s fiction, etc.). Agents scroll through the tweets (i.e., Twitter posts) and if they’re interested in your novel, they “favorite” your tweet.
Anyone with a Twitter account can get involved by “retweeting” a tweet that they liked. So writers/readers get to put their two cents in too. (As one agent said, The next book you love might be here.) I know I retweeted a few excellent tweets. Strangers retweeted my tweets, and I even got a message from someone saying “I would totally buy your book.” J
Easy peasy. And loads of fun. Except for writing the Tweets. If you don’t use Twitter, the rub is that any tweet must be no longer than 140 characters—that includes spaces, punctuation marks, etc. And given the hash tags that were necessary for PitMad, you’re left with 130 characters. Now try summarizing an 80,000 word novel in what amounts to 20 words. We’re talking one sentence. Two if they’re short.
And Twitter doesn’t like repeat tweets, so you have to craft several tweets to avoid Twitter rejection. (Yes, you can do tricky stuff like move the hash tags to the beginning of the tweet.)
So the bottomline is you have to summarize your novel, including conflict, setting, and hook in one sentence. Gulp.
I dusted off a novel I’d shelved (which I really love) and crafted a few pitches. And some agents requested the novel. Squee! Here’s one of my pitches:
As WW2 takes Holland, a young mother must chose to love her missing husband, hide her Jewish niece, & embrace death to survive. #PitMad #WF (Exactly 140 characters.)
If you’re interested, you can go to Twitter and search for #PitMad and see what it’s like. If you’re a writer and want to participate, PitMads are held quarterly. The next one is scheduled for December 4. Even if your novel is ready, join the fun. Retweet your favorite pitches and see how the game is played.