17 Aug Pitch Wars: How to Win them in Twitter
I had never heard of pitch wars or pitch contests until I attended literary agent Lisa Abellera’s presentation on Saturday August 25, 2018 at the San Francisco Writers Workshop. She explained why writers should participate in these contests and how to write a great pitch for Twitter. Yes, it’s possible to describe your book in 140 characters, or 280 if you are long-winded (ahem).
Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where authors, editors or industry interns offer free critique of a writer’s query/pitch, and manuscript. To participate, you have to visit their site, choose mentors, and submit an application. Hundreds of writers do just that, and about a dozen or two are finalists who will be paired up with a mentor. These finalists can participate in a Pitch War via a contest in Twitter, using the contest hashtag. Literary agents and publishers search the hashtag and like their favorite tweets/pitches.
If your tweet/pitch gets interest from many agents, you can pick and choose whom to submit your query and/or manuscript.
Abellera encouraged us to enter the Pitch Wars with sobering statistics: about 30 million writers are trying to get traditionally published every year, but only around 300,000 get actually published. Finding an agent is the first step in this journey, and a writer should use every weapon at their disposal.
Abellera analyzed successful and unsuccessful pitches in Twitter. Here are the basic rules to write a winning entry in a Pitch War:
DOs to Win the Pitch Wars
- Be specific in your details and choose those that will make you stand out.
- Include the main character, what does s/he want, what are the internal stakes, and what is the external conflict. In other words, show your character striving for something.
- Use accurate hashtags to identify the contest, your genre, and other relevant details.
DONT’s to Win the Pitch Wars
- Avoid rethorical questions. Give the answers!
- Don’t waste valuable characters by including your book title.
- Do NOT include subplots. 140 to 280 character don’t allow for rambling.
Stay-at-home-mom Aileen can’t decide what’s worse: her newly acquired thirst for blood, or the fact the ever-growing laundry pile might be as immortal as she is. #Pitmad #A #WF #P
Pitch Wars are a win/win situation. Writers who make it to finalists get a free critique and dozens of agents and publishers eyeballs on their pitch. Industry insiders discover new writers in an easy, effortless way (they just need to read a few tweets.) And even the writers who don’t make it to finalists can use this opportunity to sharpen their querying skills.
I loved this practical presentation by Lisa Abellera. She’s a smart, straight-shooter, currently looking for diverse fiction writers. I’d give her a try if you’re in that category.