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On #PitMad and Pitch Events

Here’s a fact about Twitter pitch events: I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

When I started querying my first book, I did a ton of research. I Googled ‘querying’ to try and find the best ways to get my book in the hands of the editors or agents who I thought would be the best fit for my book. A few weeks into researching, I started noticing tweets going around about pitch events: first, #PitMad, and then, #AdPit. I had zero idea what these hashtags meant, let alone what a ‘pitch contest’ was. Thankfully, I figured a few things out very quickly. One, these are not contests. You don’t win or lose events like these. Two, they were great ways to start building up a list of agents and editors to research. And, most importantly, I was able to find the perfect fit for my debut manuscript.

I’m not sure why these events are called contests, but I want to alleviate any stress a potential pitcher is having. The competitive side of these events only comes in when it comes to how you craft your pitch and if an agent or editor sees it and favorites it. Of course, with events like #PitMad, there are many people tweeting for twelve hours straight, and it’s very difficult (as an editor) to keep up with. So how do you combat this? I would schedule my tweets for different times other than at the top and bottom of the hour. Take advantage of being able to post twice an hour. Post at :18 and :52. Post at :07 and :45 the next hour.

Also, please, make sure that you’re changing up your pitches! I hired a freelance editor to help me with my initial pitch event, and she was great. She gave me a few different pitches to use and, instead of using the same three tweets over and over, I would change the wording on the pitches throughout the day. I also tried very hard not to use the same wording of a pitch in different events. Now that I’ve been favoriting pitches myself, as an editor, for a few different events, I’ve seen many of the same books pitched the same way each time. So, when I recognize the pitch, I automatically know that I’ve seen it before and that I decided not to favorite it the last time. But if that same book has a different pitch, or a stronger pitch, that gets my attention in a good way, chances are I’ll favorite it this time around.

Ultimately, for me, pitch events gave me the life I have today. I wouldn’t have heard of any of the publishers or agents I’m following today if it hadn’t been for these events. I also wouldn’t have a book deal, and I wouldn’t have a great job that I love. I wouldn’t have the writer friends that I have now, either. Beyond finding homes for your books, pitch events are great for networking and for making this already tight-knit community stronger. You retweet great pitches you think should be seen, someone thanks you, and suddenly you have a new critique partner and best friend. You see an agency or publisher participating, and you follow them. A month later, they’re asking for interns, you apply, get the position, and then a year later, you’re a permanent part of the team. Pitch events truly go beyond pitching your book. They’re just one more thing that makes this community better, stronger, and larger.

Nicole Tone has her BA in Creative Writing and Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and is working toward her MFA in Creative Writing at Chatham University. In her free time, she is an editorial intern for REUTS Publications and the Industry News Coordinator for the Women Fiction Writers Association. You can follow her on Twitter at @nicoleatone or visit her website at nicoleatone.com.

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