6 Tips for #PitMad Pitch Party Today on Twitter

#PitMad is happening now!  It started at 8am and will continue until 8pm EDT/EST.  If you want your pitch to stand out keep these things in mind.

1.  Write a great pitch.  You only have 140 characters to get your pitch out.  That must include your genre (example #A = adult) AND #PitMad so that your pitch makes it to the right spot.

It isn’t as easy as you may think.  You need to introduce your character. The problem he/she faces. And the stakes.  That’s a well-rounded pitch.  Of course this isn’t always possible. So just try to make it as gripping, or funny, or mysterious (basically whatever your genre) as possible.

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2.  You cannot use the same pitch twice in a row.  Twitter won’t allow it.  So have a few pitches written in advance or work on your pitches while waiting to tweet again.

3.  You can only tweet your pitch twice an hour.  I usually tweet on the hour and the half-hour.  But you can do it at quarter of and quarter past.  Doesn’t matter.

4.  Please, please, please do not favorite other writer’s tweets.  The way you know if you gain a request is by being favorited.  Don’t get someone’s hopes up for no reason.

5.  Support other writers.  To show your support for your fellow writers retweet their pitches.  Most will do the same for you in return.  RTs do not count toward your twice an hour pitch.  Remember, we are all in this together.  Share the love.  It’s the right thing to do.

6.  You pitch gets favorited.  When your pitch gets favorited– you’ll notice I didn’t say IF– go to that agent’s bio page by clicking on their picture.  Most will have their guidelines to follow.  Others will send out tweets and tell you what to do.  Make sure you include #PitMad in the subject line when sending materials.  And please, follow the guidelines to the letter.  Don’t get rejected for something as simple as follow instructions.

Good luck to everyone!  Stop by and say hello and I’ll RT your pitch. Or leave me a comment below and give me your twitter handle and I’ll do the same.

UPDATE:  I just found a great formula for pitches.  Here it is:  “When [MAIN CHARACTER] [INCITING INCIDENT], he [CONFLICT]. And if he doesn’t [GOAL] he will [CONSEQUENCES].”

Try and make it as effective as possible in the fewest number of words.
Try putting the goal and consequences first.
Use active words. (Verbs are your friend.)
Assign an adjective to your MC (plucky or reluctant or young or… you get the point).
SAVE EVERY VERSION. (I have a journal I use for brainstorming these. It goes through many pages just to get one usable logline.)
Consider how to pitch the story as a romance. A thriller. An action-adventure.

Writers: Helpful Hashtags on Twitter

Okay, let’s talk Twitter.

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Social media is a necessary part of being an author in today’s world.  I belong to many sites, such as: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Triberr, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google +, LinkedIn, my own website/blog, as well as a multi-authors blog.  I’m sure I’m forgetting a few; I always do.

Back to Twitter.

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Twitter is a great place to promote your posts.  However, with the 140 character limit it makes it difficult to get across everything you have to say.  But it’s also a great place to learn to savor each word.  To learn to hone your skills by saying the most you can with the fewest words– good practice, and a skill you need to master to be great writer.

Yesterday on Twitter, agents inputed their manuscript wishlists under the hashtag #mswl.  What is the #mswl? It’s when agents list the kinds of books they hope to find in their slushpile.  What genre they’re looking for, etc.  A lot of agents even get into details. Like they’ll say something like: I’m looking for a crime novel that has a fast-pace, has a criminal for a protagonist, a female protagonist who is bull-headed or has a warped view of the world. A full length novel that includes a serial killer. And maybe has a little romance thrown in for good luck.

When agents get into specifics like this, it makes our jobs, as writers, so much easier. We now know what agents are looking for. And hopefully, it matches our specific book. Just remember, when querying these agents you must not only follow their guidelines, like you should anyway, but put the hashtag in the subject line. Your subject line, unless otherwise specified, should look like this: Query: (book title) #MSWL

See? Then the agent will know that one, you’ve done your homework. And two, that you are specifically targeting them because you have a book that matches their wish list. Now, I can’t promise you that your query will jump ahead of any others in line, but you will stand out from the crowd. Isn’t that always a good thing?

Twitter also has other events for writers shopping their novel to agents.  They have pitch parties.

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For instance, #PitMad, which is happening next week on Sept. 9th. What is #PitMad you ask?  #PitMad is a twelve-hour event. Usually from 8am-8pm EST or EDT, and happens four times a year. In March, June, Sept., Dec.  You have 140 characters to pitch your books to agents.  You must include the hashtag #PitMad in your pitch as well as your genre. Not your specific genre just your audience.  For instance for adult you’d write #A. For young adult you’d write #YA, and so forth.  You can find the complete rules on Brenda Drake’s website. Or by Googling #PitMad.

There’s one caveat to #PitMad.  You can only tweet your pitch twice an hour AND you must keep changing your pitch because Twitter doesn’t allow you to tweet the same one over and over.  You can rotate a few different pitches, which is the easiest way to go, or you can keep creating new ones.  If an agent likes what they see they’ll favorite your tweet.  During #PitMad writers are not allowed to favorite anyone else’s pitches because it makes it too confusing.  Although there are always those who don’t follow the rules. Don’t be one of them.  Please.  You’ll only get someone’s hopes up for no reason.  And that’s not nice.  So, when your pitch gets favorited you go to that agent’s Twitter page and they will give you further instructions.  Some say, if I favorited your tweet send me the first three chapters of your book.  Or, send me the first fifty pages and synopsis.  Whatever the case, follow their guidelines!

If you pay attention to the hashtags on Twitter all sorts of doors will open up for you.  You wouldn’t know it to look at Twitter, but Twitter has many different ways to help you. And different events to get your manuscript into the hands of agents.  And, with less work than scrolling through pages and pages of agents, then having to research each one to see if they’d be a good match for you and your work, and then sending off the query and sample pages.  I can’t say enough about it.  It’s a great tool– and it works!

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Twitter also has #tenqueries.  This is where agents post critiques of query letters they’ve received in their slushpile.  Don’t worry, they don’t use your name.  Agents would never openly bash a writer in public.  Some of the queries are absolutely hilarious. It always amazes me what some writers write in their query letters.  How they’ll ever get traditionally published is beyond me.  But there are also agents who give sound advice about query letters. Advice that’s worth paying attention to.  Advice you can’t find anywhere else.  Unless of course you go to sites like Query Shark or Writers Helping Writers, and the like.

#500queries is a lot like #tenqueries.

There is the hashtag #querytips, where you will learn valuable information on how to craft query writers.  And these are agents giving you tips as well as successful authors.

#querylunch I just found recently.  This is where agents give their time during lunch to answer questions from writers.  How generous is that?  We all have heard about how crazy agents’ schedules are. And yet, some agents actually take their lunch hour to answer questions. Unbelievable, right?

And then #askagent works similarly to #querylunch.  At #askagent agents again take time to answer questions from writers.  Though #askagent happens when the agent has free time.  Some agents answer questions at night, some early morning, and some do it the same time every week.

#writing or #writingtips– both places that give advice to aspiring writers.

#pitchwars is where writers get paired up with mentors. These mentors spend countless hours going over your manuscript to get it into the best possible shape.  Then, months later, there is an agent round where agents try to gain your pitch.  This translates into requests.  These agents know the manuscripts have been scrutinized by professional authors, edited into the best possible shape, so they are more inclined to read the entire manuscript.  Often times #pitchwars end in offers of representation.  And isn’t that what we are all after?  Those of us going traditional, that is.  Someone to help us wade through the publishing waters; help us create successful, long-lasting careers? Unfortunately, #pitchwars is happening now, so it’s too late to sign up for this round.  But it occurs a few times a years so keep your eyes open for upcoming dates.

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Well, that’s enough to get you started in the right direction.  Good luck everyone!  For those of you who are looking for agent, check out #mswl now.  The wish lists stay posted so you don’t need to worry that you missed out yesterday.  You can still take advantage of this great tool.

Till next time, my faithful followers.  Have a wonderful day!  I hope you all gain lots of requests and get that coveted offer of representation.

If one of these hashtags has helped you get your agent, please let us hear about it in the comment section.  Your success is our success.

 

When is a writer an author?

When does a writer make the leap to author?

This is a question I’ve pondered for years.  I know what “they” say.  By “they” I assume it means industry standards.  They say a writer becomes an author once they become published.  OK, let’s use that standard.  Does that mean traditionally published or self-published?

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First let me say I am not bashing self-publishing.  I’ve thought about it many times myself.  Please do not take this as an attack because it’s NOT.

So, you stay a “writer” until you get a book deal from a publisher.  OK.  Well, what if it’s a brand new publisher that no one has ever heard of?  Does that count?  Obviously if you’re lucky enough to get a deal from one of the “Big 5″ you have definitely morphed from writer to author.  But why?  Because you were in the right place at the right time? Continue reading

A writer’s busy life.

Writers have very busy lives.  I had no idea how busy until I decided to write full-time.

1.  You need to constantly work on your WIP (work in progress, for non-writers).

2.  Create and post regularly to your blog and/or website or both.

3.  You need to join the best social media sites to promote yourself and build your brand.

4.  Join Wattpad to start gaining a readership.  AND write stories for that, too!

5.  Keep up with what’s trending so you don’t miss out on any opportunities that could give you an edge.

6.  Tweet on a regular basis AND follow people so you don’t look like a jerk with no followers.

7.  Post to Facebook regularly to keep that audience happy.

8.  Pin it on Pinterest.

9.  Read it on Reddit to gain “karma points”.

10.  Find interesting things to add to your StumbleUpon profile.  This is one of the best sites to grow your audience, believe it or not.

Continue reading

Freytag’s Pyramid in Fiction Writing, Rejection Letters, What not to do on your blog/website

Lately I’ve come across several blogs and websites used solely for a place to complain.  We, as writers, deal with rejection all the time.

Rejection is hard.  When that agent/editor/publisher tells you they are going to pass on your work, you can’t think of it as a slap in the face.

But it’s perfectly acceptable to feel like this inside…

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Sure, sometimes you’ll get a rejection letter that says they feel they are not the right person to represent you.  This is a very subjective business.  And anyone who has sent out query letters has heard that many times.  However, if you continually hear that agents/editors/publishers are not connecting with your story or protagonist– take the advice.

Continue reading

The aftermath of Pitch Madness

Now that Pitch Madness is over and everyone on my team, including me, received at least one request– some got partials, some got fulls– it is waiting time. Which is the hardest time of all, in my opinion.

I was fortunate enough to get requests from three agents I wanted for A Strangled Rose. I sent two of them queries and got nice rejections back. But honestly, the MS wasn’t quite ready so they were right! The worst thing you can do is to edit, edit, edit, and not take a breather. That is what I did and it bit me in the (bleep). You must, as hard as it is, walk away for at least two weeks. When you come back to your MS you will look at your work with new eyes. Clearer eyes. Then edit again, and send it off to your beta readers and/or your critique group.

We all want to finish editing and rush the process, but if we do, we will get rejected. And rightfully so. With A Strangled Rose, I was so excited to get a full request. I didn’t realize that I didn’t have to send it within the hour. So, of course, I rushed through the final read through and pushed send. Big mistake! Eleven days later I received a very nice rejection stating my writing wasn’t as strong as the others she was considering. And she was right! I had no one to blame but myself. But that rejection was a turning point in my career. Never, never, never will I send another MS out until it is ready. Nor will I query until it is ready. Take my advice on this from someone who’s been there. Walk away.

Now for the awesome stuff.

Instead of rushing, I read through Timber Point twice. I made sure it flowed properly, had the right pacing, was grammatically correct, and no typos! So when I sent out the MS I felt confident. I won’t reveal how many requests I received. Let’s just say it’s more than two– wink, wink. Of course, if you were paying attention you’d know exactly how many I received.

During the excruciating wait time, I will be working on my synopsis and making it as strong as it can possibly be. I’ll also be thinking about its sequel. My goal for Timber Point is a series. The premise is so simple I have several different ways I can create the next harrowing experience for Shawny. And my mind is buzzing with so many ideas.

Which brings me to my next point. I don’t know if everyone experiences this or not. Once I finish my last edit, I know it’s done because the next book wants to burst out of me. Until that last run-through, though, the next book doesn’t enter my mind. That’s when I know I’ve completed the current WIP.

I wish everyone who took part in Pitch Madness good luck with their requests, especially Team Library :) I hope to hear many success stories, even if I’m not one of them. For all of you who didn’t participate, I would recommend #PitMad on Twitter on the twenty-fifth of this month. It’s a great way to find an agent without cold-querying.

Have a wonderful weekend all! Till next time…