Since my post giving A Basic Guide to Twitter Pitches, I’ve been back in the trenches with the March 2019 #Pitmad pitch party. It’s a much larger, more general event than #SFFPit, with books pitched from all age groups and genres.
But even though I came away without an invitation to query an agent, I came away with a lot.
Three Lessons from #PitMad:
1. Pitch Parties Have Multiple Goals
Sure, we all want that like from the dream agent or publisher! But a pitch party is also a great networking event. Use the day to re-tweet and comment on the pitches of others, and follow those you think you want to interact with. I didn’t snag the interest of an agent, but I interacted with almost 200 new followers, growing my mutual support network of writers online. I also got to tighten my pitch, which in turn helps me write a tighter query letter.
2. Every Pitch Party is Practice
There’s another #Pitmad every three months, and more specialized pitch parties in the meantime. If you participated in practice-pitch events beforehand (like #pracpit) you probably got valuable feedback on your pitches. Whether or not you reached your goal during the pitch party, it’s important to do an analysis afterwords of how your pitch could be improved next time.
3. Bigger isn’t Always Better
#Pitmad is a big event, but even though I got a lot more attention for my pitches (over 225 retweets and 30 likes on my 8am pitch), all of that attention came from non-agent participants. By contrast, my most widely-boosted pitch in #SFFpit had only 39 retweets, but I had four respectable agents like my pitches, and subsequent queries turned into two requests for full manuscripts.
Because Pitmad is larger and encompasses all genres and age groups, some agents might not consider it worth their time to comb through the thousands of pitches to find what they want. A targeted pitch party does the screening for them. You also have a lot of competition for a few, overwhelmed agents, and only three pitches per project.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t do ALL the pitch events. But consider using the larger event as a practice round, and focus your attention on the smaller, targeted event. And always remember that pitch parties and contests are only one way to get an agent. The majority of writers still get there through traditional querying. Your success may be through the slush pile, if you don’t give up!