What is a twitter pitch party?

Several pitch parties take place during the year. Authors are invited to pitch the concept of their book to agents and editors in just 280 characters (the max size of a tweet). Agents and editors are primed by the organisers to browse the tweets during the day and ‘like’ any that strike them as interesting, which is an invitation for the author to get in touch.

It worked for me

In September 2020, I took part in a Write Mentor twitter pitch #WMPitch.

It was my fourth attempt at a pitch party and before these events I had been pitching stories one way or another for years. The no response from this industry was only too familiar. Regardless, I have always had the belief you have to keep on trying and pitch up (literally) to be in it to win it.

I copied and pasted in my prepared tweets and checked-in throughout the day, then just as I had resigned myself to another no response, extraordinarily, a heart pinged up beneath a children’s non-fiction pitch – and that heart was from an agent. 

I signed with Becky Bagnell of Lindsey Literary Agency, but not immediately, there was a bit of back and forth and the manuscript that belonged to that pitch very nearly sold, but not in the end. Pitching certainly has its ups and downs, but in the last two years, we have sold 6 manuscripts to publishers plus sequels. I have had to write marketing proposals for all submissions and the pitch goes right at the top of the proposal doc. On reflection, preparing for the twitter pitch parties was an important practise ground for the commercial realities of the industry.

Twitter pitch events offer a lot more than the hope of a longed-for agent or editor.

  • You learn what types of books other people are writing. 
  • You can see which ideas are getting retweeted by fellow authors and liked by agents or editors. 
  • Authors are a kind bunch. I got a confidence boost from the number of retweets and encouraging comments I received for some pitches, and I enjoyed commenting on other author’s great ideas too. 
  • I have followed authors who I thought had real potential and will continue to support them and happily some authors have returned the favour. 
  • Practising commercial pitching can make all the difference when it comes to selling an idea. Your pitch – should the book be taken on – will be used by an agent, editor, marketing, sales and foreign rights teams to sell your book, and may even form part of the eventual blurb on the back cover.
  • Most importantly, the pitch events are free and a complete level playing field where ideas rule!

It’s only natural to have concerns about sharing ideas online:

There are 100s of pitches, it feels impossible to be noticed!

Answer: Be engaging, be current, use the hashtags for your genre and retweet your ideas at least two or three times during the day so you’re always relatively near the top. 

Will someone steal my idea? 

Answer: It’s just a 280 character pitch so you are not giving much away. Real authors are too busy with their own projects and anyone who steals an idea is unlikely to do well in this industry, it requires authors to be constantly creative and flexible. A few days after the twitter pitch is over (be aware some agents/editors may look the day after if they are busy), delete your pitch tweets from your account. 

I’m receiving ‘likes’ but they are not from agents and editors. 

Answer:  It happens and it’s annoying. Either participants don’t read the instructions, or you’ll discover someone is trying to sell you something, like a writing course or self-publishing deal – they usually want you to open your wallet!

When your pitch gets a heart from an agent or editor.

Well fantastic! But before you get too excited, check them out on-line first. Are they the kind of person from a reputable organisation you would trust with your manuscript? Are they in the right market for this book and your future book projects? If so, send an email thanking them for their interest and attach your proposal/manuscript – then cross all your fingers and toes!

If you have a website/public FB page then include that in your letter as they might want to find out more about you, but if you don’t, don’t stress about it, you have already proved you can write an awesome tweet!

Top Tips

Checkout the below pitch party websites, there’s lots of advice to help you perfect your pitches. 

Read the instructions and rules before each event, every pitch party is different. Particularly note the hashtags you needed to take part in the event and define your genre – this is how agents will search for you. 

Prep your pitches in advance. 

Note the timezone as some of these events are US based. 

Use tweetdeck and twitters scheduled tweets function to monitor and manage the release of your tweets.

Support writer friends with comments and retweets and ask them to support you. Many crit groups encourage each other during these events. 

I would like to thank all the people organising the following twitter pitch parties that feature children’s authors and illustrators. You are amazing! 

#PitMad – quarterly and open to all genres. International/US https://pitchwars.org/pitmad/

#wmpitch – once or twice a year, children’s market only. International/UK https://write-mentor.com/2020/04/19/wmpitch/

#pbpitch – picture books only. International/US http://www.pbpitch.com

#DVpit – focusing on diversity and marginalised voices and illustrators. International/US https://www.dvpit.com