Let's talk twitter pitching events! Specifically, #DVpit, the twitter event created by agent Beth Phelan to support diverse authors and their stories. You can check out her website here for official guidelines, resources, and interviews. (My interview with Beth and Molly is here!).
Since I had such a great outcome with #DVpit when I participated in April 2016, I thought I'd share a little advice and offer some free critiques for the folks participating in October (and April 2017)!
- Revise, revise, revise! Make sure your manuscript is complete, revised, and ready for an agent's review. If possible, try to get feedback from a critique partner or beta reader. It generally takes me 4+ drafts before a manuscript is ready for querying (first draft, initial revision, structural revision after notes, fine-tuning/line editing after additional notes) but your mileage may vary.
- Do not rush! If your work isn't ready, do not participate in this round of #DVpit. Give yourself the best shot at success by only participating/querying when your story is ready.
- Come up with a couple of variations of your pitch. Try one with comp titles. Try one that focuses on the personal/emotional stakes. Try one that highlights a cool plot point.
- Get feedback. If possible, try to get notes from someone who has read the book AND someone who hasn't. (Hint: keep reading for instructions on how to get a free critique from yours truly!)
- Write your query letter. It's generally a good idea to have at least the pitch portion of your query letter already written and polished so it's ready to go when you get requests.
- Pre-schedule your tweets (optional): If possible, use something like tweetdeck to pre-schedule your tweets so you don't have to worry about it during the event. Aim to have (at max) one pitch go out per hour and make sure you use the #DVpit hashtag!
- Vary your tweets by at least one character. Twitter blocks "repeat tweets" so make sure they aren't completely identical. If you only have one pitch, change where you put the hashtag or add/remove periods, spaces, etc. so each one is different.
- Support other authors. If it's not stressing you out too much, check out the feed and support other authors! Quote tweet their pitches (leave out the hashtag so you don't clog the feed!) or reply directly to them to show support. Have conversations, make new friends, follow cool people! As per Beth's guidelines, DO NOT favorite or retweet any pitches. Only agents/editors should be doing that.
- Protect your mental health/take a break. If constantly checking twitter for agent responses stresses you out, STAY AWAY. It'll all be there waiting for you later. You're under no obligation to stay glued to twitter. Protect your mental health first and foremost.
After the event
- If you don't have any requests: that's okay! It's so hard to boil an entire novel into a 140 character tweet. And some beautiful, amazing stories just don't pitch well at that length. You can still go through the list of participating agents and query the ones you think will be a good fit for your work. You could even note in your query that you're interested in working with them because of their participation in #DVpit and their commitment to working with diverse authors and their stories.
- If you did get requests: research, research, research! There are some AMAZING agents who participate in #DVpit, but twitter is a public forum and literally anyone could hop onto the feed and request materials. If you feel uneasy about a requesting agent, for any reason, you are under no obligation to send them anything. You get to control who sees your work and who doesn't.
- Send out those queries! Whether you got 100 requests or 0, your next step is still to send out query letters. Decide which agents you will be querying, address the query to them, add any personalization you'd like to include, paste the appropriate number of manuscript pages in your email, and send away!
As I mentioned at the top of this blog post, I'm offering free critiques! While I haven't included a limit for the twitter pitch critiques, I do have a Day Job and my own writing to do, so if I get overwhelmed with requests, I'll update to let y'all know.
What I'm offering:
- Twitter pitch help. No limit (for now). No genre/category restrictions (though you must meet the #DVpit participation requirements). Fill out the form below with a brief description of your work (optional but helpful) followed by the actual pitches you'll be using on twitter (max: 4 different pitches). Do keep in mind that while I will look at any genre/category, I'm best suited to helping with MG and YA fiction.
- Query critique. Open to the first 15 requests. I will prioritize LGBTQ+ writers if I end up with a lot of requests. Any category or genre (although please note that I'm most well versed in YA with some MG experience). Fill out the form below with your query letter. You may also include your twitter pitches (no need to send separately).
- First five pages critique. Open to first 5 requests. I will provide a critique of your twitter pitch, query, and first 5 pages of your manuscript. Only open to YA novels, but can be in any genre. Preference again goes to LGBTQ+ writers (particularly if the work is #ownvoices, but that's not required). To request the first-five critique, please first send only your query and twitter pitches and note that you'd like to send the first 5 pages. If I still have availability, I'll email you back with directions on how to send your pages.
Questions? Leave a comment and let me know!