In praise of Twitter pitch contests

First, what is a Twitter pitch contest?

Also referred to as a Twitter pitch party. Writers with completed, polished, and unpublished manuscripts can pitch their book in 280 characters or less. You must include the hashtag associated with the contest as well as genre (so agents can find you!). Contests are open during a finite time period, usually 12 hours, and are held on a quarterly basis. Agents and publishers sift through the tweets and if they like your post, it means you’ve been invited to submit your manuscript directly to them.

Why are these contests worth it?

I first stumbled upon #PitMad in September of 2016 and hastily threw together a couple tweets. I was floored when I got interest. I’ve since participated in a number of #Pitmad events and have not been disappointed. Each time at least one agent or publisher likes a tweet, which allows me to submit directly to them and jump to the top of their submissions pile. Participating in these contests helps you stand out from the hundreds of queries they get on a regular basis, and in my experience, you are 99% guaranteed to hear back. There are lots of #PitMad success stories out there.

Why do I like Twitter pitch contests?

  1. A deadline. I am very deadline driven. Setting one of these contests as the deadline to have my manuscript and query letter polished really motivates me.
  2. Connecting with the writing community. They help connect you with the online writing community.
  3. Ego boost! If you do get likes and/or comments, it can be a bit of an ego boost if you are struggling and doubting your writing ability.

But at the same time, if you don’t get likes, or heaven forbid run into a troll, shake it off. Even if your dream agent didn’t like your tweet, it doesn’t mean you can’t query them directly. I’ve seen tons of agents say, “if I don’t like your tweet but you feel like we’d be a match feel free to query me.”

And if you do get trolled, or catfished, block that sucker and/or report them!

Which contests are the best known?

In my opinion, #PitMad is the biggest.  I like #PitMad because it’s open to all genres and the rules are easy to understand and follow. There’s a ton of info about #PitMad on the PitchWars page.

There are many more contestst, such as: #AdPit (adult fiction and non-fiction), #PBPitch (picture books), #FaithPitch, #PitDark (horror or dark elements), #SSFPit (science fiction and fantasy), #PitMAS (right around Christmas), and numerous more as well as new ones that spring up.

I find @writeevent on Twitter has up to date info about upcoming pitch events and it’s in an easy to read infographic. There are many more sources online if you just search for Twitter pitch contests or parties.

How do you participate?

It’s easy!

  1. Find a contest
  2. Familiarize yourself with the rules i.e. how many times you can tweet per manuscript
  3. Draft a few pitches
  4. Reach out to your fellow writing community #amwriting #ontheporch etc. to get their feedback
  5. Post your pitch during the contest time window! (Note: I usually preschedule my tweets because I’m at work during pitch contests)
  6. If you get likes, do your research about the individual/publisher before sending off the WIP you’ve worked so hard on to make sure they are legitimate (see catfish link above).

Happy pitching!