For those of you who don’t know, Pitch Madness (also known as PitMad) is a Twitter event for undiscovered writers, which happens several times a year. It gives writers a chance to pitch their stories (in 140 characters or less) to participating agents from publishing houses all over the country. A writer can pitch as many of their stories as they want, but only three tweets per story. Writers who want to support their peers are allowed to retweet the pitches of others, but only agents can like (or heart) a tweet. Agents can choose to log into their twitter accounts and go to the PitMad page where hundreds of thousands of pitches are on display from 8AM to 8PM. By liking a tweet, that agent has given the writer permission to submit a query letter, synopsis, and sample chapters of that particular story with #PitMad in the subject line. I’ve heard some agents give participating PitMad writers’ submissions priority over unsolicited submissions.
On Thursday, I will be participating in Pitch Madness for the third time. I have mixed feelings about this event. I know it’s a great opportunity. When will I have the attention of so many different agents at once? Being able to add that #PitMad into the subject line of my submission will give me a better chance than if I sent an unsolicited submission. But at the same time, it’s so stressful. The number of pitches on the PitMad page is overwhelming. There are countless other undiscovered authors doing the same thing I am, succeeding in sticking out from the masses, doing a much better job pitching than I ever could.
I struggle with writing pitches. I’m a long-winded summarizer. Always have been. (Anyone who asks me what my stories are about or what book I’m currently reading is immediately sorry they asked). In all the examples I’ve studied and “How to Write a Good Pitch” articles that I’ve read, they say a pitch needs to include three things: the protagonist, the main conflict, and what is at stake. Sound simple, right? Wrong! It has to be intriguing and exciting but not too flowery, all the while engaging the agent emotionally, giving them a reason to care about the main character and his/her journey. Because a good pitch will make an agent request the whole manuscript, while a lame pitch will have them turning away before they even finish it.
With so much weighing upon this 140 character long pitch, can you blame me for stressing out? Can you blame me for looking forward to this event while also dreading it?But I can’t ignore such an obvious opportunity to showcase my work. I’ve tried the unsolicited query route long enough with no success. I got closer to publication during the last PitMad than I ever have. I need to keep pitching, no matter how gut-wrenching the process may be.
The last two PitMads snuck up on me. I did my best to come up with compelling, interesting, and concise pitches on the spot but it was really hard. Since I found out about this PitMad ahead of time, I can prepare. I can read up on new articles about the Dos and Don’ts of pitching. I can brainstorm and work with words to create several different pitches and see which ones sound better. I can ask for advice from beta readers and other writers. I have time to look over the opening chapters of my novels, polish them up even more, make them ready for new eyes. Maybe, just maybe, this PitMad will be different.