Every year it seems like new Twitter pitch contests pop up and, while I know a lot of people love them (Beth and Moe, included), I just can’t. Part of it, I admit, is I don’t have the patience to sort through all the tweets to find what I’m looking for. But another part of it is that 140 characters simply doesn’t give me the information I feel I need to make an informed decision about a project. Maybe I’m too set in my ways after fifteen years in this business, but I love my regular ol’ queries. They give me everything I need to make a decision.
Any decent query includes a blurb about the book. That blurb should make the genre clear and introduce the characters and plot, but it also tells the reader about your writing ability. A sloppy, amateurish blurb with mediocre writing will likely lead to a sloppy, amateurish book with mediocre writing. Sometimes storytelling ability in a blurb is strong enough to trump writing that might not be perfect, and I’ll still request. On the opposite end of the spectrum, someone can be a fantastic writer but lack storytelling ability, and they’ll get a rejection. A lot can be gleaned from sentence structure and word choices that I just can’t see in 140 characters.
If a query is too long and contains extraneous information, the book might be wordy and overwritten. Other queries are too short and don’t give me enough info to understand why the book is different from others in the genre. There are often indicators in a query of the author’s professionalism. You might be amazed how much we can tell from a simple query.
So, maybe I’m old-fashioned and set in my ways but I’ll stick with my queries. No Twitter pitch contests for me, thank you very much.