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Why I’m Not Mad for #PitMad

For those who might not be Twitter savvy, #PitMad is the infamous Twitter event in which writers have 140 characters or less to Tweet their pitch using the #PitMad hashtag. Agents often flock to read the Tweets and, hopefully, request material. Material is requested simply by liking the Tweet.

I don’t participate in #PitMad. I have nothing against it, for it’s about how I make the best use of my time and #Pitmad doesn’t fit into my time blocks. With more and more Twitter events like #PitMad taking place, I want to send out a quiet warning, especially to those authors who might think that when they’re doing an event like this they are querying. You’re not. Don’t confuse #PitMad as a good use of the time you’ve set aside for querying. It’s not. One-hundred and forty characters should never be enough to properly describe your book. I know that’s one of the reasons I don’t attend #PitMad, the pitches all sound a little weak and forced to me. I don’t like most of them, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t LOVE the query.

#PitMad is fun, it’s a great way to connect with the publishing community and that’s the only way you should view it. If you get a request, by all means send it, with a really solid and well-revised query letter as introduction. If you know agents are on #PitMad, but didn’t request your material do not see that as a rejection. Query them anyway. Remember, 140 characters isn’t enough, but a solid query should be.

If you time block your day like I do, #PitMad does not count as the time you have blocked off for querying. It counts as the time you block off for social media. Confusing the two won’t likely help you move ahead in your reaching your dreams.

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8 comments

  1. I often try to think about how some of the classics I love would be queries or categorized into genre and I come to the conclusion that often they couldn’t be. Quering The Great Gatsby? Story about a man who throws parties to attract the attention of a girl he used to love? And, oh, yeah, it’s told from the neighbor’s POV? And there’s a murder in it but not really? And it’s 45K words?

    Gone with the Wind? POVs all over the place? Historical fiction? Romance? Literature? (It’s not really any of those.) Oh, and 400K words?

    How about The Sun Also Rises? Expats wander around from cafe to cafe… nothing much happens.

    I could go on but I won’t.

  2. Hi Jessica,

    Perfect timing for this post. I just entered something like this. I thought it was supposed to be for agents only but my ‘pitch’ got liked by a publishing house. I looked them up and they seem brand new and very small. I obviously don’t have an agent yet and would hate to try to navigate through publishing without one.

    Do you think it would be foolish to bother sending a submission? Should a writer be concerned about a house being brand new?

    And if you recommend sending them a submission, what if they liked it? Does it happen that writers contact agents for representation after being in contact in a house?

    Thanks for your time and the great posts. Tell Buford I wish a happy National Pet Day!

    Charles

  3. I don’t have time to participate in things like #pitmad, in part because of the time difference between here and the US. It’s also a combination of the fact that these days I’ve more faith in myself and am much more cynical of the ‘fast-track’ processes – I believe if I’ve written the best book I can there’s no reason querying in the traditional way won’t get an offer. Plus querying in the traditional way is private, so no fear of sitting out there in the twitterverse unloved *grin*.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. It’s tough as a writer to figure out how to best use the limited time I have.

    I’ve tossed whole days aside obsessing over just the right pitch for #PitMad. And the stress I put on myself… it usually takes me another day to recover!!
    This post helps relieve a lot of my tension between thinking I HAVE to participate, and my doubt that it’s the best method for me.

  5. Never heard of #PitMad, but it’s something I’d do for fun if I have a brilliant idea of how to condense a blurb for one of my novels or stories. I love the idea with time blocks. I’ll adopt that 🙂

  6. Just stumbled upon this post and found it refreshing to read. I’m curious if you view pitch events at conferences at all the same way.

    I’ve done the Pitch Slam at the Writers Digest conference in NYC twice now. I appreciate it most for the feedback I receive at the time. As a writer, if you keep your pitch lean, it gives the agent lots of time to ask questions and give feedback. It’s a great way to refine your pitch/query and troubleshoot potential salability issues.

    However…lots of writers receive requests from agents at pitch events. From the agent’s perspective, why not be generous with requests? But just like Twitter pitch contests, too many writers are tempted to view this as their chance at a big break. From my experience, it’s just not. The rate of rejections and non-responses from agents who request at pitch slams seems pretty comparable to well-researched cold querying via email.

    Do you participate in live pitch events? Do you find them valuable? As a writer, I think they can be worth the money if you view it as a chance to test the water. If you talk about yourself as little as possible so you can learn from the agent’s questions. What do they want to know about my character motivations? My central conflict? The age of my protagonist? This can all inform query revisions.

    But as a fast-track way to bag an agent and watch your book become a bestseller, I’m not convinced. And I have to imagine these events are *exhausting* for agents, and don’t necessarily guarantee quality submissions.

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