The 140-character Pitch

Bunch of pencils

About a month ago I participated in a couple of Twitter events for writers, #pitmad and #carinapitch. These are Twitter things where for twelve hours or so, you can pitch your book in nice bite-sized 140-character elevator pitches for agents and editors to look at; the first was general, the second for Carina Press. I was encouraged in this by the Partner in Crime, who is a Twitter veteran and has done this before. The conversation went like this:

PIC: I think you should do this Twitter thing.
Me: I’m barely capable of tweeting. I’m not even sure that’s what you call it.
PIC: It’s fun, and besides, it’s good to see what people are interested in.
Me: But I’m not sure I want to be published traditionally.
PIC: Just do it already and stop whining.
Me: Okay.
PIC: (shines I Participated! badge)

So I did. And it was fun. First of all, it turns out to be REALLY HARD to condense a 110K-word book into fewer than 140 characters (since you also have to include the hashtags so people can find it). It was a real challenge, and that alone was worth entering. Knowing what to include, how to structure it so it draws attention—it’s a good skill to develop and is useful in other things, like writing cover copy and blurbs.

It was also fun to see what books other people were writing, and also what books the editors and agents were interested in. If someone (not an agent) liked your pitch, they’d retweet it; if an agent liked it, she’d mark it as favorite. I pitched my historical fantasy series and had two responses from publishers and a bunch of people liking it. That was nice too, a kind of validation that what you’re writing does, in fact, have appeal beyond your immediate family and the beta reader who’s very patient in telling you when you suck. I also found a bunch of really funny, creative people, and maybe even some new books to try. Mostly, it was an interesting challenge, and one I might try again—or at the very least peek in on the next time it happens.