Pitch Contest Tips
Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Pitch contests on Twitter are a great space to have your book idea seen by agents without cold querying. However, there is definitely a science to having your pitch stand out.
PitMad is every quarter, and there's also DVPit, SFFPit, PitDark, and many more for various ages and genres. So many opportunities to test your pitches out.
On the Pitch Wars Forum there are boards for pitches, queries, synopsis, and first pages. Post your pitches there to get feedback and make your pitch the best it can be.
The Pitch Itself
[Main character] wants [goal] because [motivation] but [conflict] and [this happens/might result]
Another way to phrase it:
(Age + Character + set up) But when (inciting incident), they’ll have to (choice), or else (stakes).
Good comp titles stand out in pitches, but no worries if you don't have them. Use vivid, detailed imagery and clear (high) stakes, with clear action and a hook.
Use all caps on comp titles so they stand out.
Add your relevant hashtags at the end.
Examples from @catbakewell on twitter:
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE x PAPER MAGICIAN: Clara's magic shatters glass, causes storms and grows azaleas in her dad's lungs. Her childhood sweetheart offers to teach her how to save her dad. But only if she is willing to give him her powers in return. #pitmad #ya #f
^^^This one received 115 likes!!!!!
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE x UPROOTED x PAPER MAGICIAN When one touch from 18yr old Clara plants poisonous blooms in her father's lungs, she finds help in a dark bargain with her childhood bff: for his help, she must give him her wild magic. #PitMad #YA #F
She's represented by Devin Ross at New Leaf Literary. Check out her website here.
As you can see, you can mix up comp titles or tweak your pitches just enough to be different.
On Getting Re-Tweets
With all this said, you could have a great pitch that no one sees. Retweets are super important for lifting your pitch to the top of the hashtag.
Agents can filter hashtags in the search bar, but you're still competing with a ton of other pitches. And when you can post multiple pitches throughout the day, it's easy to get lost.
Have your writing community support you. If you're part of a group, ask them to RT your posts
Post to Facebook groups that allow it and ask for RTs
Give a heads up on Instagram in a post or story for people to go RT
RT stranger's pitches, and hope they return the favor
Ask your Critique Partners and Beta Readers to RT
Ask your family and friends. Ask EVERYONE you know. Seriously.
Post early- 8 AM (or as soon as the contest starts) to start generating engagement and keeping that engagement
Schedule your tweets via tweetdeck, hootsuite, etc so you're not scrambling the day of
Space out your pitches to hit agents in the morning, before/after lunch, & before they leave work for the day.
Research the agents and publishers who like your tweet. Not all of them are reputable.
I hope this is all helpful. Good luck with your pitch contests!
For more helpful tips, check out my YouTube Channel.