PitMad is a recurring event on Twitter giving writers the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts to professionals in the publishing industry. If a literary agent Likes the author’s tweet, it’s an invitation to submit based on their guidelines (non-agents are asked to show their support via retweets and comments on the post).
PitMad can help writers build connections not only with these professionals, but with their fellow writers and make it easier for people like me who feel like they would be barging into their inboxes without the invitation of the Like.
Plenty of success stories have come out of PitMad, and it’s something I’ve wanted to participate in since joining Twitter ahead of launching this blog in 2018, but haven’t been able to since none of my projects felt ready. As such, I didn’t feel ready.
After several years of work, Bound to the Heart is in decent shape, at the point where I feel I have done everything I can at this moment and with the extent of my abilities as a writer, and I decided it was time to take the plunge.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as reception was concerned. I wanted to be hopeful but not be overly-expectant. The process of querying is one fraught with no-thank-yous and rejections. While PitMad can give you a sense of which agents might be interested, the key word is might. It doesn’t guarantee a partial or full request, nor an offer of representation right off the bat. It did, however, signify a big step for me, as it’s the first time I have ventured to put my fiction out there.
In the week leading up to the event, I poured myself into writing query letters and synopsis and making a few minor changes to my manuscript based on beta reader feedback, along with crafting my pitch.
The pitch refers to the all-important Tweet.
It’s not as easy as it sounds.
You have 280 characters to describe your book. That’s it. And hashtags need to be factored into it. These hashtags denote genre and age range (Children’s, Young Adult, etc.), the latter of which is mandatory.
These constraints are among the reasons I wrote my pitch ahead of time. Agents can tell when you’ve just slapped something together on the morning of.
As far as success goes,
I did only pop on once throughout the whole of the day, mainly to check that my scheduled tweet did go out and to pin it to my profile, since I had been feeling a lot of anxiety in the week leading up to PitMad because of the event itself as well as some outside sources and determined a mini-hiatus would be beneficial.
One thing I noticed was a slight trend of people posting something along the lines of, “If you follow me, I’ll follow-back and retweet your pitch!” If you’ve read my previous posts about my social media habits, especially this one, you may recall I don’t participate in auto-following back or expecting someone will follow me if I follow them, so this rubbed me the wrong way. I also saw a bunch of users post something like, “If you’re doing #PitMad, comment below so I know to retweet!” and I liked this sort of thing more because it indicates sincerely wanting to support those participating without expecting something out of it.
My follower-count has been fairly stagnant since the start of the summer, floating around 1440-ish, and I know this is in relation to my muting certain hashtags that encourage auto-following. Whenever I’m tagged in one, I get maybe about a dozen new followers, but the number drops back down after a few days.
Do followers affect your PitMad outcome? Yes and no.
While having more following you can result in more people seeing your pitch, it’s not the only factor at play. It can also be influenced by the audience your retweets have. If someone retweets my pitch, their followers might see it, and many of them might be people who are not following me and might not have seen the pitch otherwise.
People may search the PitMad hashtags on the day of the event and scroll through that, too, resulting in their coming across pitches from people they are not following.
Another variable to consider is the market. Agents perusing the PitMad hashtags for pitches they are interested in. Sometimes they might scroll past because the pitch doesn’t interest them or might be in a genre they do not represent, but it might also be related to the market. The pitch in question might be in an area that is too saturated or one that isn’t popular enough to sell even if the pitch is solid.
But it’s also a matter of luck, having that right connection online at the right time and their finding your pitch. One of the general rules of PitMad forbids reaching out to agents unless they Like your pitch first, so it’s a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping.
Even when you pour your heart, soul, and energy into your story and its subsequent pitches ahead of events like PitMad, there is no guaranteed success. With so many variables out of your control, all you can do even with your best efforts is sit back and let it happen.
My main pitch received a total twenty-eight retweets so not necessarily tremendous but better than my second getting a total of four and a combined total of three Likes.
One of the cautions to bear in mind with these numbers is that not every Like was from an agent.
In fact none of them were agents, but one was an acquiring editor at a publisher, so that was cool. I have not sent my materials to this individual yet, as I’m not as familiar with this publisher and want to do my research before submitting my work.
There are also a couple of agents I am considering sending queries to even though they did not interact with the post because they showed interest in other historical romance pitches, particularly Regency Era romances like Bound to the Heart, and may not have seen my post.
Researching agents, especially those who Like your pitch, is essential to make sure you are following their submission guidelines when querying, but also making sure they are a legitimately good fit for you and your story. An agent hitting that Like button does not mean you absolutely have to send them your materials.
I think the hardest part for me is not comparing my experience to that of other participants. I saw several pitches garnering several-hundred retweets and dozens of Likes, making my number seem even smaller. This something I’m working on in general but especially with my writing.
Overall, I think my first PitMad experience wasn’t horrendous. While I do wish I had gotten more engagement, I do know this is in part the result of my approach, tweeting two of a maximum three pitches throughout the day and not being on the platform much during the day of the event or the week leading up to it while others were putting the word out that they were participating and actively looking for retweets.
There is another PitMad event in December, and depending on how things go, I think it likely I will be jumping in to that round, too.