Crafting Twitter Pitches

Post by Reem Khaleel

I have had a decent amount of success during Twitter Pitch Parties. What exactly is a Twitter Pitch Party? A Twitter Pitch Party is where authors looking for literary agent or publisher representation for their novels can pitch completed novels in the short form of a tweet. Participating agents and editors can then like your pitches, which is their way of inviting you to submit a query for your novel to them. A Twitter Pitch is exactly like an elevator pitch, using only 280 characters. But condensing a 60,000 to 80,000 word novel isn’t always easy, which is why I want to share my pitch party tips and tricks with you!

Many people think Twitter Pitch Party success depends only on luck. While that’s true, a well-crafted pitch also makes a huge difference! Here’s how I crafted pitches that received four to ten agent likes during various pitch parties:

Pitch 1: Adult Contemporary Romance

Pitch 2: YA Contemporary Romance

Pitch 3: YA Contemporary

Pitch 4: YA Contemporary

Pitch Formula

All these pitches have the same formula:

  1. Comp Titles: These are novels you feel your novel is similar to. These should be novels you can see yours sitting next to in a bookstore. You can choose a comp because it uses the same tropes, has a similar voice, writing style, or premise. When choosing comps, having eye-catching and well-known comps helps during pitch parties. Try to keep novel comps to titles released within the last five years because this is the advice agents give to those querying. You can also use movie/tv show/song comps. If a movie/tv show/song comp works well with your novel, but is slightly older, ask yourself if it’s popular and modern enough before using it. Odds are if it’s a Taylor Swift song, everyone will know it, even if it’s from an earlier album. If it isn’t popular or modern enough, could you find a better choice? Notice in my first example, I use Bride Wars starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson as a comp title. This movie was released in 2009, but starred popular actresses and I felt it was pretty well-known, so I used it as a comp. This ended up working out for me, but it could have easily backfired, so really do your research before using a comp. A few ways I research a comp I’m unsure of is browsing event hashtags (Examples: #PitMad, #DVpit) with a comp title I’m considering on Twitter. This way you can see if others have used the comp recently during pitch parties. When researching for a new comp, I always check out the new releases in a bookstore/online bookstore website and read the blurbs or I do the same thing on Goodreads. I also always put the comps at the top of the pitch, so they’re immediately visible since agents seem to be drawn to good comps during pitch parties!
  2. MC & Problem: Introduces the main character and the main obstacle they face in the novel.
  3. Goal: What is the main character’s goal in the novel? This can tie into how they face the main obstacle in the novel.
  4. Stakes: What stands in the way of the main character and their goal? This is where you create tension in the pitch. You can hint at if the main character is successful at overcoming the obstacle or not, but don’t give away the answer. The point is to get an agent interested in reading more, so less is more here. Stay away from rhetorical questions in this part of the pitch because agents aren’t drawn to them the way you think they would.
  5. Hashtags: This is one of the most important aspects of the pitch. Make sure you have the correct event, age category, and genre hashtags. Agents are likely to filter pitches based on age category and genre because the event hashtag itself will be flooded with too many pitches.

I use this formula every time I craft a pitch and it hasn’t failed me yet! My pitches don’t always list the five elements in order, but by the end, all five elements are incorporated into the pitch.

More Pitch Party Advice

  1. I always try to use phrases from my successful pitches to edit my query letter because these short pitches really help to pin down the main plot points & stakes in the novel if that’s something you struggle with when writing a query letter. Example: Using your “goals” part of the pitch at the beginning of your query letter, or the “stakes” part of the pitch as the closing to your query letter.
  2. ALWAYS pin your best tweet to your Twitter profile. This makes it easier for your friends to support your pitch and help give it a boost in the event hashtag by commenting and retweeting. If you want to pin each pitch as they post, you can try that method too, but having one pinned pitch always helps me. If you get a few early agent likes on a pitch that isn’t your pinned pitch, you can also switch your pinned pitch then. I’ve done this before and later got more likes on the same pitch.
  3. Don’t pitch EXACTLY at the hour or half hour because those are the times the pitch feed gets most flooded. Choose a random interval like 8:05 am.
  4. Don’t thread your pitches! This will definitely ensure they get lost in the flood of pitches.
  5. Try to pitch in the first half of a pitch party. I’ve noticed that agent activity dies down after around noon during pitch parties. Some agents come back at the end of business day, but only notice the pitches made earlier in the day. My pinned pitch always is made right at the start of pitch parties and gets the most likes.
  6. If you’re in an international time zone, schedule your pitches ahead of time! This has quite honestly saved me several times because pitch parties often happen at night in my time zone!
  7. Try to monitor agent activity at the beginning of the event. Space out your pitches accordingly. I’ve found that pitching every two hours works for me, until all my pitches are posted.
  8. Make sure to read the event guidelines, so you know how many pitches you’re allowed as this will vary with each pitch event.
  9. Take a deep breath, relax, and support all the wonderful pitches! Don’t refrain from commenting or retweeting other pitches out of fear that will make your own pitches less noticeable. The most important part of a pitch event is to interact with other authors, otherwise they will be a very lonely and soul-crushing experience. I’ve had pitch parties with no agent likes. It’s already hard not to be discouraged by that, but if you go through it alone it’s worse. I mostly participate in every pitch event I can to connect with other authors and I have made so many new writing friends through all the pitch parties I’ve participated in!
  10. Remember to NEVER like anyone’s pitch because this is reserved ONLY for agents and editors. Some pitch parties have retweets reserved for ONLY editors so make sure you read the event guidelines to know whether to comment or retweet to support your friends.
  11. If you get an agent like, make sure you research the agent first. The only thing worse than not getting an agent like would be getting fooled by a schmagent during a pitch event. Also make sure to check out the Twitter profiles of all agents who like your pitch for their pitch party query instructions before querying them. Almost always they have different query instructions for pitch parties than their normal query guidelines and most of them will tweet their pitch event instructions at the start of the event.
  12. DON’T mention agents or crawl into their DM’s with your pitch, unless they ask you to do so after liking your pitch to get query instructions, or they’re looking for pitches they missed in the genres they’re acquiring and ask people to send them pitches in their mentions or DM’s.
  13. For your own sanity, don’t stare at your Twitter feed all day hoping for a like. If you want to check up on your pitches from time to time, bookmark them on Twitter to look at the likes. This makes it easier to find them again without having to scroll through your own Twitter feed.
  14. Even if you don’t get agent likes, browse the hashtag after the event to see which agents are acquiring your genre, check out their manuscript wishlists, and cold query them! It’s impossible for an agent to see every pitch on the event feed, so they might still love your book, even if they didn’t like your pitch. They might not have even seen the pitch, the only way you will know for sure if a novel will be a fit for them is if you query them through their regular submission process. Make sure you use their regular submission process though because they won’t want to see unsolicited queries using their query instructions for the event.

Remember pitch parties are only one potential way to find the perfect agent for you. Whether you have pitch party success or not isn’t going to be the “be all, end all” of your writing career. But your writing will be. Try not to be discouraged by pitch party likes and agent rejections. I know it’s hard because I’m going through it too! But I always try to keep my eye on the next project. The only thing you can do is keep improving on your craft and don’t stop writing, so one day you will achieve your dreams! I hope that this blog post helps anyone looking for a little guidance in crafting pitches.

Happy pitching!

List of 2022 Pitch Events:

January 26 (8 am to 8 pm EST): #IWSGpit — Twitter pitch to agents/publishers for all UNAGENTED authors of every genre and age category

February 17 (8 am to 8 pm EST): #PBpit — Twitter pitch to agents, exclusively for all UNAGENTED authors of picture books

February 24 (8 am to 6 pm Eastern): #SFFpit — Twitter pitch to agents/editors for all UNAGENTED science fiction and fantasy authors only—all age categories

March 17: #RevPit — Twitter contest to win developmental edit on a full fiction manuscript from a professional editor

NEW EVENT! April 7 (8AM EST – 8PM EST): #MoodPitch — Twitter pitch to agents using a moodboard pitch for all UNAGENTED authors.

April 14 (8AM EST – 8PM EST): #LGBTNPit — Twitter pitch event for UNAGENTED queer, trans and non-binary authors to pitch their books to agents & editors.

May 5 (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #APIpit — Twitter pitch event to showcase pitches from any UNAGENTED author and/or illustrator of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent.

NEW EVENT! May 17 (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #SmoochPitTwitter pitch event to showcase Adult romance pitches by authors of color.

NEW EVENT! May 19 (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #SmoochPit— Twitter pitch event to showcase YA romance pitches by authors of color.

May 19 (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #PitDark — Twitter pitch for UNAGENTED authors of manuscripts that contain an element of horror or darker writing in a range of age categories

June TBA (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #HivePitch— Twitter pitch to agents for all UNAGENTED authors. Part of the 2022 WriteHive Conference, taking place virtually June 10-12

June 23 (8am—8pm EDT): #PitchDis — Twitter pitch event to showcase pitches from all UNAGENTED authors from the disabled community

NEW DATE! August TBA (8am—8pm ET): #DVPit — Twitter pitch to agents for all UNAGENTED marginalized authors and illustrators only for children’s & teen fiction/nonfiction

NEW DATE! August TBA (8am—8pm ET): #DVPit — Twitter pitch to agents for all UNAGENTED marginalized authors and illustrators only for adult fiction/nonfiction and for artists & illustrators using #DVart

September TBA (8am—8pm CDT): #LatinxPitch — Twitter pitch for all UNAGENTED and AGENTED Kidlit LATINX authors, author-illustrators, and illustrators

October 5 (8am to 8pm ET): #KidLitGN — Twitter pitch for UNAGENTED writers and illustrators of middle grade and younger graphic novels and graphic books for children

October TBA (8 am to 8 pm Eastern): #PitDark — Twitter pitch for UNAGENTED authors of manuscripts that contain an element of horror or darker writing in a range of age categories

NOTE: #KissPitch , #PitMad , and #FaithPitch are pitch events that are no longer happening from 2022 onwards.

Have you ever tried pitching literary agents/editors on Twitter? I want to hear about it! Comment any questions you might have about Twitter pitching below.

Reem is a young adult contemporary/romantic comedy author from the Maldives. She has lived in various corners of the world, including New York, Tokyo, California, and Kuala Lumpur throughout her life. She loves writing heartfelt stories filled with love and friendship. She is a 2021 graduate from the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at The New School.

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8 thoughts on “Crafting Twitter Pitches

  1. Wow!!!! This is so loaded! Thank you for sharing such amazing advice and resources! Reading your summary I already want a copy of the books 😄

    Liked by 2 people

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