Brenda Drake has become famous in the writing community for her Pitch Madness, or #PitMad Twitter contests. And they're awesome. Most writers will tell you--hey, why not take a chance? But I'm going to encourage you not just to take a chance but to actually work to be noticed and get query requests. One of my critique group members found her agent through #PitMad (you can read about Stacy, her books, and her story here) and another got eleven query requests that translated to seven full requests through #DivPit. But how easy is it to craft a Tweetable pitch? OK, it's hard. Here's how I did it.
First, as with all writing, I suggest having drafts. I used the notes application on my phone for this, which was a great way to easily cut and past the potential tweet. Not only could I eventually cut and past straight to Twitter, but even better, I could text it to my writing groups friends, who helped me edit the 140 characters into something interesting to agents.
So, the first few tweet-drafts were horrible. They were a lot like:
"When her father dies his death reveals his secret life and she must decide if she can deal or if she'll fight her new life #pitmad #YA"
I won't go on.
After sending it to a writing group member, who wrote back: NO, I tried again. And again. And what I found was that what worked were Tweets posed as questions, Tweets that merged two thematic ideas or tropes, and Tweets that mentioned princess anyone. I don't write princess stories unfortunately, but I tried again with the first two in mind. I came up with:
What's worse than your dad dying? Find out he had a secret life. What's even worse? Moving in with his secret boyfriend. #Pitmad #YA
*Don't forget to leave character room for the hashtags!
When I pitched this via Twitter, I had several agent requests for queries, and even an agent who already had my full favorited it.
So, why am I posting this now, when Brenda doesn't have a scheduled #Pitmad until fall? So I can stop anyone considering #PItmad from doing what I did the first time, and trying to write a Tweet the day-of. Don't be like me. Be prepared. Think question form. Think tropes to reference, think big themes. And draft, draft, draft. Because yes, you never know.
But also--the writers who take the time to form that entrancing Tweet are the ones who get lots of favorites. So go work on those 140 (minus the hashtags) characters! The next success story could be yours!