Tips and Tricks for Writing Successful Twitter Pitches

Or, general tips and tricks for pitching on Twitter, and how pitching SFF is different from pitching other genres.

twitch

This is going to be a long one, folks. Skip around as needed!

Update from 2018—I wrote this post in 2014, and it’s been so cool seeing these practices put to work in Twitter pitches over the last four years. It’s been unreal knowing that some are now books I own or can pre-order! Some things have changed (like contest rules and the character limit on tweets), and I’ve added clarification where I felt it was needed, but much of the advice I gave then I’d still give now.

Update from PitchMAS—when pitching in a general pitch party, your hashtags matter so much more. Make it easy for an agent to find you, or they never will. I tried searching for different genres during the party so I could retweet—I couldn’t find them because people weren’t using effective search terms. Use age category tags and genre tags, plus relevant and appropriate keywords (like “Bechdel” or “WNDB”—see my notes on references below).

Contents

  1. Well-Known Twitter Pitch Events
  2. Tips for Pitching on Twitter
  3. The Importance of Hashtags
  4. After the Pitch Party
  5. My Personal SFFpit Results
  6. Analysis of my Personal SFFpit Results
    1. Analysis of Timing
    2. Analysis of Focus
    3. On Voice
    4. On Comp Titles and Culture References
    5. On Fresh Premises and Trendy Topics
    6. On Hashtags, Again
  7. Final Thoughts

Well-Known Twitter Pitch Events

  • PitMad, for pretty much everybody, 4x/yr*
  • PitchMAS, for pretty much everybody, 2x/yr**
  • SFFpit, for Science Fiction and Fantasy works, 2x/yr
  • AdPit, for Adult works (as in, not PB, MG, or YA works)
  • DVPit, for pitches from marginalized voices that have been historically underrepresented in publishing, each April***

*(see PitMad’s new rules! Only 3 pitches total, not twice per hour. Make sure you are tweeting what will catch your genre’s agents’ attention, and use hashtags!)
**Looking at my winning pitches from PitchMAS, hashtags and keywords mattered most, then other references, then stakes.
***Read DVPit’s about page before deciding whether you qualify.

Tips for Pitching on Twitter

Favorite Resources for Twitter Pitching:

The following advice stems from a series of Tweets published December 8th, 2014. Follow me on Twitter! @LaraEdits is devoted to writing and editing tips. If you aren’t on Twitter, you can still bookmark my feed.

A hook can be interesting MC, conflict, stakes, fresh premise, or voice. Pitch whichever is strongest in your novel.

It’s impossible to convey how unique your MC, setting, conflict, premise, or voice is all at once, in one tweet. Which is the MOST different compared to other novels?

If your pitches are falling flat, adjust your selling point. You might be trying to pass a swan story off as a duck one.

Twitter pitches are so short, you have to pick your focus. Character, stakes, conflict, premise, voice…pick two per pitch.

That way, if an agent goes to your feed, they don’t see the same pitch repeated, and they see that 1) your novel is complex, 2) you can pitch in a variety of ways (i.e. you’re a skilled writer), 3) you are open to variance in writing (i.e. you’d be willing to do necessary rewrites)

During these Twitter Pitch Parties, you can usually pitch once or twice per hour. That’s 12 to 24 different opportunities to pitch! Vary them by focus and by hashtags, but only use relevant hashtags. (This rule has now changed for PitMad)

I use the free version of Buffer to 1) schedule my pitches beforehand and 2) see their effectiveness afterward.

I’d recommend at least 6 different pitches, with different focuses, repeated with different hashtags (if more than two are applicable). And out of those 6-12 differently focused, no-words-wasted, intriguing pitches, tweet your most fantastic ones at peak times. That is, as soon as the pitch party starts, and at lunch time EST, lunch time PST, and after-work hours. There will be more tweets then, and that’s likely when agents will do the most browsing, so your tweets then matter most.

There will be too many tweets for each agent to read. That’s why you need to use hashtags effectively (see below). You can always query those you think are a good fit for your novel (check #MSWL).

The Importance of Hashtags

The reason you need to use genre or age category hashtags in Twitter pitch parties is because that’s how agents filter through the feed. They can’t see every tweet! One agent was looking for Adult Fantasy works. She searched “#SFFpit #A #Fa” and that’s how she found my tweet.

KNOW THY GENRE. If you write speculative fiction, read my Straightforward Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Sub-Genres.

There are two deciding factors in assigning an age category. One is the age of the protagonist. One is the age of the audience, based on the age of protagonist and the content of the novel. If your protagonist is an adult, you can’t pitch it for kids. If your content is too mature for kids, it needs to be pitched at a higher age category. If the tone is too simple or cutesy for the intended audience, that needs to be fixed. Agents will reject YA novels if it “sounds MG.” (See When Voice and Genre Don’t Match)

What is New Adult? New Adult is a contemporary construct that stems from the post-adolescent phenomenon. If your novel contains an 1) 18-to-20-something protagonist with a 2) contemporary mindset 3) transitioning between adolescent and adult life, then you can pitch it as #NA. Note, though, that this started as a subcategory of romance, and some agents and publishers still consider it “YA romance + more sex” OR “adult romance with younger MCs.” NA is all about navigating the world as a newly-released-into-the-wild adult. It concerns itself with firsts: first job, first home, first “serious” relationship.

NA is new, because historically, people were children, and then, after they hit puberty, they were adults. In the 20th century, more people attended school past puberty, and eventually (post WWII), people were divided into children, teenagers, and adults. Now, people aren’t considered adults until 25, which leaves us with a 19-to-25-year-old category: new adults.

Calls for Diversity: #WNDB, #OWN, and #DVpit

If you (or in some cases, your protagonist) qualify, you can use the #WNDB hashtag, which stands for the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag but gives you considerably more characters to work with.

(2018 update, since I absolutely needed additional clarification here: 

  • Remember that diversity is NOT a trend. It is not a label you “add in” as an afterthought to sell more books. If you are wanting to write characters who are marginalized in a way you are not, invest your time in researching setting, culture, attitudes, worldview, and language, and invest your money in sensitivity reads.
  • If you aren’t a marginalized author writing about a character sharing that marginalization, do not use #own or #ownvoices. Secondhand experience is not enough. Read DVpit’s notes on marginalization here.
  • Some voices are not yours to borrow, and some stories are not yours to tell. Do we need another LGBT coming-out story written by a cishet person? Should another white American write from a slave’s perspective? Do not profit off another’s pain, especially if your ancestors or your greater community were the ones who caused the pain.

)

After the Pitch Party

What to do after Twitter pitch parties: STOP. Celebrate agent interest and newfound friends, analyze which pitches worked best, research agents.

DON’T:
Jump into querying too soon.
Query more than 1 agent per agency.
Query agents / presses that seem shady.

DO:
Query only agents / presses you’d trust your MS (& career!) with.
Take time to research agents and tailor your query for each. Try to send within the week.

If you sit at the bar and keep using the same line over and over again, it’s not going to be very successful unless you’re Ryan Gosling. You need to tailor your pitches based on the type of agent you want to represent you.

SFFpit Results

For the sake of this post, all times given are in CST Central Time.

Remember, #SFFpit is for writers and agents of speculative fiction. Agents looking for other genres might act differently. In fact, I expect they will. Be sure to read my analysis below.

Dan Koboldt, host of SFFpit, posted his results of the 2014 Twitter Party. A quick look:

  • 641 authors tweeted 6,000 pitches
  • 32 literary agents made 355 requests
  • 11 small presses also participated
  • 32% of authors received at least one request from an agent
  • 14% of authors got requests from 2 or more agents

My results

  • I tweeted 24 times, once every half hour from 7am–7pm.
  • I pitched 22 completely different pitches for the same manuscript. I re-pitched two.
  • During those 12 hours, I received 143 RTs and 17 requests—10 from agents, 6 from small presses (one small press requested twice).

While I will certainly be looking into the small presses, this specific blog post is going to consider what the agents were looking for.

37.5% (9/24) of my pitches received requests from both agents and small presses.

25% received requests from literary agents. Here are the 6 winning pitches:

7:47 am, pinned to the top of my page, 26 RTs and 5 agent requests

Tagged: Premise, Voice, Reference

9:47 am, 9 RTs and 1 agent request

Tagged: Premise, Reference

12:47 am, 1 RT, 1 agent request, 1 press request

Tagged: Premise, Stakes

1:17 pm, 1 RT and 1 agent request

Tagged: Character, Premise, Reference

2:17 pm, 4 RTs, 1 agent request, 1 press request

Tagged: Premise, Stakes, Reference

3:17 pm, 1 RT, 1 agent request, 1 press request

Tagged: Voice, Premise, Reference

Audience Choice—Three pitches received 10 or more RTs but yielded no agent response:

Tagged: Stakes, Voice

Tagged: Stakes, Premise, Reference

Tagged: Stakes, Voice

The tweet that received the most RTs was actually the first and third “Audience Choice.” It was the clear winner in critique groups, and I thought for sure it would be my most successful pitch. 29 total RTs … zero agent response.

SFFpit Analysis

For the sake of this post, I will only be analyzing the requests from agents, not small presses. Realize that this is an extremely small sample and is particular to my genre and premise. To make this really scientific, I’d need to analyze every agent favorite per category. If anybody wants to go ahead and do that, please do! If you want to do the same analysis I’m doing here, blog about it and comment below with a link so readers can see your responses as well.

Analysis of Timing

I started off the day with what I thought were some of my strongest pitches. My second post did better than my first, so I immediately pinned that to the top of my page. It went on to be my most successful pitch of the day, likely because it was pinned to the top of my page.

If you post great ones at the beginning of the day, they will be retweeted throughout the day, getting your pitch in front of more people.

The chart below shows the time the number of RTs and Requests (both agent and small press) by time posted.

Time Posted

I don’t know how to see when the agents were online, but I vaguely remember a surge of notifications at around 10 am CST, and in the afternoon, around 3 pm CST.

Analysis of Focus

I tagged my 22 different pitches by their focus:

  • Conflict
  • Character
  • Stakes
  • Voice
  • References (comp titles, pop culture references, social references, relevant diversity movements)
  • Premise

As you can see, the audience favorites were definitely those pitches with clear stakes and a strong voice.

audience

While most advice I see regarding pitching focuses on conflict and stakes, the success rate of my pitches suggests that isn’t necessarily what agents are looking for, at least in SFF, at least in my genres.

Two guesses.

One: Because the past decade has given us multimillion dollar Science Fiction and Fantasy franchises, agents who represent these genres receive more derivative work than manuscripts from other genres. That’s why, today, in SFF, a fresh premise is important.

Two: Speculative fiction often features a clear antagonist. Whether it’s good vs evil, humanity vs aliens, or one girl against the world, it’s generally assumed that conflict and stakes are a given.

So if you aren’t writing SFF, don’t think that your pitches don’t need stakes!

Granted, my tweets that focused on stakes didn’t do bad at all, but they certainly didn’t do as well as ones with other focuses, as you can see:

All ten agents who requested on one of my tweets selected one tagged “premise.” Nine selected one with a reference of some sort, six chose one with strong voice.

Agents Selection

However however however!

Not all of my “premise” tweets were successful. Let’s look at the success rate of each focus based on my 24 tweets.

Out of all six tags, the tweets with references (I’ll go through the references below) had the highest success rate at 50%. Of my 10 tweets with references, 5 got requests.

Those are pretty great odds.

The odds get even better when I start combining tags.

success-rate

Now, here my sample size is showing, but of the 2 tweets that had both strong voice and a culture reference, 100% got a request.

And I’m thinking that the 0 requests for my Stakes + Voice pitches is more proof that pitching SFF just isn’t the same as pitching other genres. Those poor little babies. Maybe they’ll do better during PitchMAS.

At bigger sample sizes, the results might not be the same, but one thing’s for certain:

No matter your genre, your pitches with strong voice and apt pop culture references are most likely to get noticed.

On Voice

It takes practice to have a natural voice to your writing. Voice = diction = word choice. Use specific nouns, verbs, and adjectives. See my posts on diction here.

On Comp Titles and Pop Culture References

I’ve spent months trying to find the best comparative titles for my novel. Here’s how to do it.

HOW TO CHOOSE COMP TITLES

1—Choose a novel that matches your novel in at least 2 of the following categories: genre, premise/plot, time, place, protagonist type, conflict, tone, audience, event.

2—Find another work that matches both your book and your first comp title in two or more of those categories.

My most successful pitch was The Princess Bride + Lost in Austen. While it isn’t a novel (I’d love to read it!), Lost in Austen matches my novel in genre (literary fantasy) and premise/plot (contemporary MC goes to a historical, fictional world, tries to get home, falls in love reluctantly with a local). The Princess Bride matches my novel and Lost in Austen in genre, and it matches my novel in tone (the irreverent humor), audience, time and place (medieval Europe-ish), and event (the wedding crashing).

Remember that when you are pitching a book to an agent, you are pitching a book to a reader. A reader that reads professionally. You’re also pitching to a professional. A professional that needs to make a living.

With that in mind, here are my 7 tips for including references in Twitter pitches:

  1. Be relevant—references to classical literature and old books aren’t as successful as ones published in the last two–three years. Show that you’re aware of what’s in the market today.
  2. Be literary—make at least one of your comparative titles a novel, if possible. Show that you read your genre.
  3. Be realistic—your references need to work for your novel. See “How to Choose Comp Titles” above.
  4. Be humble—Don’t claim to be the next [Insert Famous Author Here]. Instead, use one of their recent books as a comparative title.
  5. Be specific—compare your characters to well-known characters (I picked Taylor Swift and Chuck Bartowski)
  6. Be savvy—if you can make a reference to a still-current movement that affects publishing, do, but only if it applies to you or your manuscript (Examples: WNDB, LGBTQ, Bechdel and Mako Mori feminism tests. Read my note on diversity movements in the hashtag section.)
  7. Be awesome—refer to something geeky or a cult classic that hasn’t been mentioned for a while and will stir up nostalgia. Everybody mentions Black Panther and Buffy and recent blockbusters. Give me more Veronica Mars, Donnie Darko, more 80s and 90s and 00s references.

On Fresh Premises and Trendy Topics

By “fresh premise” I mean pitching something that the market isn’t currently saturated in. Pay attention to agents who tweet their responses to queries (#tenqueries, #querylunch, #500queries), and you’ll see what they are receiving a lot of. Right now, winter 2014, they are receiving a lot of paranormal, dystopians, fairy tale retellings, and urban fantasy. Ghosts, angels, demons, werewolves, mermaids, psychics, empaths.

So if you’re pitching something trendy, focus on what makes your novel different, what makes yours unique, not on what makes it trendy.

The good news about publishing is that it’s cyclical. So you can try to grab the readers now, while they are hungry, by self-publishing, or you can wait a couple of years until the big publishers come back to it. Remember that anything that is trendy now, won’t be in two years when the books being written now are being put out on bookshelves. You either have to be a year or two ahead of the market, or a couple years behind. I heard one editor at a big 5 publisher say she was ready to start looking at vampire books again. Give it time. (And please don’t ask me which editor. I don’t remember because it wasn’t applicable to me personally. If you have an agent, s/he should know.)

(Note: In April 2018, agents were aflutter on Twitter actively looking for more vampires. See?!)

On Hashtags, Again

Use them. Of the agents who requested from my pitches, here are the total number of requests they made during the SFFpit event, in descending order:

40, 34, 33, 33, 7, 6, 5, 3, 3, 3

If you take into consideration all the favorites and the 32 agents who participated, a single agent, on average, chose only 11 pitches. Out of six thousand.

Final thoughts

Research what agents are looking for. See which Wish Lists are compatible with your novel, and then try to guess what that agent might search for during a pitch party. If one of your favorite agents is looking for space opera, use that hashtag, or if there isn’t a designated hashtag list, use those words in one of your pitches. That way when an agent searches “#SFFpit space opera,” your pitch will pop up.

#CPPitch—Choose your Top 5

If you entered #CPPitch before September 1st, you may choose your five top picks below. It might be a good idea to have the list open in another tab while making your list here. Remember that you can choose from any category. On September 3rd or 4th, you’ll receive an email from me with the query letter and first 250 words of their MS. Reply to that email with the names of your top 3 choices by 11:59 on September 6th.

On September 8th, I’ll email everyone with their CP matches. Depending on everyone’s top 3, you might be critiquing someone’s MS, and a different person might be critiquing yours. That isn’t to say that you can’t ask other people to be your CP! The point of CPPitch is to give you a sampler before you pick a CP, and also to make sure that as many people as possible get a critique partner.

All CPPitch-ers have been matched! Thank you for participating.

#CPPitch List

cppitch

Here’s your list of fellow “single” writers searching for a CP! These will be arranged alphabetically by first name on the 22nd and every two days following. That way, if you come check the list again in two days, you can see who was recently added.

Want to enter? Find the Rules and Entry Form here.

Entries are closed! Thanks to all who participated!

Bold entries below are ones selected for an edit of their query and first chapter.

Comp Titles

Does one of these pitches remind you of another book or author? Tweet the author to let him/her know. I know how difficult it can be to find comp titles to put in my own query! Remember, the best Comp Titles tend to be less than 5 years old or were debut novels.

Spread the word

The more the merrier! Consider mentioning #CPPitch to your friends on social media or by email to get them involved.

New entries are marked with an asterisk. More entries will be posted on the 28th.

Fantasy

To protect the kingdom he’s sworn to serve, Morgan McRobbie must become its worst enemy.
Keith Willis‘s TRAITOR KNIGHT, adult, 124K

In the 12th century, time-traveling musicians must save their kidnapped sister from almost certain marriage.
Lara Willard‘s ROBIN EVANS AND THE WORLD SONG, adult, 65K

One girl’s magic makes her an outlaw from her own people, and she must join with those who burned her home in order to save herself. (Note: MC is a teen, but there are multiple POVs)
Mary W. Jensen‘s FEY MOON, adult, 98K

A gangster in a heathen port city learns that he’s becoming a god, only to find out that they die too.
Justin D. Herd‘s OF GODS AND MADNESS: THE FAITHFUL, adult, 85K

Fantasy Romance

When twenty-year-old Aidelle smashes a timepiece as her fiancé leaves her, sealing herself in a timeless reality, she must cross the volatile ‘timestreams’ to rewrite their argument or be erased from existence.
Alexandrina Brant‘s WHEN THE CLOCK BROKE, adult, 80K

A slave and a prince work together to catch a murderer and find themselves falling (illegally) in love along the way.
Melanie DeWitt‘s DUSTRIEL’S BLESSING, adult, 74K

In Mithos, where True Love is the strongest form of black magic, Martia must make a choice—kill her other half or submit to their wild new power.
Tiffanie Lynn‘s THE SINNER ROSE, adult, 90K

Beta tried to forget the alien freaks that took her. But they aren’t having that. To survive she needs to remember what they did to her—fast, or risk everything she loves.
Colleen Myers‘s CAN’T FORGET, new adult, 65K

Historical Fiction or Historical Romance

Forgotten silent film star Hester Carmella chronicles her rise to fame in 1920s Hollywood, her career given an unexpected boost when her sister is brutally attacked by the future Black Dahlia killer.
Erin Foster Hartley‘s HOT TAMALE: THE LOST MEMOIRS OF HESTER CARMELLA, adult, 98K

The tangled love story of a tortured hero who must choose between letting go of the pain of his past, and the love of a woman he tried so hard to hate. WWI Europe.
Sarah Bailey‘s ALONG CAME RUTH, adult, 71K

A family sacrifices everything, including each other, in order to build the Brooklyn Bridge.
Tracey Wood‘s A BRIDGE BETWEEN US, adult, 78K

Treating his invention of a time machine like a superpower, Horatio becomes The Forever Man and returns to Belfast of 1909 to prevent the Titanic disaster—before the ship even sets sail.
SM Rose‘s THE FOREVER MAN: THE BELFAST MISSION, adult, 107K

Romantic Comedy Crime Solvers & Fighters

Texan Colt Ryder uncovers a cryptic letter in Dublin Castle and the hunt for the Irish Crown Jewels is on!
Anne Lipton‘s THE EMERALD EYE, adult, 76K

Single mom/artist/house-cleaner Jules must uncover how her deeply unpopular boss Ray ended up in a tote filled with bloody fish and slush, hopefully without ending up in a fish tote herself, a challenge for someone with her testy disposition and abrasive personality.
Diane Carley‘s THE PROBLEM WITH RAY, adult, 73K

Other Genres, Either Funny or Romantic

When Diggs, a physically unfit graphic artist, unwittingly signs himself up to run a half marathon, it pits him not only to accomplish the training and finish the race, but to save his town from extinction.
Alden Gilroy‘s NA Contemporary LOOK HOW FAR YOU’VE COME, 79K

Every book has a story to tell, separate from the one written on its pages.
Ashley Brannan‘s Adult Contemporary (w/ paranormal elements) SILVERTHORNE AND BLOOM USED BOOKS, 80K

Monsters versus Mobsters versus Monsters in 1929 New England.
D.R. Perry‘s Historical Paranormal THE CHANGED, NA, 74K

Fresh from a breakup, Michelle Fortes moves to France to heal her broken heart with cheese and wine, but instead finds culture shock, medical mysteries, and her wildest fantasies come true in Alexandre.
Elle Marr‘s Romantic Mystery HEARTS IN ROUEN, NA, 76K

A duffel bag of money found under the floorboards of a double-wide trailer funds Mara’s fresh start, but when her past and her present begin to overlap, Mara is forced to face the lies she’s been telling and the dangerous man that’s hunting her down.
Jillian B. Paige‘s Contemporary Romance THE LAST BITTER WORD, NA, 61K

While hoping to find a cure for a sexually-transmitted disease, Scarlett, a university student, has to avoid becoming sexual prey to a professor. A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.
Jo Wu‘s Steampunk Fantasy PLAYING PREDATOR, NA, 85K

An angel-museum curator is drawn into the secret world of a real winged warrior she is forbidden to desire.
Kimberly Cooper‘s Paranormal Romance THE SKYRIDERS: RISE OF THE SUNBIRD, adult, 80K

Astrid just had the best day of her life with Theo, the man of her dreams, but a day later she has completely forgotten him.
Margarita Montimore’s Upmarket Contemporary AWAKE AND ASTRAY, NA, 91K

Jody’s grandmother burns her own house down with Gramps still inside, and Jody must decide whether her loyalty lies with Gram or with the deceased Gramps.
Gabby Gilliam‘s Women’s Fiction THE FARMER’S WIFE, Adult, 67K

Ivy knows that she could have avoided the whole scene, shown Adam the door and then quietly and consistently stalked him like good girls do, but quiet desperation just ain’t her style.
Jessica Boothe Frye‘s Contemporary Romance SOME GIRLS DO, NA, 67K

Twenty-five-year-old doctor in love with her shy, stuttering best friend must overcome her mother’s disdain and his insecurities to live happily-ever-after.
Shaya Roy‘s Contemporary Romance WWW.PERFECTMATCH.COM, Adult, 82K

LIFE AFTER REDBY is a magical romp through the mind of a deranged ex-soldier reliving her survival in Zombie Hell.
Kaitlin Caul‘s Thriller LIFE AFTER REDBY, Adult, 74000

Professional demon-hunter Lazarus will take on any challenge, certain that anything he can’t punch through, his beloved boss can guide him around—but this time, his deadliest enemy is the one inside his own mind.
Melanie Weisberg‘s Urban Fantasy CHAINBREAKER, Adult, 115,500


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#CPPitch—a Critique Partner Mixer

cppitch

Have you written (or are you writing) an adult or new adult novel?*

Do you want a critique partner to work with and improve BOTH of your novels?

Is your novel between 60,000–120,000 words?**

*For the case of this mixer, any novel with a main character 18 or older, or a novel with a young protagonist but adult themes (like The Ocean at the End of the Lane) in the genres listed below will be eligible. A “New Adult” novel has a protagonist between 18-25 and concerns itself with the transition into adult life: starting a new career, navigating college, or engaging in a serious relationship.

Young adult, middle grade, or other children’s books are not included in this mixer. However, if you decide to organize your own, I will link to your information!

**If your novel is not yet finished, you can still participate if you have written at least 60,000 words in this novel. You will need to critique your partner’s work first, and he/she should not critique yours until you are finished and have edited it yourself. If you have written more than 120,000 words, you can’t expect your CP to read more than that. My advice? Cut the fat, then have your CP read your novel. Otherwise find a CP with a longer word count also.

Genres

Since I’m running this shebang, I’m picking my own genres to include. If you write straight-up romance or mystery, you can easily find critique groups online. If you wrote erotica, please organize your own CP mixer! 

Is your novel one of the following genres?

  • Fantasy
  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Historical Fiction (also Historical Romance)
  • Romantic Comedy Crime Solving / Crime Fighting (Yes, I am that specific. Think Stephanie Plum novels, The Thin Man, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, or the TV shows Castle and Veronica Mars)
  • Other (Other genres like mystery, thriller, contemporary, or literary MUST include a generous helping of either comedy or romance. Erotica is not accepted.)
  • Time Travel (I can include this under Historical Fiction or Fantasy—whichever you think will be the best fit. For Science Fiction that is not time travel, it must include either romance or comedy, and it will be listed in the “other” category.)

These are how I’ll arrange your pitches. If you wrote a time travel novel, for example, decide which category has the most family resemblance. If you wrote a funny mystery or a romantic thriller, those would go in the “other” category.

I’m going to pick one pitch from each category and give that person a free line-edit of their first ten pages!

What I will not accept

Do not enter this mixer if:

  • …your pitch/query/first 250 has words in it that will trigger my safe search or result in my getting spam emails for penile enhancement
  • …your novel is erotica, a novel about a person’s sexual journey. If the O is more important than the connection made during a sex scene, then it’s too erotic for this mixer.
  • …the romance contains infidelity
  • …the film version of your novel would garner a NC-17 rating, either for gore or sex

This mixer is for fantasy, Historical fiction, and genre fiction with romance. One or two sex scenes is fine! Rated-R sexiness is fine! If you wrote a different genre but your novel is funny, enter it into the “other” category.

Again, if you organize a mixer for other genres, let me know in the comments and I will link to your information. 

How to enter

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your name
  • Your Twitter username (if you want people to connect with you)
  • Your email (this is how I will communicate with you. It will NOT be released to anyone else without your permission)
  • Your novel’s title
  • Age category
  • Genre (see above)
  • Word count
  • A one-sentence pitch (If your protagonist is in college or is younger, include that in your pitch)
  • Your query letter (Just the main pitch, not your bio or any salutations)
  • The first 250 words of your novel (250 words MAX. Stop mid-sentence or go under.)

You have until August 31st at 11:59 pm EST to enter. 

I will post your name, Twitter handle, word count, age category, genre, and one-sentence pitch in a new post on September 2nd. Entrants will be organized by genre, not age category.

See the current list here! Check back September 1st to see the final list.

If you write several one-sentence pitches and don’t know which one to enter, tweet them with hashtag #CPPitch, ask your friends to vote, and see which has the most favorites.

Add other authors and follow them on Twitter!

September 1st and 2nd

Pick 5 stories you think you’d like to read, at least 2 from your category. (That’s right! If you wrote a fantasy, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick a funny mystery to read!) I will publish a form on the 1st which you will use to submit your list to me.

September 3rd and 4th

I will mark any entrants that got chosen to be #PitchWars mentees. Congrats to them! But they can’t participate in #CPPitch. Then I’ll email each of you the query and first 250 words from each of your top 5.

(If there are more than 100 entrants, I am NOT going to email everyone. See disclaimer below.)

September 5th and 6th

Narrow down your top 5 to just 3. Email me back with your choice by 11:59 on September 6th.

September 7th

Wait patiently while I play matchmaker. Do not email me on any other subject, please. If you have questions, ask on Twitter. I will not respond to other emails at this time.

September 8th

Continue to wait patiently until you receive an email from me with the name of your critique partner(s).


Disclaimer

I have no idea how the turnout for this mixer will be. I will sort up to 100 entrants, starting with Fantasy and working my way down. If more than 100 enter, then I’ll still list the entrants and pitches for the remaining categories, but y’all will have to choose CPs amongst yourselves.


Final words:

Of course, you can ask other members if they will critique your work, but no one is obligated to work with anyone else. Besides, you want a CP that will enjoy your story, right?

I recommend exchanging one to three chapters at a time. If it turns out one of your CPs isn’t contributing, you don’t have to give them feedback. Then you don’t critique 50 pages for someone that only critiques 2 for you in return.

Remember, be cordial to each other. Be professional. Set reasonable deadlines, but be understanding if something comes up. And be honest if something comes up for you that will keep you from contributing.

Above all, be an easy person to work with.


Submissions are now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!

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