1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Twitter Pitch Party

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by GingerCoffee, Jan 21, 2016.

    Interested to hear what people think of this Twitter Pitch proposal by Curtis and Brown, literary agents.
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Well, it would certainly take less work than sending a query letter.
     
  3. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are a lot of these things - #PitMad, #SFFPit, #AdPit. There are others and a lot of agents do participate. However, keep in mind that if an agent does select your tweet in one of these things, you're still going to have to send them a standard query letter. Basically these are a way of getting agents to invite you to query based on their interests rather than you just taking stabs in the dark at who might like your stuff.

    They're a great resource because they reverse the polarity of the author-agent relationship, but don't thing this gets you out of writing a query letter. Also, it ain't no picnic distilling your book into 140 characters and matching up against a bunch of other people doing the same thing at the same time.

    But definitely go in on Twitter pitch parties.
     
  4. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Sounds like a good way to capture some attention from agents, but you've got only 140 characters to pitch your book along side a few hundred or thousand (don't know how popular these things are) other people. I guess you really want to think "outside the box" when attempting this.

    As long as there's no downside to not getting picked though I would encourage anyone to give this a go. Maybe you'll be lucky... who knows? :)
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Could be good practice, get that log line down.
     
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  6. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah I'm thinking of mine for when I get this darn thing finished. Hopefully soon. And they usually allow multiple tweet within some limit, just not the same one repeated and each one should be a complete pitch.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, much the same as with a FTF pitch session.
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just when I thought agents couldn't get any lazier or less respectful of writers ...this??? Instead of reading a one-page query letter, they now only have to read 140 words to make up their mind about you? Well, that's going to pinpoint a quality book, for sure.

    By all means, do it if you want to, and condensing your novel into 140 words is probably great practice for whatever. But all your hard work distilled into a tweet? Bloody hell. That's pure anti-reading, that is. (Grinch grinch.)

    You did ask us what we though of this idea, @GingerCoffee. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Yeah, I'm happy to hear what people think of it.

    Have you considered rather than agents being lazy, this is a way to screen a larger volume of potential novels? You always hear about huge slush piles.

    Robert Redford was talking about the Sundance Film Festival on Democracy Now the other day. He said they had 12,000 entries. They show something like 160 films.

    A Twitter pitch party seems like one way to sort the wheat from the chaff. Yes, it's frustrating to think you might have to sell your novel in one or two sentences. On the other hand, it forces you to boil it down, what is your novel really about?

    I'm working right now on getting my two timelines to relate to each other. I'm so immersed in my story, I just love it. But my son reminded me, is the earlier timeline just a means of character development? I could tell he wasn't immersed in the story the same way I was.

    That's good, not bad. I recognize that being immersed means I might lose sight of the story I'm telling.

    My goal is to write a meaningful story, not just one where I can live in another world for a while. So, is the earlier timeline character building? World building? Does the protagonist learn lessons? Or not learn them and make the same mistakes in the current timeline? Is my goal to reveal the contrasts between the egalitarian society my character is from compared to the class divided world she finds herself in?

    All this helps me focus on my story in a way I wouldn't have were I not challenged by people asking me to boil it down to what it really is about.

    I'm not saying I'll eventually try for a Twitter pitch. I may find that 140 characters simply can't describe the story. But there is a benefit in trying to focus on the meaning your story has, not just the events that occur.
     
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  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I'm not arguing that it might not work for anybody. And yes, it's certainly a way to filter submissions. But to what end?

    Think about it this way. How many times have you read a blurb on the outside of a book (a lot more than 140 words) and thought ...yes, that sounds good. Only to open the book and discover that it's actually either poorly-written, or not what you thought it would be after all? What's the percentage of books you pick up and look at, versus the ones you actually buy? Never mind actually enjoy.

    I'd say if you'd read the same number of words from the actual book itself, rather than simply looked at the cover and read the blurb, you'd have come to a more accurate conclusion about the book—and more quickly, too.

    Yes, a blurb plus good cover design can help to sell a book to the reading public. But I maintain it's NOT going to give anybody a clue about the quality of the writing inside. It's the agent and publisher's job to sell the bloody book with such devices. It's the author's job to write it.

    Agents are supposed to be looking for writers they can represent, so why are they so afraid to actually sample the writing itself? It might take a bit longer than scanning 140-word tweets, but they'd have a lot clearer idea of whether they're rejecting something good or not. Instead they're erecting barriers between themselves and the work—and forcing novelists to become tweeters and salespeople. Which does NOT reflect the writer's ability to build and maintain a good novel! They are two radically different sets of skills.

    I'd love to see statistics on how many times agents ask for submissions based on 'good' query letters—which have a lot more space than 140 words to 'sell' the product—but then reject the follow-up submissions. If query letters were a sample of the quality of the book itself then most successful query letters would result in publication—no?

    I think most writers would be happy to wait a longer time for their submissions to be rejected, if they knew the agent had actually given the writing itself a glance. And with electronic submissions the 'done thing' these days, it's not as if mounds of paper are going to accumulate in the agent's trash bin or slush pile.

    I maintain that it doesn't take ANY longer for an agent to read three paragraphs from an actual story than it does to read a 3-paragraph query-pitch letter. If the story sounds good from that small sample, the agent can read on from there, or ask the writer for more information about the plot, etc. In other words, why not reverse (not increase) the submissions process? Read first, ask questions later? It won't take up any more of the agent's time, but will be a hell of a lot more accurate as to the quality of the submitted work.

    I'm not convinced this Twitter thing is any kind of a good step at all. It removes the writer even farther from the agent than the traditional query-pitch letter. In fact, I think this is all getting pretty silly. What's next? Summarise your book in six words? Or one well-chosen word? So you can learn to condense everything you write into sound bites? Bloody hell.

    .........

    As @Shadowfax pointed out, the submission is 140 CHARACTERS, not words. Egad....
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'm actually of two minds on this. On the one hand, I do appreciate the fact that agents are performing a function that really should be done by the publishing houses (and was, back when publishing houses were not just pawns on the corporate chess board), while the formula for their compensation has remained a percentage of the successful writer's percentage of sales. It's a formula that demands a very high rate of success, and the quaint notion of the intrepid publisher nurturing the young and promising writer has been untenable for half a century, now. In a sense, the notion of a 140-character pitch saves both the writer and the agent time and effort - if the agent isn't "grabbed" by it, the writer doesn't have to craft a complete query in accordance with the agent's submission guidelines, and the writer who doesn't connect doesn't have to wait for his/her rejection. Instead, we all move on immediately.

    On the other hand, this does strike me as yet another instance of agents looking for a way to reject quickly, as if we don't have more than enough of those already. I just checked, and the opening paragraph of my query letter is 219 characters. With some contortions, I can get down to 140. So, that's what we're really talking about - a lobotomized opening paragraph of a query letter. Wouldn't an agent (or her assistant, or the intern) read at least that much before screaming "Next!!" and hitting "delete"? And assuming that those 140 characters are enough to catch the agent's interest (after the assistant or intern - because, let's face it, that's who is going to wade through the river of tweets), the agent then has to respond to the writer to ask for the actual query. At the same time, the key component of a direct pitch at a writers' conference - direct personal interaction between writer and agent - is absent here. So, I really don't see that the writer fares any better with the tweet than with the traditional query process.

    Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
     
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  12. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I just don't buy that you can judge whether a book is your thing, or whether it's sellable, in 140 characters. Or even in a 250 word query.

    I know I'm biased, because I'm very aware that my querying sucks and the whole submission process works entirely against me, but I think even if I wasn't a writer trying to get published, I would be saying the same.

    I don't really know what anyone gets from this Twitter process, apart from some profile raising for the agency. It doesn't seem like a process that is going to save any time at all, or increase the chances of the agency finding good manuscripts.

    I'm not disagreeing with you, Ed, by the way. You make good points.
     
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  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    They're actually talking 140 characters...taking the first 140 characters of your post (I'm not counting the spaces as characters...I'm not sure whether I should?) you end up with 33 words.


    Well, I'm not arguing that it might not work for anybody. And yes, it's certainly a way to filter submissions. But to what end?
    Think about it this way. How many times have
     
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  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Neither do I. And every time I query an agent who only wants to see a query letter and the first 5 or 10 pages, I get that sinking feeling. OTOH, one such query did result in a request for a one-week exclusive read of the entire ms. Hope lives.
     
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  15. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll put in a counterpoint which is that the point of these pitch parties is to take a bit of the stress off the authors. We normally have to guess at what an agent wants or who to query at a specific agency based on their profile. These twitter parties eliminate that by having the pool of agents select premises that they already think they might like - it gets you past the initial problem of taking wild guesses and at least puts your stuff in front of someone who thinks they're looking for it.
     
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  16. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    From what I've been hearing, though, I kind of wonder if these agents are actually seeking writers—or if they're just making a pretty good living off working at pitch parties. For which, they presumably get paid—by the organisers of said parties. It costs an arm and a leg to attend a pitch party, so that money is going someplace. I'm highly suspicious of the whole process.

    Does anybody know anybody who has actually been published as a result of a pitch party? I'm sure there will be a few who do, but I wonder about the percentage. I understand that people need to have achieved a certain standard of writing to be allowed to attend (and pay for) a pitch party (face to face.) So it seems to me that lots of new authors should get their break from these events? But do they?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  17. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't speak for in-person parties but the Twitter based ones have produced a lot of publications, a lot of agent representations, and a few agents who have the bulk of their list from that method. Also the online ones are free to enter.
     
  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Fair enough. Of course if no money changes hands, these Twitter-based agents probably ARE looking for writers. It's the ones who get paid to attend pitch conferences in person that make me suspicious.
     
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  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Who's getting paid? I don't think agents are making money off screening Twitter posts.
     
  20. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I believe I did mention that earlier.
     
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  21. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    All this Twitter stuff sounds too complicated, and underhanded, for the novice writer - perhaps even the experienced writer. I'll take a pass on the whole thing and suffer 'the loss' of not engaging Twitter people. What a complicated business we're in!!!!
     
  22. dreamersky1212
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    dreamersky1212 Active Member

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    I did it. I pitched my logline (the one that everyone seemed to like) from my query. And I got a response from an agent. It's not a request to submit the full manuscript, just an invitation to query knowing that the agent has nibbled and now it's up to you and your writing to fully hook them and reel them in.

    I can understand everyone's view that it's not an accurate summary of the story, but think about it this way, when you go into a book store, there are thousands of books available. There is no way that you could read, or would even want to, every book there or even read the blurbs of more than a few dozen before your eyes started to cross. So how do you narrow the search?

    You go to the section of your preference, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Non-Fiction...etc and then (lets be honest) you look at the covers.

    These tweets are not a test of your writing style, they are a way to put your book into a category so that an agent can quickly determine if your book would even be in their section. If you are, then they read the words of the tweet as if scanning the covers of the potential books. When they find one that looks promising, they 'like' it and ask you to query them (which would be the equivalent of picking up the book and reading the blurb - or the first few pages).

    I have been querying for a few months now, and have received 9 rejections thus far, most of them used the line 'not right for me' or 'not my style' in their rejections. I quickly realized that it was going to be slow torture to send queries out based on a paragraph on an agents submission page and cross my fingers that it fits their taste. So, to me, knowing that if my book was on the shelf, the agent is at the point of flipping to the back cover to read the blurb, is reassuring.
     
  23. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not at a stage where I am ready to do something like this, but I would love to hear how to turns out for you, like if the one that took interest is the one that eventualy publishes you.

    I would also love to hear how you condensed your story down to 140 characters if you are willing to share. :)
     
  24. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Good luck @dreamersky1212, I do hope you get a response. :D
     
  25. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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