Managing Twitter Pitch Event Expectations

You’ve surely heard that no publishing journey is the same and it’s so true! Some writers will query for the first time, find an agent in days, and land a six-figure deal within a week. Although these are unicorn cases, they’re often the stories we hear most often and daydream about. Meanwhile, the reality is that most published writers will have queried and gone out on submission with multiple projects before finding a home in traditional publishing. Both cases are absolutely okay and can lead to successful writing careers. So much about the publishing industry revolves around managing expectations and doing so for pitch contests isn’t any different than for any other part of the process.

Whether this is your first time participating in a Twitter pitch day or your 10th, here are three realities that might help you manage Twitter pitch event expectations:

  1. You might not receive any likes or retweets. As recent years have gone by, Twitter pitch events have gained momentum and popularity. Although this means that more agents and editors are participating in events, it also means that lots of writers have adopted this as one of their favorite methods of gauging interest from agents/editors prior to sending out queries and pitches for their manuscripts. The most popular pitch events are reaching tens of thousands of posts. This is a lot of writers pitching on an extremely fast-moving thread, especially when the target audience doesn’t have the bandwidth to review all the tweets sent out. TIP: In order to make the most out of your Tweets, schedule them at least an hour apart so they appear at different places in the event thread.
  2. Agents and Editors might react differently to your pitch once they receive your query letter and sample pages. 280 characters is not a lot of room to completely pitch your manuscript, so it’s understandable that agents and editors might react and be more or even less excited once they receive your query letter and sample pages. TIP: Double-check that your pitch matches the content in your query letter, and that your query letter matches the content in your sample pages if applicable. Consistency can be extremely helpful in keeping agents/editors interested in your project based on what they read about it in a Tweet. 
  3. The number of likes/retweets you get on a pitch don’t necessarily matter. This one might seem contradictory; however, the reality is that you can get one like from an agent that amounts to a full request that might turn into an offer of representation, or you might get ten or thirty with the same outcome. Or an adverse outcome. TIP: More than worrying about the number of likes you might get, concentrate on celebrating that you’re putting your manuscript(s) out there and the many ways you can take advantage of a pitch event!

It’s impossible not to think of the possibilities that come with a Twitter pitch event. This might be what leads to you finding the perfect representation or even house for your project, and that’s a big deal. Hopefully these realities of what pitch events can be like, though, help you navigate the realities and what is likely to happen during the event and focus on the most important part of it all: The simple fact that you believe in your manuscript enough to participate is already a win!

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