How To Get Attention in a Twitter Pitch Event
Hi writing friends! It has been more than a minute since I've been around this little blog of mine. Apologies! But I've been busy with exciting things that I look forward to sharing with you soon!!
Today, I wanted to talk about my experience with Twitter Pitch Events and share some ideas to help you have a really great pitch day.
I'll admit that I'm not an absolute expert on anything, but I do feel like I've learned a thing or two about pitch events from trial and MAJOR error. I literally got zero attention in all of my pitch events for 18 months. But the last 2 events were much more successful, because I learned a little more about the Twitter algorithm and now I'd like to share some thoughts with you.
BUT before I jump into some ideas, please please please remember that not matter what happens in these pitch events, you are amazing. Your work is needed in the world. And your worth has NOTHING to do with Twitter likes! If you don't get any agent love, send out a batch of queries and keep trying. I will always remember Tara Lazar saying that she has never known anyone who didn't ultimately make it in this industry if they never gave up. And I believe that with my full heart! We can ALL make it, friends!
Now... let me show you some of my stats from the last PitMad event...
For a picture book pitch, this isn't too shabby! Of these 40 likes, 10 were from agents or editors! Now, I know that we've all seen some YA pitches that are getting 600+ retweets and hundreds of likes. But my first point is this... try hard to not compare yourself to other's pitches. Be proud of your pitch and your accomplishments while cheering on your friends.
Now... remember that I told you that my first 18 months of participating in Twitter Pitch events were all major flops. Hardly any retweets and literally zero likes. Or the one stray like from the resident twitter spammer. Which seriously feels worse than zero in some ways!
So here are my 5 tips for having a great Twitter Pitch event. These are just lessons learned form my experience, so take them for what they are worth. And remember, YOU ARE VALUABLE. YOUR WORK IS VALUABLE. No amount of twitter likes or lack thereof will change that.
Write a stellar pitch! Even if you are doing these things to get seen, if your pitch isn't engaging, it's not going to draw the agents and editors in. So I start early to draft pitches, let my CPs tell me what needs to improve and offer advice, then edit them until the CPs approve. (Side note... if you don't have amazing CPs, find some! I couldn't have survived the last 2 years of this journey without amazing writer friends).
1. Avoid Scheduling Your Tweets if Possible
This goes against almost every other pitch advice post that I've read... And it's the most difficult one to follow quite truthfully. I live on the West coast, so twitter pitch events that start at 8AM EST start at 5AM my time. Yikes! So for 18 months of twitter events, I used Tweetdeck to schedule my tweets, sleep til 6:30 or 7:00, and then get up to see how my tweets were doing. And every single time, they were burried under hundreds and hundreds of pitches, never to be seen. So for the last 2 twitter events, I tried something new. I woke up at 5 AM and I made sure that I was ready to engage with my tweets. (See points 2 and 3). This made a HUGE difference. The Twitter algorithm has a lot to do with engagement on your tweet. So if you aren't there to engage, Twitter isn't going to bring your tweet into the top spots.
Now I know that this will be completely impossible for people who work full time, live in a country outside of the United States and are asleep at this time, or can't be away from their kiddos in the morning (I don't have a full time job and my hubby has been super supportive and takes care of the kids on Pitch mornings). So if you can't make this happen, absolutely use TweetDeck. It's an incredible tool, and it truthfully makes life so. much. easier. But if you can avoid it, I've found it's worth the sacrifice of sleep to be awake and involved in the event.
2. Watch the Hashtags to Decide When To Pitch
Even though I was up and ready to go at 5AM, I didn't post right away. This is the part that is hard to figure out. Basically, I just watch the hashtag for awhile and see what's going on. If people don't seem to be on/engaged, then I wait. You'll see from above that I pitched this one at 5:31 AM (that's 8:31 Eastern Time). This is truthfully earlier that I did at the first event that got me some attention, but I noticed that people were starting to engage, so I wanted to jump in. Again, this is about the Twitter Algorithm. It has something to do with how quickly people engage with your tweet after you post it. So even if you have the most rockin' pitch, if you don't get the engagement, Twitter won't show it to a ton of people.
3. Pitch One, ENGAGE ENGAGE ENGAGE, Pitch More
I love supporting my writer friends during Pitch events. But I also want agents to be able to easily find my pitches on my profile. So I lead with what feels like my strongest pitch and pin that to my profile. Then I go and engage with my friends' pitches. Retweets on the contests they are allowed on, comments when they aren't. You want to have LOTS of engagement. Two reasons...
You like your friends and you want to help them! Be genuinely supportive and encouraging with no string or expectations.
When you support someone else, they will often click your profile and support you back. (That's why we pinned the first tweet to your profile).
After you've engaged and supported for awhile, go and pitch your additional MSs. Then your stuff will be at the top of your profile and easy to find, but you'll still have supported your friends.
4. Respond to Early Comments On Your Pitch As Soon As Possible
This one has to do with that algorithm again. Within the first 30 min or so of pitching, you'll want to respond to all the comments you're getting if possible. That will bump you up in the Top posts a bit too.
5. HAVE FUN!
Pitch events have a LOT going on. And there's a chance that your stuff will just get buried. I've been there. Mine definitely has. But I still had SO much fun with every event. Even the many MANY events where I didn't get a single like or retweet, I had a good time. Because I met knew writer friends, saw some books that I'm SO excited about buying some day when they are picked up, and made meaningful connections. While getting a like is exciting, and might move you to the top of an agent's "to read" pile, remember that most agents sign with their clients directly out of the slush pile. So if you get a like, congrats! Send that off, knowing the agent is excited to see it! And if not, no worries! Send a few queries and put yourself out there!
Now this might all sound like a lot of craziness and WAY too much screen time. And it probably is! haha. But I figured it was worth sharing about my crazies in case anyone else is curious about different things that have worked. Also... I should mention that I spend about an hour to an hour and a half doing these things. And then I log off until my kid's nap time. So it sounds like a lot of craziness, and for about an hour it IS, but then you're done! I log back on later to check on things and send the second round of pitches, but I don't invest in them as much for my own sanity (and so my kids don't go crazy). I often set the second round of pitches up through TweetDeck and just let them be. Balance is important in my life! haha.
Have you found any tips and tricks to getting seen in Twitter Pitch events? What works for you?
Good luck everyone! I can't wait to see your books in the world!
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