#amquerying: #PitMad After Action Report From the Trenches

It’s been a wild week!

Last Thursday was Pitch Madness on Twitter, or as the hashtag goes, “#PitMad.” For those of you who aren’t hip and don’t care to click the handy link I provided, here are the basics.

You get 280 characters to pitch your story to agents and publishers. If they like your pitch, they click the heart. Then you query, in the hope that you’ve gotten on their radar and will thus bypass the dreaded slush pile. Your pitch has to be flagged so it’s easy for interested parties to find using the #PitMad tag, tell the basics of your story, give the age of the market you’re targeting (I gooned it on this, as you’ll see) and the genre, in my case, #UF.

In 280 characters, which means every character of hashtagging you have to do is one less character you can dedicate to sussing out le mot juste or getting the tone JUUUUUUUUUUUST so.

So it should ultimately look something like this:

Screenshot_20190311-135310_Twitter

After a rejection from my dream agent the preceding Friday, I did some drinking, as one does, and then got back to business. I spent three days polishing and “perfecting” three different pitches. I gave myself a blinding headache, lost a lot of sleep and, at 4am Pacific time on March 7th, grimly settled in at my computer, guzzling heroic bordering on horrific doses of caffeine (key difference: number and severity of heart palpitations involved) and ready for a twelve-hour day of refreshing my Twitter feed maniacally.

My first experience wasn’t bad, honestly. I got likes from two different publishers. After further research I decided not to go with them for reasons of my own, but that’s not important. The point is, someone out there saw merit in my story, and I have the likes and retweets from the party to demonstrate there is a market for the concept I presented.

Of course, in media res is not a great time to learn things. I was so certain I’d followed all the criteria to the letter, only to realize TEN HOURS IN I’d muffed it on the age requirement (that’s the #A). Instant delete, tweak and resubmit. And honestly, the second iteration of my third pitch was probably the strongest, if I’m being brutally honest with you and myself.

Could it have been stronger still? Of course! After the fact I thought of half a dozen ways I could have made that same pitch in a different way, punched up the fun or the stakes somehow. I coulda/woulda/shoulda done/not done two dozen things differently, and if I haven’t landed representation by the next one, I’ll be ready.

But you know what? That’s not the point.

The point is, I put myself and my work out there. I got bites where a lot of people whose pitches were, to my eye, objectively better-constructed didn’t. I know better for next time.

More importantly still, it fueled my determination to go the traditional route and make sure The Soulforger Chronicles have the best possible chance to succeed.

Using what I learned from PitMad, I incorporated my ideas into my query letter, which can always be retranslated into tweets if needed. As I write this, a few queries are making their tortuous way through cyberspace, hopefully soon to land on the screens and before the eyeballs of agents whom I believe have the right mix of interest and aggression to take Adeptus and its succeeding titles as far as they can possibly go.

If this round doesn’t pan out, there are other agents. There are other avenues.

And, worst-case scenario, there’s always the next #PitMad.

If you participated in #PitMad this last round, I’d like to hear from you! What was your experience with it? How did you walk away feeling? Do you plan to try again, and if so, what would you do differently or the same?

The next #PitMad is scheduled for June 6th, 2019 from 8am-8pm Eastern time.

 

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