Straight From Twitter to Publication! – Jaime Zakian

If you’ve ever pitched at a Twitter pitching event you know how frustrating it can be. To create a summary of your novel in 140 characters or less while keeping your writer’s flare seems impossible, but it’s not.

During my path to publication, I’ve participated in many online pitching events. One of the benefits of a Twitter pitching party is that most hosts offer pitch critiques on their blogs beforehand. You can post your pitch and get suggestions from an experienced author on how to improve vague points. Through these generous critique sessions, I learned the importance of highlighting my character’s unique aspects and presenting my plot in a simple yet suspenseful manner.

The last pitch event I took part in was #Pit2Pub. This Twitter event was designed for un-agented writers of all genres and age groups who were seeking independent publishers. I had only sent out a handful of traditional queries with this novel because I was accepted into two Twitter query contests, where my query and first 250 words were on display for a total of 41 agents to view. I received six full and one partial request as a result, but all my requests ended in rejection for the same exact reason. The agent wasn’t connecting with the tone. Right now, the trend in YA is dark and twisty whereas my novel would be more fun and playful. Instead of waiting for the trends to shift, I decided to take a chance on independent publishers.

A week before #Pit2Pub, I created a handful of pitches all pieced together from the best parts of my query letter and synopsis. I went into the event positive that I would not get any favorites. A normal Twitter pitching event has hundreds of writers, shooting off anywhere from two to four tweets an hour. It’s very easy for your pitch to be lost in the shuffle and go unseen.

Since this event was new and had little to no agent involvement, the feed was moving at a manageable rate. Based on what I learned from past experiences, I knew to watch and wait for a time when the tweets slowed. That’s when I sent out my first pitch. Much to my surprise, I received four favorites (which equals requests, mostly all full). An hour later, I posted another pitch and got five more favorites. You always hear people say how subjective this business is but this was the first time I actually got what they meant. It was the most exciting time of my querying life, until the offers started rolling in.

Coincidently, an offer from a traditional query I sent out to Month9Books came in at the same time as my offers from the pitching event. After some careful consideration and a lot of research on Absolute Write and Preditors & Editors, my YA sci-fi thriller, EMERGENCE, found a home with Month9Books (an imprint of the Georgia McBride Media Group).

Here are a few tips that will help when pitching at Twitter events.

  • Tweet at odd times– everybody tweets at the top of the hour, wait for the feed to slow.
  • No elaborate descriptions– your space is limited so stick to the exciting points of your plot.
  • No rhetorical questions– agents/editors hate this. They don’t want to guess what your story is about, they want to be shown.
  • Don’t introduce multiple characters– this can often add more confusion than clarity.
  • Don’t forget your grammar– most times your pitches will sound choppy since you have to omit articles (the, a, an) to hit your point in the allotted space, but you still have to double-check for proper spelling and word usage.
  • Make good use of hashtags– if you hashtag YA (young adult), it’s unnecessary to add your main characters age leaving you more room to promote your plot.
  • Always bounce your pitch off your critique partner– if you do not have a CP, get one immediately. Having another writer’s perspective is an invaluable tool for success.

Twitter pitching is a fast-paced, mind-racking experience but if you’re well prepared, and with a bit of luck, you could find your literary match.

Author bio:

Jamie Zakian is a fulltime writer who enjoys both the creative side as well as the editing process. Living in South Jersey with her husband and rowdy family, she enjoys farming, archery, and blazing new trails on her 4wd quad, when not writing of course. She aspires to one day write at least one novel in every genre of fiction. Her debut YA sci-fi thriller is slated for release in 2017 from Month9Books.



Successful pitches:  

#Pit2Pub 258 teens are sent to a terraformed Mars. They’ll carry on the human race, if they survive the psycho-killer onboard their ship.

#Pit2Pub #YA #SFF Joey & her twin bro scored a ride to terraformed Mars but to make it they have to survive a terrorist onboard their ship.


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