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  • Writer's pictureA.J. Super

The Unspoken Rules: Pitch Party Etiquette

There's a lot of things to learn for a pitch party like #PitMad, #SFFPit, #DVPit, #ADPit, #KidPit, #PitDark, and others. There are a ton of unspoken rules on top of the rules set forth by the event itself. Of course, any written rule trumps any unspoken rule. And the first rule is always: READ THE EVENT RULES! No exceptions. Learn them, love them, follow them!

Second, let's go over the whole 140 or 280 debate. Let's face it. 280 is here to stay. But it's a lot of words to get through for agents. 140 was daunting. This, this is a slush pile in itself. So, keeping it tight is really important. Make sure your pitches have character, plot, tension, and stakes. Of course, a hook isn't bad either, since you have the extra characters... But remember, tight tight tight! You may have 280, but you DON'T have to use them all if you don't have to!

Third, don't take advantage of the extra space. Lists do not a pitch make. It eats up space on the feed and makes it even harder for everyone to read the awesomeness that is everyone trying to sell their books. This means don't use long, multiple lined and entered tweets!

On that note, don't use emojis either. We don't need to see cute devils next to your antagonist in a list of what's in your book. We don't need to have a sword or a dragon in place of your text in your epic fantasy pitch. It makes it hard to read and is unprofessional looking. These tweets are marketing tools and present your book, and you in a certain light. Would you rather be a blushing emoji face shrugging because an agent popped over your cutsie emoji-filled list of daring-do or would you rather have crafted and honed a pitch that caught a like from an editor?

Fifth, don't abbreviate. You can keep it tight without shortening words now. Let us understand what you mean without the lingo or the foreshortening of words because your comp title has a long name. O2 can be oxygen now. RDY PLYR 1 can be Ready Player One. Spell it out. There's space.

Sixth... Now this is a big one. Unless specifically stated by the rules of the event. DO NOT USE EXTRA MEDIA IN YOUR PITCHES. That means no graphics, no .gifs, no music. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Don't even thread it in. The long standing rule has been there so that everyone gets the same eyes, the same opportunities for agents to read. Throwing media in not only clogs the feed up, it attracts unfair attention. Be courteous, keep the field level. Work your pitches. That is the purpose of the events, not to be a showcase for your graphic design skills.

Seventh. Don't QT with the event hashtag. Show your support, yes. RT, always. Comment on the pitch, of course. QT, QT, QT to the end of the event. But don't throw it back into the thread. It's already had its chance in the limelight, same as everyone else's. Agents and editors will scroll the feed, search the hashtags, do all sorts of fancy Twittery stuff to find good pitches, including stalking the feeds of those people they find intriguing. So support your fellow writers, just don't clog the feed with QTs that include the event hashtag. Also, remember DO NOT use that little heart. Likes are for agents and editors!

Navigating pitch parties is actually easy if you keep this final rule in mind. BE NICE. Courtesy to other pitchers is paramount. This is a community. We remember who behaved badly, and who didn't follow the rules. Report people to moderators who are being extra obnoxious. Keep the field of play fair and even for everyone. And be supportive. Love on the authors whose tweets you enjoy. Make their day! Let them know you love their idea. You never know whose bad day you can brighten.

#WritingTools #Pitching #Community

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