Friday, March 13, 2015

Query Question: A PitMad request with an open query

I have received a PitMad favorite, but I've already queried this agent. Do I, should I mention the previous query. My previous query was in late January, so the agent may not have reached it yet.

Yes. Just a quick note at the bottom of the query with the pages you're sending for #PitMad will suffice.  "I also queried you for this project on 1/29/15"

Congrats on the favorite!

And now, how's the #PitMad going? Do you like it? Does it seem to work better than queries? The attraction of this eludes me but it's probably cause I'm a fuddy duddy set in my ways.



Kate Larkindale said...

I got my agent through a pitch contest (not #PitMad, but a similar one), so I'm a fan… That said, I also got a lot of requests through Twitter contests that ended in rejections, the same way a lot of my queries that got requests ended in rejections.

Sometimes I wonder if it is all about the right agent reading at the right time.

S.E. Dee said...

Took part for the fourth time, may not do so again. I saw a lot of people getting faved by ad companies trying to get attention and some HIGHLY questionable publishing houses faving tweets also. I know it's down to the writer to do their research but there are a lot of those publishers hanging around pitmad that I don't remember hanging around before. Same goes for the ad companies. Perhaps as pitmad continues to grow, it'll attract more of the like. It's certainly put me off despite loving the buzz of being faved!!!

E.Maree said...

It's a lot of fun, and a nice change from regular querying, but it definitely doesn't replace regular querying.

As S.E. mentioned, it's a big target for exploitation by predator publishers and unsavory agents so you need to keep your wits about you. It's also a big, fast-moving sea of tweets and there's no guarantee the agents you like are even seeing yours.

Regular querying feels much more beneficial -- you know your query is being seen, and (most of the time) you WILL get a response. But it's still good to try a different format, and honing a very short, snappy pitch for your novel can be VERY useful.

Adib Khorram said...

While I'm not opposed to #PitMad, I tried one out a while back and it wasn't for me. I have several friends (well, at least one friend and several writing proximity acquaintances) who do it and they seem to enjoy it.

I found writing a query daunting enough - trying to condense an enticing hook for my story into 140 characters was a good challenge but not one I feel I succeeded at.

I am firmly on Team Send-A-Query. At least with a query I feel like I've put my best foot forward.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

This # stuff is all so new and modern it makes me feel behind the times. I guess carving my pitch into stone tablets has fallen out of favor. (Delivery IS a problem).
My last 'tablet' pitch listed ten rules for living a Godly life. (Too long for twitter). I stole the idea from a guy named Moses, aka Charlton Heston.
Not many favs on that, I guess people don't like to follow rules anymore.

Rae Chang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S.E. Dee said...

Interesting break down Rae. As I said above, I thought it was getting too big also but it was insightful to hear how it could feel on the other end.
I guess for agents it must be difficult, too. I noticed some agents preferred to check out #pitmad AFTER it was over, when things had calmed down.

If it has become so big, it may be better, in the future, for Brenda to hold a #pitmad for different genres...

Kitty said...

Remember when an aspiring writer used to send their manuscript to a publisher they saw advertized in the back of a magazine and get a check a couple of weeks later? .... Yeah, I know, me neither. I saw that in the movie Funny Farm. And then on the TV show Mike & Molly, a publisher liked Molly's short story enough to give her a sizeable advance on her first book. Before the Internet, everything I knew about writing and writers I 'learned' from Hollywood.

ProfeJMarie (Janet Rundquist) said...

@Rae Very interesting and helpful to hear thoughts on the other side of the table. I can well imagine that the effectiveness has changed over time.

The OP made me laugh because I had a situation where an agent who had requested (and then later rejected) a partial submission from me favorited my pitch. I didn't know if I should re-query or not, but then went ahead because a) why not and b) I know her assistant was the one who originally requested my material. It was still another rejection, which didn't surprise me, but also it could have meant she had been still a little on the fence before.

For my part, I like the Twitter pitches because it forces you to distill your story into a single sentence and from there, you can sometimes get a feel for whether it has enough to entice someone to read after all. I *definitely* like the twitter contests better than blog-hosted contests. Far less painful and public if you have not received requests/favorites etc. Also, the twitter pitches still require you to query, so it doesn't replace anything, just gives you a new angle.

Colin Smith said...

I participated in a Twitter pitch event once, and I got a favorite that later turned into a rejection. Rae has broken down quite well, I think, the pros and the cons of these "contests." As I look at them, I have to wonder what the advantage is? If all favorited pitches are guaranteed a personalized response, and more than just a form rejection, that's good. But if it just means the agent will push your query to the top of the stack if you get picked, then... meh. It is challenging trying to boil the essence of your novel down to 140 (ish) enticing characters. But would the agent have requested pages/form rejected anyway, if they'd come across your query in the regular stack? As I said, a guarantee of a personal response might make it worthwhile (especially if the agent is a "no-response-means-no" type.

But then there's Chum Bucket... :)

That's my tuppence on the topic.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I totally miss #PitMad every time. Or I watch it happen, wishing I was capable of pitching my currently finished novels in such a matter.

I don't know if it's my problem or the novels', frankly. I assume mine. I have trouble wrapping my head around the singular kernel of importance; to me, it's all important.

That being said, I really enjoy that things like #PitMad and #MSWL day exist. It's another way to wrap your head around the process, and what people in The Industry™ want, and it's cool to see other writers succeeding.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Kitty, just watched Funny Farm recently (again) AND they even typed her manuscript for her.
Oh for the fictional days of fiction.

REJourneys said...

I too have participated in PitMad, even got a favorite from a lovely agent. She later passed, but I know I'll be querying her when my WIP is polished and ready to go.

Rae and S.E. Dee made excellent points. There are some people who favorite just to get attention for their editorial services. It has also gotten very crowded. I saw a pitch I thought was cute and one of the tags was "PB", which I figured. I was going to retweet it, but saw they also tagged it as "YA". That's when I moved past it, as cute as it was. I don't know if the person honestly thought it was YA and PB or if it is a young adult book with pictures, but just tagging young adult because it's popular is not favorable for me. It's false advertising.

Janet, I think, as was mentioned before, that PitMad works better in queries in regards to the fact that it 1) gets you to the top of the slush pile and 2) readily identifies an agent who has an active interest in the MS. So it really is a nice break from the norm.

Now, I must prepare a trap for these incoming hedgehogs to protect the tangerines. (Is it pineapple season yet?)

MB Owen said...

It's not one or the other. It's another fishing line + yes--you do have to be aware who bites.

That said, think of it like speed dating.

KimmyK said...

I participated for the 1st time in #pitmad and I didn't care for condense your work into a cheap little line or two and toss it to the sharks ;) Everyone's different but it felt gimmicky to me. I think I'm more partial to the professional query. Won't be doing it again.

Susan Bonifant said...

I'm comfy with my one query per agent MO, but the #pitmad concept seems like a nice way to break from the usual angst and have fun.

But that rodent wheel spins fast enough already for our little hearts. If this or anything just becomes something new to stress about, I say pitch it, pun intended.

Liz Mallory said...

I always considered PitMad a good exercise at least. It forces me to write pitches - 20 or so of them! - and it also helps me see the selling points of the book by what people retweet or what makes me retweet someone else. PitMad is what showed me comps were so important.

But this time I got 3 favorites, and I can't deny that was really exciting. Even if nothing comes from it, it was encouraging.

Dena Pawling said...

#Pitmad always seems to be on a weekday. I can just imagine -

Me: Excuse me, Your Honor, I need to check my twitter feed.

Not gonna happen.

I opened the hashtag that morning, just to check it out. Within 2 minutes it said “680 new tweets” at the top. Yikes! That's way too “mad” and frenzied for me. Everyone here knows how slow I am and how much I procrastinate :)

I assume the writers who use it, know how to get their tweets to automatically send out so they don't waste an entire day checking and sending. And the agents who use it, know how to sort by their interests for the same reason. I'm computer-challenged and don't know how to do either of those things. I surprised myself when I was able to figure out, without help from my computer-geek husband, how to set up a blog and a twitter account all by myself. I won't tell you how many days it took me lol

Maybe by the time I'm 100, I'll figure it out. But by then I won't be a good candidate for an agent who is looking to manage a career rather than a single book. I do like the fact that most agents will accept queries by email now, rather than snail-mail, so I'm not entirely in the dark ages. The joys of technology. I guess I'll just have to be content to marvel at the "madness" from the sidelines.

karenskorner (Karen Nunes) said...

I tried it once, but was working and didn't have time to keep up with it. I think it's a bit like an elevator pitch, or log line. You put your best foot forward and hope not to be stomped on.
I thought of trying it again, but the timings always off for me, and it seems to be too big.
Either way - congrats for the favorite and good luck with the follow up.

Colin Smith said...

Some of you raise an interesting point. A lot of these pitch contests seem to favor a particular demographic: those without full-time jobs or responsibilities that keep them away from social media all day, or those who know how to schedule Tweets and monitor hashtags. And those that know how to do the latter may wonder, but there are a lot of people who don't even know you can do that sort of thing, and wouldn't want to try if you showed them how. Not everyone warms to technology.

But do they really favor anyone, aside from getting your rejection a little quicker than usual? ;) After all, it's still all about writing a top-notch compelling novel. This is just another way to entice an agent to read it. Actually, pitch contests are really a way to entice an agent to read your enticement to read your novel.

I suppose anything that helps us learn better editing skills can't be bad (says the guy who writes more in his comments than Janet does in her articles without saying anything more valuable than she did! I must just like the sound of my own keyboard... which actually I don't. I'm not at all partial to the sound of a clacking keyboard. I much prefer the sound of pen on paper. But I digress...). :)

Julie Weathers said...

Rae and S.E. Dee make excellent points.

I've participated before and I highly encourage the crew at B&W to participate for a few reasons.

I've had ten small publishers favorite FAR RIDER and about half were legitimate publishing companies. I declined because I have fulls and partials with agents and don't want to muddy the water by submitting to publishers.

I have around 1,500 legitimate followers I think. I usually block the spam accounts that pop up on my account. Participating in these does widen your circle of contacts and some people who participate are very nice. That doesn't hurt.

That's one reason I've been hammering at the crew on B&W to participate. They are mostly new to twitter. Participating in the contests introduces them to a new circle of contacts and widens their social media reach.

It basically tosses them into the pool so they have to learn how to swim. Some have even learned how to pre-schedule the pitches. They're actually learning how to use twitter and interact with people instead of just creating an account.

It's something positive on your twitter feed to be talking about writing or pitches or chatting about stories.

It makes you learn how to boil that story down to an elevator pitch. I despise doing that with all my being, but it seems to be something you need to learn to do. What's your book about in a few words?

There's a chance you may get noticed, but most of the participating agents do say to query them if it's a fit and they didn't favor you.

For those wondering how any agent would notice you in 1,000 pitches, someone can go back later and do the #pitmad #WF if they're looking for women's fiction. Then all that comes up are those pitches.

Yes, I'd encourage people to participate. No, I wouldn't get my hopes up. I have a partial with an agent off one in December, but haven't heard anything. That's not a terribly long time, but I have pretty much put it on orange alert.

Just be aware, as already stated, the medicine show publishers come out of the wood works for these events. I look at their "catalog"
and feel sorry for these people who spent money to get their dreams published, but by jingle they're published.

A discussion in a game the other day turned to Amazon and a few people were talking about they love Amazon because all they have to do is write a book and they're published. Someone asked why I didn't do that. They'd like to read my book and not wait on the big five to tell them what they could read. I laid out my argument why I wanted an agent and traditional publishing.

"Yes, but I've published three books and I'm working on seven more, how many have you published?"

You got me. I'm unpublished.

Colin Smith said...

Julie: "Yes, but I've published three books and I'm working on seven more, how many have you published?"

My response--at least in my head, because the implications of the question could be taken as rude and disrespectful--would be: but what have you published? Are you published just to get your writing out there, or have you published novels that you would be proud to own in 20, 30, 40 years? Are these the kind of novels you want to be known for? Do you want to build your reputation as a writer on what you've published? For your friend, the answer might be yes. For me, these question are a constant drumbeat behind every decision I make about my novels, my querying, and the publishing route I want to travel.

Rena said...

Usually I just lurk on the blog and appreciate everyone else's comments, but I wanted to chime in here. I do agree that some of the pitch contests have gotten way too big and overwhelming, which says a lot for the growth of the writing community on Twitter. Whether that's good or bad is up to you ;)

That said, I found my agent during #Pitmad last September. It was someone I'd never heard of, but when I did my research, I was very excited. We may never have connected without Pitmad. She has been an amazing friend and partner, and she sold my book less than two weeks after going on submission, so I would say I'm a fan of the pitch party that brought us together.

Julie Weathers said...


I bit my tongue as there are a lot of fanfiction writers in these games and they then thinly veil them and self-publish. I have nothing against fanfiction. I've written volumes of it.

When someone says they've published three books and are working on seven more, (which will probably be out this summer) I don't waste much more than a few irritated minutes. Then I'm back to, "is that the best word?'

Susan Bonifant said...

Julie I like you even more for saying this:

"'Yes, but I've published three books and I'm working on seven more, how many have you published?'

"You got me. I'm unpublished."

My response to this, because I hear it ALL THE TIME, has come down to a pleasant expression while I wait for the subject to change.

To echo Colin's point, the journey is as similar for writers as planes and cruise ships.

S.D.King said...

I would be interested in a discussion of(and comprehensive list thereof)the various contests and pitch opportunities out there.

PitMad, MSFV Secret Agent and Baker's Dozen, MSWL - those I have heard of, but I would love to hear of others and get some reviews for those of you who have participated.


Jenz said...

And Janet just tweeted a link to this post. So meta.

Irene Olson said...

I participated for the first time on 3/11/2015. Was a good exercise in being concise but not certain if I will participate in the next one. I imagine if I had received several Faves I'd have a different perspective.

Tom Perkins said...

Only just discovered #pitmad (thx to this blog post) and am fascinated by it as a social media experiment.

Here's my own little dilemma: I have one project done* and about 6 others that are ideas. I haven't even outlined any of them because I'm not sure which one is more interesting. "As is" they exist in less than 140 characters, so it would not be difficult to tweet them.

Let's say I do one of these little contests and an idea gets a nibble. Is the expectation that there would be some substantive material within a short period of time?

Or are these sorts of things in the rules? Speaking of which, are there rules? How does someone even find out about this sort of thing?

* "Done" in the sense of on the cusp of querying. And in the sense of da Vinci's quote, "Art is never finished, only abandoned."

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colin at 9:45, "...says the guy who writes more in his comments than Janet does in her articles without saying anything more valuable than she did!"

Colin you are too much, that's why we love you so. And to think, a lot of what you say is spot-on and a lot is...but I digress :) :)

Colin Smith said...

Tom: My understanding is that these contests are really a way to get your query more attention, so they assume you're either actively querying or ready to query. However, my experience of these is limited, so, as usual, I may be mistaken. :)

2Ns: You are too kind. But thanks. :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Years ago all you needed was a brief synopsis to get attention. Then you needed a concise query, no more than 350 words, then a tight query, 250 words, then a log line,(you could use commas), and now your pitch is reduced to 140 characters.

When all you need is a title I'll go for it. My title is awesome.

Colin Smith said...

2Ns: LOL--this is actually quite insightful. There does appear to be a correlation between these different forms of "getting agents' attention" and the progress of media and communication. In the days before the "Information Super Highway" opened up, a synopsis would do the trick. But email, messaging, and Twitter have cluttered the communications channels so much, you either have to be outstandingly outstanding to stand out, or you have to be brilliant in a few words just to get someone to look at your synopsis.

An interesting thought.

Julie Weathers said...

The rules. (These may vary according to contest.) You only pitch something that is completely, edited, revised, polished, revised again, polished some more, slept on, polished again just for good measure and ready to go out the door.

It's exactly the same as querying. You don't query something unless you're ready for an agent to see it, nor do you pitch them in the contests.

It's not the place to advertise your self-pubbed book. Same thing applies as in a query.

It's not the place to advertise your photography service by taking a picture of your Vienna sausage you apparently think is a footlong.

Usually pitch no more than twice an hour.

Don't pitch directly to agents.

Vary your pitches.

Have fun.

Jenny Chou said...

I REALLY enjoy Twitter pitching and contests. Because I've had lots of favorites and many big publishers are now fighting over my book? No. Because I've made lots of very supportive writer friends from all over the world. I've exchanged chapters for critiques and found a CP. Many of these people were kind enough to re-tweet my tweets. I've seen a lot of really great writing in contests and look forward to Tweeting about some of these books when they are eventually published- and I'm sure some will be. I've also offered my two-cents on some not-so-great writing and I hope I've helped a few people out.

That all said, I did receive a favorite from an agent on my to-query list who I would absolutely LOVE to work with. She has indicated in on-line interviews that she likes YA books exactly in my genre! Yes, I could have sent her a traditional query, but this way I feel like I have a bit of a head-start.If the stars all align - wonderful! If not, I'm still moving forward, not giving up.

Best of luck to everyone who got a favorite in pitmad - and to those who's didn't.

Craig said...

I think it is a good exercise for the young writers who embrace it most. Many of them are toiling in the crowded YA market. It gives the competitors something to sink their enthusiasm into.

To me it seems like you are chopping your manuscript into chum and tossing it overboard. You still need a good query and a synopsis to get to the next level of the game though.

It might be a better platform for the young Agents who also embrace it. It increases their platform tremendously because P&E is so very archaic and many Pichmadders would only query those who are recommended there.

It has grown to close to its Malthusian point but doesn't seem to hurt anything. Again it is a good writing exercise.

Julie Weathers said...

S.D. King

I'm a fan of #tenqueries, #500queries, #1000queries, and #querylunch.

You can bring those up whenever you need a break and see certain agents tweet a general reaction to queries as they go through them.

It's not anything earth-shattering, but it's interesting. "Totally burned out on WWII, pass"

Well, if you had the next DIRTY DOZEN, that agent might not be the one to query.

I have never repped ABC, will never rep it. pass

Sample pages and synopsis attached instead of included. We don't open attachments. Pass

My guidelines specifically state.... pass

Premise and voice are wonderful. I didn't even know I wanted this. grabby hands.

Intriguing idea, interesting characters, writing a little slow, but I'm going to request.

Voice, voice, voice. I love this. request.

I can't sell ghosts right now, I'm sad. I love this story. pass

This one has a wonderful ghost character. Can't wait to read. request.

They had me at the first line. It only got better after that. request.

I love the first line, then it fell apart. I'm so confused. pass

All dialogue and I don't even know who the characters are. Pass

My all time favorite, as already noted: Please, for the love of all that is holy, no more sentient penises.

It's an education, boys and girls.

1. It's really subjective.

2. There are a LOT of people who don't follow instructions.

3. Voice does matter. So does careful proofreading.

4. Agents are funny.

5. If you appreciated/learned anything from them, thank them for their time.

Tom Perkins said...

@Julie - thank you for the rules!

@Craig - thank you for the Malthusian reference!

@Colin - thank you for not hitting me upside the head! :D

Julie Weathers said...


There are some pretty senior agents lurking there also. I also see our guy Brooks Sherman, he of the cosmic blue shirt.


Colin Smith said...

Craig: Now there's an interesting thought too. How much does age (both of the querier and the agent) play a part in how one approaches querying? Are pitch contests more for the young and the YA? I'm sure older people and other genres participate (that would include me), but are there equal amounts from across the board, or does one particular demographic outweigh others in terms of participation?

I have my suspicions, but I could be wrong. It would be interesting to see the actual statistics.

Colin Smith said...

Tom: *grins* *laughs manically... and Britishly* *gets wacked upside the head by Stephen King... adverbs!*

Anonymous said...

If nothing else, it's great training for creating the proverbial "elevator pitch."

Julie Weathers said...


There is one gentleman in his later 60's who participates in most of the contests. He has some MG, YA and a historical, I believe.

The youngest that we knew of in the last one was 15 years old and a very interesting young man. This is his second novel.

YA is hot apparently, but the writers span all age groups, ethnicities and genders. Pitmad was about 42% YA I believe.

One of the crew from B&W entered #pitchMadness and made the 68 finalists round. She got three requests from agents in the game round. That's not bad with a book club type women's fiction set in Victorian era China.

Jenny Chou said...

Pitch contests appear to have more YA than anything else, though the ages of the writers vary widely - really all over the place. I'm in my 40's w/ two teenagers. Might be on the older end, but not by much.

Christina Seine said...

@Carolynn: Just this morning, Kristin Nelson did a blog post about good titles ... (hope it's okay that I post the link here)

I've participated in #pitmad, and while it was a great learning experience, I don't think I'll do it again. I had a heck of a time condensing my novel into 130 characters (to save room for the hashtags), and what I ended up with didn't feel quite right. I didn't get any likes, which was beyond devastating, but interestingly I had a couple agents and publishers (who didn't rep my genre, adult) wish me well and tell me they couldn’t wait to read my book as soon as it was published. That meant the world to me, and I still chat with some of those kind people now and then. When I queried the same novel a bit later, I did get several fulls and some wonderful personal rejections. So my success in the query world was much better than on Twitter, I feel.

I don't think I'll take part in #pitmad again, although I do love watching it to see what's trending and who's favoriting what, in part because I kind of feel that literary and adult commercial fiction are not well suited to this particular venue, although that could just be my skewed perception based on my own results. =) Still, when my current WIP is ready to send out soon, I'll be going the old-fashioned emailed query route. And if I can gather the courage, the pitch slam at the conference I plan to attend. (Just the thought of it makes my stomach do flip-flops!)

Julie Weathers said...

Jessica Faust blogged about #MSWL here.

I'm too tired to get it in link format.

Ashes said...

I think the main pros are networking and brevity. Like the flash fiction contests on this blog twitter pitches force you to be concise. Also I've seen a lot of writers exchange critiques and encouragement and there is value in that.

The main cons, to me, are oversaturation and developing just the beginning materials. Some advice says to schedule 2 tweets every hour. Personally I'd be sick of my own MS by then, I cannot imagine how an agent would feel. I don't want agents I eventually query to feel like my work sounds familiar. Query contests, and PitMad to a lesser extent, encourage authors to spend a lot of time polishing their pitch materials. Twitter pitches, 35 word pitches, queries, and first 250 words are work shopped and polished to a shine. What authors needs to keep in mind is that they have to take what they learned from polishing the pitch materials and go back and apply it to the whole manuscript. Too often that is forgotten in the rush to catch an agent's eye.

S.D.King said...

Thanks for the information - I will check out those resources.

I am in the "actively querying" stage and trying to stay positive. I have had one request for full a month or so ago, and try not to check my inbox more than ten times an hour.

I really appreciate this community.

Craig said...

If I failed to liberally sprinkle predominate and predominately through my last post, I apologize. However, 42 percent is predominate and Agent Sherman is a young agent.

We know him because he was the Queen's associate. He is actively seeking to expand his platform and he does cater to a predominately younger demographic.

I will stand by the rest of what I said. I did also forget to mention the camaraderie of the whole thing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with something that expands the horizons of writers. It does that. You can not write interesting things from inside a vacuum.

Even though the Queen tries to claim to be a fuddy duddy I would bet that if she felt the need for a larger platform she would figure it out.

Bill Negotiator said...

Christina: I agree that #Pitmad is not the best for #LF. It's encouraging and daunting to see the flood of tweets. So many friendly allies yet so much competition.

I think Julie mentioned #1000queries and some of the other query crit hashtags. When I started querying in October, I read them all, hoping they'd help me decode some mystical agent language. I was trying so hard to understand every agent's whims that I forgot the sound of my writer voice.

And when my own query was mentioned on one of the hashtags, it hit home that there's a lot of white noise out there I don't need. The crit wasn't helpful. It didn't deliver some truth I was missing. Basically the agent didn't like MY query. Someone following the hashtag could extrapolate the 140 characters and apply it to theirs, and that'd be a big mistake. Some agents like my query and sample pages, other don't; that's all I need to know. Collecting the hashtag-crits crumbs seems useless. There's always a different ghost, a different WWII story, a different voice. Aside from knowing that you should follow an agent's guidelines, all you really get from following the crit hashtags is relief that it wasn't your query passed on. I used to tell myself I wouldn't make the same mistakes as the hashtag-crit rejected, but now it seems like there are no same mistakes to make. And maybe that's a good thing.

Dave Clark said...

I wouldn't consider #pitmad a contest, in that there is not a limit to those who get favorited. Also, this forces you to think about how to pitch your book in an entirely different way, one that may prove useful, whether your tweet is favorited or not. One more thing: You may not be favorited because you missed a rule or detail, and it's up to you to go back to see if that may have been why you were not favorited. It's a form of self-editing.

Julie Weathers said...

Craig, yes, I know Brooks is, but agents like John Silbersack of Trident were also in the mix and he's fairly experienced.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

I'm not ready to query but may be the next time Pitmad is out.

It does seem like a good exercise for the reasons Julie mentions.

It's interesting to see what people are pitching and see what agents are requesting.

@Rena I'm not surprised you found an agent. I clicked on your blog and saw that you are the 2014 NaNoWriMo winner. Congratulations.

Karen McCoy said...

I did #pitmad once, and I likened it to keeping track of a 200 mph whack-a-mole. Really overwhelming. Still, I may try it again someday.

The contests question is a really good one. I'm a part of a group blog that does a contest about every other month, and we're discussing how to incentivize participation with all the other contests that have cropped up since ours started. It will be interesting to see how things develop in the next few years.

tlo said...


If work doesn't allow you to get on Twitter, use Tweetdeck. I was able to schedule 24 tweets the night before, then check the results. (Or, in my case, non-results). I did jump on once around 4 pm and was astounded how fast they were flying. How anyone finds anything, much less a gem, in such a pile of rapidly moving slush is beyond me. They say that publishing is a slow moving industry. Not true of Pitmad, for sure.

Jed Cullan said...

I corresponded with a brilliant agent because of it and, although he said he loved it and made him laugh, he also said he didn't think he could sell it. Although a rejection for that pitch, he wants to see other stuff when finished. Maybe half a win, then.

Which means I should be saying it's great. But I think it's very hit or miss, and sending a query in the normal submission way is better. That way you know the query is going to seen. Not a guarantee with twitter pitches.

Although, saying that, it is interesting to see other pitches and to connect with other writers who are taking part.

Maybe Janet should give it a go. #PitchTheShark

Jed Cullan said...

And the training of the anti-orange hedgehog army is going pretty well. They'll be ready soon. And when they are, nothing will stop them. Nothing. I said NOTHING. Nothing at all. Except perhaps a belly tickle.

Kathryn Long said...

I had several requests for my MS during a Twitter contest (not pitmad) and have received one response -- a rejection. The agent had a sizable amount of pages to review. I appreciated getting a response, but disappointed it read like a form letter stating "I just didn't connect to the story as I hoped to".

Kathryn Long said...

Agent Match and adpit or two more.

Mark Songer said...

I haven't done #MadDog. Heck, I hadn't even heard of #PittBrad before today.

The way I see it, the formal queries with invisible messages of "Pick Me! Pick Me! I'll bake brownies!" subliminally written in lemon juice on the page. If you get a paper cut from a letter containing lemon juice messages is it even more excruciatingly painful than usual? Sorry, squirrel moment.

Where was I? Oh yeah, #PeachPit, right. So, as I was saying, we pre-published authors might pay $150 or more to go to a writers conference and another $50 to get five minutes face to face with one or two agents. But with #MittPad, we have a chance to get that one-to-one for free!

I definitely plan on entering the next one and, when I win (which you know I will), I just want to ask you all to please not #GitMad.

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

@Rena - fantastic! Congratulations!!

Nicole Payne said...

I got a favorite!! But I'm not sure what to do. I researched the agent and found them listed on pred-Ed but not on querytracker. Anyone know which site is better to be on?

Jed Cullan said...

Nicole, have you had look for the agent on the Absolute Write forums, in the Bewares and Background Check area?

Julie Weathers said...

*laughing so hard* #tenqueries A query addressed to Mr. Law. The agent is also a lawyer. Close enough, I guess.

QOTKU will be getting one addressed to Ms. Shark soon perhaps.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Off topic. We need to keep Amy in our thoughts and prayers. HUGE cyclone in her part of the world (New Caladonia)tonight. Hope her boat and family are okay.

DLM said...

It's important to me to be a part of this community, as well as all the other ones we're discussing, but with volumes ever increasing here and my being a late-comer (speaking of those of us who can't get on social media during the day - I don't come HERE either!).

With no useful wisdom to offer and trying really hard to stay hot on the querying grind, I'll leave y'all with the knowledge that Penelolpe the Publishing Pup is chewing on Gossamer the Editor Cat, but he's more than awright and they both seem to enjoy a bit of play-fight.

Fight's going out of me about now, but I did create a profile at the WriterPitch site proper, thanks to ... I think it was Julie who listed a slew of hashtags all at once? I really do apologize for being addlepated, the play-fight is going out of me at this hour! It doesn't mean I'm ungrateful for everything y'all teach this old dog.

2Ns, I bestow upon you my "dagnab you are OSUM" for the day:


... aaaaaaaaannnnnnd *conk!*

Stephanie Cain said...

I didn't participate this time, but I have in the past. I got two legitimate favorites last time, as well as one from an editorial service and one from a small press. One rejection, one still outstanding (with a non-solicited progress email from the agent this week!).

Reasons why I think it's great:
- You have to distill your story into about 124 characters (leaving room for the appropriate hashtags), and that is an amazingly difficult exercise.
- You get feedback within about 24 hours, which is a nice injection of instant gratification to a career that has little of that.
- You get to see what other people are pitching.
- You get to encourage other writers by retweeting their pitches (and hopefully get some of that encouragement yourself).
- Even if you don't get any favorites, you can connect with other people who write in your genre, and that is valuable in itself.
- You get to see what agents are favoriting, which gives you insight into what catches an agent's attention.

For those who are interested in doing this in future, a relatively short amount of time on Google will bring up tips and rules of various Twitter pitch sessions, along with tips and hints. One person even posted a spreadsheet they use to check the length of their Tweets before trying to upload them. Tweetdeck is your friend when it comes to scheduling tweets. Twitter won't let you schedule identical tweets ahead of time, so every single pitch you post (which should be no more than 2 per hour per manuscript) has to be slightly different from the others. :)

Craig said...

Carolynn, Amy and her family fled to Papua a few days ago. Their boat is still in New Caledonia though and they don't know what it will be like when they return.

Bill Negotiator said...

Amy: Hope you and your family are doing okay.

Dena Pawling said...

tlo – yes I have a Tweetdeck window open on my computer, and every few days I stare at it and wonder if I should take the plunge and try to figure out how to use it. But, as usual, life gets in the way. I need a dedicated block of uninterrupted time so I can get my head into it. I also have several emails that say “X person has added you on Google+” that I need to figure out the basics like what in the world does that even mean?!

Mark - “we pre-published authors” - I love that! Pre-published, instead of unpublished. Thanks, I needed that.

Nicole Payne said...

Thanks for the heads up, Jed!! I just looked and there were more negative than positive reviews about them so I've decided to pass.

tlo said...

Dena - I too need an uninterrupted block of time. It's good to try to actually write once in awhile.

Kara said...

Michelle Hauck does several--sun vs snow, Query Kombat, and Nightmare on Query Street.
I participated in Sun vs Snow this year because there was a mentor aspect: even if no agent chose to request pages from me, I was still going to get query feedback from an agented writer. I was lucky enough to get chosen for team snow, and got 1 request from an agent that recently upgraded to the full. But even if that doesn't work out, for me I feel like my query is ready to be sent out, and I might not have had that confidence without my mentor's help.
I also participated in PitMad, and I personally love it. I love meeting new writer friends and seeing what others are writing--great way to meet potential CPs. But I can easily see why it wouldn't be for everyone, and that's okay. I say no harm in trying!
For the record, because I made it to the agent round of SvS, I didn't submit to PitchMadness, and I will also be giving NestPitch and PitchSlam a miss. Nice to give others a try, plus there is a lot of agent overlap among contests.

Kara said...

The rule of the Twitter pitch parties is that your MS must be ready to send out.

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I like pie.
I haven't been game for anything like #PitMad, though I profess a curiosity. Anything that piques an agent's interest without engaging in any dodgy moral or ethical practices can't be too bad, right?

"Yes, but I've published three books and I'm working on seven more, how many have you published?"

Cool, cool. So, how are sales?