Friday, October 05, 2018

Can I dawdle on sending my ms for a #DivPit

I've just sent my novel off to my second round of beta and sensitivity readers after revising and adding about 10,000 words (I'm an underwriter, so my first round of betas always ask for more).

My goal was to get feedback from my second round before the Twitter pitch contest DVPit in mid-October. But after sending off the manuscript this weekend, about 75% of my betas wrote back to say sorry, bad timing, they're swamped with work/school/life/health issues. All the reasons are perfectly legitimate, but leave me with a decision to make:

Do I let the contest pass or do I pitch anyway?

Or, worded another way: is it better to pitch a hair too early or potentially miss out on an opportunity?

As I understand it, there are agents who participate in the contest who are not open to general queries, so referrals (which I don't have) or contests are the only way to reach them. I also like the idea of querying someone already knowing my concept intrigues them. And I *think* it's okay to send a few weeks after a contest request, so I'd still have time to get feedback and make edits or even grind to a halt if there's a big issue I've overlooked.

But I also don't want to shoot myself in the foot by being over-eager. I also worry about an agent getting excited about my pitch and then being irritated when the query doesn't arrive right away.

I'm sure I'm overthinking this, but would love any insights you might want to share.

I'm new to the Twitter pitching scene. I'm participating for the first time on 10/25/18 for #PitDark.

My understanding is that agents are expecting manuscripts to be ready, ready, ready.
I certainly am.

The beauty of this new querying avenue is that it's quick. You tweet, I fave, you send, I read.
My expectation is these ms are NOT going in to the general pile to be read when I get to it.  (When I get to it is disgustingly late right now. I'm well and truly mortified.)

I've also set aside time to read stuff on that day (10/25) and I'm NOT going to read anything instantly if it comes in later. Which is not to say I won't read it, and certainly does not mean I'm going to discard it. I'm always looking for good stuff.

Which is exactly the problem: is your material ready to pitch NOW? It sounds like you're still polishing. If (heaven forfend) your betas come back with "hey, this whole scene needs to go" you're not "almost ready." You're not ready at all.

The good news? This isn't your only chance. These #ptichthings come around twice a year I think, maybe more often.

You get one chance to show me how terrific you are. Don't let impatience make you jump the gun.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Would you go on a dream date without brushing your teeth? Would you not wear deodorant? And, even if your teeth gleam and you smell like an afternoon island breeze would you not ask a my slip showing, can you see the stain on my shirt, do I look fat in this, should I shave, do I need a haircut.

"Don't let impatience make you jump the gun."
Heed the queen's sage advice or you might be going home alone.

ACFranklin said...

Slightly confused. Is it 10/25 or 10/15?

Julie Weathers said...

They all recommend your work be finished, edited and polished to a fare thee well. I wouldn't pitch if it's not ready to send in the next five minutes.

The good news is, there are different pitch contests all the time.

The Noise In Space said...

I know there are about a billion twitter pitch days (it feels like one a month at this point, once you include all the genres), but is there a place where the schedule is published in advance? I feel like I always see them after they're over.

Megan V said...

For those interested in twitter pitch contests, there are a few blogs that keep a calendar.Click here for a rundown of the 2018 schedule

OP, there are many opportunities. (All of which are becoming more and more swamped as they gain popularity). You're going to want to put your best foot forward. Polished pitch, polished MS. DV pit will be back around next year. There are other opportunities this year. And most agents will be available to query at some point or another.

Brenda said...

I agree about sending your best. The problem is that we always think it’s our best, don’t we?

I put myself in th unenviable situation of having to ask agents to please ignore the manuscript that is buried on their desk (or in the DoY’s litter box) while I complete a revision. In the case of some agents, twice now. The manuscript is shockingly better than it was, I blush at the first one I sent, and I’ve revealed my novice status to the publishing world. I honestly thought I was sending my best the first time. My point is that we are always quite sure that this draft is ‘the one’.

How can we really know?

Personally, I bid in a charity auction on an agent critique. Manuscript and query-wise it was the best money I’ve ever spent. One agent spent a ton of time with me on my query, including a phone call, and one agent put her unerring little diamond-clad finger on the problem in the book.
Note: I suffer from auction fever, finished up with two crits, and have been eating macaroni and drinking cheap scotch ever since.

You can ask anything you want on the phone calls. Anything. The power nearly went to my head but in the end my number one question was, “Is my craftsmanship at a professional level?”

Where else are you going to get a straight answer from someone who has a vested interest in NOT encouraging borderline work?
- Betas won’t or can’t.
- Teachers might.
- Good critiquers online are surrounded by trolls. It could go either way.
- A conference pitch might.
- Aunt Isobel most def can’t be trusted.

Plus it was a very good cause.

Steve Stubbs said...

Kitty said [yesterday]...
"I can't imagine anyone in this day and age not using a backup service."

One thing that should be added is that backup services put your files on the cloud, where hackers eagerly and greedily search for confidential information.

Hackers are interested in stealing your information, not only your million dollar WIP, which they can re-style with their name on it as the author, but your passwords, and financial information, which they can sell on the dark web.

People worry about irrelevant information on facebook being sold to advertisers, and they ignore really sensitive information that hackers intend to use against them. They sell old computers that have hard drives loaded with sensitive info without using a program like wipedisk to render them unreadable.

If you think you have a strong password, don't kid yourself. Hackers go to work for these companies all the time to steal passwords. I can probably buy all yours on the dark web.

External hard drives are very cheap, and PRIVATE.

Lennon Faris said...

I once heard (well, read) an agent saying, "hey all you #DVPit late submitters, don't think I don't know that you weren't ready." I guess she saw enough of them that she felt she had to say that.

Some agents are prob. more gracious than others, but you still might not want to start off as a part of 'that' crowd.

JEN Garrett said...

Trust me on this one: Wait and don't pitch. I come from experience (querying Queen Shark in fact) that getting an agent intrigued before you're totally ready is a bad, bad idea. Janet was amazingly understanding when I withdrew in shame, and I envy those authors who were more on top of it.

Craig F said...

I haven't even considered a Twitter pitch. I guess that if an agent I was querying made a big hoopla about it, I might consider it. The key word there is querying.

I would have to be deep in those trenches before I would try that. That means deeper than my past forays into such mine fields. The first book I gave up on because it was too complicated to write a killer query on. The second was too big of a leap into the overall story I have in mind.

Hope y'all have a mahvellous weekend. It is hotter than blazes down here. September was our hottest month of the year, setting six all time heat records. October has followed that trend. Three all time heat records in the first five days of the month.

Janet Reid said...

Arri Franklin Sorry for the confusion.
Date is 10/25.

See you there?