Writers use Twitter contests to pitch to agents, publishing houses, and editors. While some of the bigger ones like PitMad is gone, smaller ones still happen all the time.
Now, pitch contests are like getting a lottery ticket. Getting attention—when surrounded by hundreds of other pitches—is difficult to say the least. But there are proven ways to help make your pitches stronger and increase your chances.
Writing two comps (comparisons) at the top of the pitch can catch someone’s attention. These are for when your pitch is short, so you can fit everything in one tweet. In this list, I’d say comps are the least important because pitches can still do well without them.
When writing a comp at the top, the titles are in all caps with a lowercase x between them.
For example: WARCROSS x THE WARRIOR HEIR
These comps don’t have to be books either. I’ve seen some for video games and even songs before.
1 MC + Stakes
Even for books that have more than one MC (main character), pick one to concentrate on. Don’t want to confuse anyone. But the stakes for that MC are what’s more important. Without the stakes, agents aren’t going to have that curious drive to want to know more about your book.
For example: The MC must find the pendant of time to reverse a deadly curse or lose everyone they love.
Another example: The MC must find a way to get the band back together in time for the school competition or else they won’t get a scholarship.
It has a feel that the MC must do something or something bad will happen. As you can tell above, the stakes don’t have to be world ending. But it does need some type of pull.
Every pitch contest has their own hashtag (#PitchDIS, #kidlitpit, etc.), but there are other important hashtags to remember too. The main ones are genre and age range. For example, #YA and #F means YA fantasy. Here’s a list of common hashtags.
Those two are the most important. If an agent doesn’t know what genre and age range your book is, chances are they won’t like your pitch.
There are also other tags you can add to bring out your pitch, such as #LGBT (LGBTQIA+), #OWN (ownvoices), #MH (mental health), etc. These help agents who are looking for diverse stories.
All of these go at the bottom of your pitch.
A good way to get ideas is to go onto Twitter and see what other writers in your genre have done. So, for example, search “#PitDIS #F” if you want to look for fantasy and scroll through some. See what worked for them.
You’ll see that some don’t 100% follow the formula either. Some longer pitches don’t have comps. Some use emojis to help with word count. Some pitches are just a list of emojis on the left with some explanations on the right. Pitches can get creative.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most pitch contests allow you to pitch up to three or four times. So, for each pitch, focus on a different part of your book. Perhaps have one follow one MC and another follow a second MC. Or one can focus more on your worldbuilding. This way, you have more chances to catch an agent’s eye.
If you get a like from an agent or publishing house, remember to research them before following their submission guidelines. Also, mention at the top of your query that they liked your Twitter pitch.
Hope this helps!