It’s almost time for #DVpit which means it’s almost time to pitch your manuscript to agents and editors! Though you definitely need a stellar pitch to stand out, you’ll also need to make sure you’re fully prepared for the awesomeness that is #DVpit. In other words, you’ll need a game plan.
Part 1 - #DVpit Preparation
Look up successful #DVpit tweets
Sometimes it can be hard to work from scratch, but seeing other examples of pitches that worked are always helpful. Search the #DVpit hashtag to find a few, and while you’re perusing the hashtag, read all the valuable information that writers, authors, and agents have shared on Twitter about crafting the perfect pitch. Here's a few successful pitches from previous #DVpit rounds:
Karen Strong (@KarenMusings):
BLACK-ISH + GOOSEBUMPS: Sarah & friends must use spunk and snoop skills to solve ghost mystery in Southern small town. #DVpit #MG #ownvoices
To get closure on her brother’s death Jocelyn must go on a trip w/Heath. Simple. Except Heath was the playboy who broke her heart. #DVPit #R
Claribel Ortega (@Claribel_Ortega):
When punk witch Emerald rewinds time like a VHS tape, she must beat an ancient riddle to save her aunt & herself #YA #DVpit #UF #Own #80s
Kat Cho (@KatCho):
Based on Korean myth, Jihoon & Miyoung fall in love, only prob is Miyoung’s a gumiho, immortal 9-tail fox that preys on man #DVpit #YA #OWN
Laura Pohl (@laurampohl):
Clover trained to be a pilot, not fight aliens. To save Earth, she must battle her PTSD and get flying again. #DVpit POC #ownvoices
J. Marcelle Corrie (@jmarcellecorrie):
MORE HAPPY THAN NOT meets DEATHNOTE: After being killed, Ilan has 24 hours to regain his life - by killing his best friend #DVpit #POC #LGBT
Work on your pitch
Condensing your manuscript down to 140 characters is the fun part of course! Come up with a few pitches, model them after successful #DVpit tweets, read these fabulous resources for assistance, and always…
Get Your Pitches Critiqued
That’s right. Get them critiqued. It’s always beneficial to have a second (or third, or fourth) pair of eyes to look over your pitches. If it wasn’t for Natasha Razi’s generous feedback, my pitch wouldn’t be where it is today! Seriously, follow Natasha. Right now.
Schedule Your Tweets
Once you’ve received feedback and you’ve reworked your pitch, it’s time to schedule your tweets! Now this should be done closer to the #DVpit date (I scheduled mine the night before), but it can be done whenever you’re ready to schedule them. Scheduling is useful if you’ll be working during #DVpit, or if you’re out of the country, or if you’re really anywhere where you don’t have access to Twitter. It can also take your mind off of #DVpit if Twitter pitch contests stress you out. You can use Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and probably a host of other platforms that are simple to manage (I personally prefer Tweetdeck, but that’s just my opinion). Do, however, make sure you’ve scheduled your tweets for the right day and make sure to check in to see that your tweets are going out (I love Tweetdeck, but there can always be glitches). And if you’d prefer not to schedule your tweets at all, that’s totally up to you.
Twitter pitch contests can be nerve-wracking, but please PLEASE make sure you have fun! Converse with other writers, find critique partners, follow those who share amazing advice (shout out to #DVSquad!), and hope for the best!
Part 2 - #DVpit Day has Arrived…
Now that you’ve scheduled your tweets, made some awesome writer friends, and heeded the advice of #DVpit veterans, the day you’ve been waiting for is finally here…
Agents start liking your pitch, editors take notice and retweet your pitch, and writers around the #DVpit Twitterverse boost your tweets. Excitement sets in as the attention increases, and by the end of the day, you’re overjoyed by the interest in your project.
But now what?
Of course you’re thinking, query everyone who requested your manuscript. After all, that is the whole point of #DVpit. BUT before you start querying, make sure you have all your materials together. Here are some tips to help you organize:
And yes, this list is long as hell #dontjudgeme
Do your research
Find out who each agent is and what type of books they represent. Remember, you don’t have to send to every agent that liked your pitch. If you don’t feel comfortable sending to someone, then don’t send a query. It’s your project, so you get to decide who you’d like to send it to.
Double check agency guidelines
Most agents (and editors who accept unsolicited submissions) will tweet their #DVpit submission guidelines during the event. For an easy search, type the agent or editor’s handle + #dvpit in Twitter search. If there’s no tweet, check the submission guidelines on their agency/publishing house website for details.
It can be difficult to keep track of all the likes and retweets you receive throughout the day. To help, list each agent and editor who liked or retweeted your pitch. Note who accepts unsolicited submissions and who doesn’t. I used a spreadsheet to record the agent/editor’s name, the agency/publishing house, and their submission guidelines. You might end up getting a like from agents within the same agency. If you do, double check agency guidelines on how to proceed. Some agencies say that a submission to one agent is a submission to all, while other agencies state that if one agent declines, you are free to submit to another. In most (if not all) cases, you should not submit to two agents at the same agency simultaneously. Make sure to keep this list handy once you sign with an agent. That way you can send your new agent the list of editors who are interested in your project. I know I still have mine!
Make sure your query letter is ready
Have you gotten your query letter critiqued yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Just like your pitch, your query letter should be critiqued and while you’re at it, make sure your first few pages have been critiqued as well. (Shout out to Karen Strong for the fabulous feedback on my query letter! Y’all need to follow Karen too!). Theoretically, your whole manuscript, query letter, and synopsis should have already been critiqued if you're preparing to participate in #DVpit. If your submission package has not been critiqued, ask yourself, "Should I participate this time around?" You wouldn't want to send your manuscript out if it's not the best that it can be.
Develop a Querying Strategy (My business background is really coming out now, isn’t it?)
Send your queries in rounds. You don’t want to send your query to every agent only to find out that you’ve made a mistake (or a few). Don’t put all your top choice agents/editors in your first querying round. This is for the same reason as above, but you also don’t want to send to all your top choices only to receive feedback that will strengthen your manuscript. If you do receive amazing feedback that resonates with you, definitely consider revising. And if another agent requests your full manuscript while you’re revising, it’s okay to let them know that you’d like to send them the revised version once it’s complete. I’m sure agents would prefer to see your best work (I mean, hell, I’m still revising and I did #DVpit in October *sorry agents >.<*), and if you think a revision will lead to a more polished manuscript, then definitely go for it!
Take your Time
People might tell you that you HAVE to send your query letter as soon as an agent requests it, but you really don't have to. An agent’s request does not have an expiration date, so send once you know you’re ready.
You wrote an ENTIRE book. That alone is reason to celebrate. And if you don’t receive any likes or retweets during #DVpit, you’re always free to query!
Good luck everyone and see you on the other side!
Don't miss any of the other #DVpit Blog Hop posts! You can find them below:
Worldbuilding: A Roundtable Discussion
with editors Patrice Caldwell (@whimsicallyours), Kait Feldmann (@kaitfeldmann), and Stephanie Stein (@stephlystein), plus agents Saba Sulaiman (@agentsaba) and Jim McCarthy (@JimMcCarthy528)
The Passage of Time in Your Novel
by Pete Knapp (@petejknapp) on Writer's Block Party (@WritersParty)
Your First Chapter is a Promise to Your Reader: Great Opening Pages in Diverse YA
by Eric Smith (@ericsmithrocks) on Daily Dahlia (@MissDahlELama)
Interview with #DVpit Creator Beth Phelan
with Kat Cho (@KatCho) and Mara Fitzgerald (@mara_fitzgerald) on Writer's Block Party (@WritersParty)