02 January 2019

To Pitch or Not to Pitch?

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It's a new year and I've decided for once to not make any concrete goals. It never goes well. I did, however, finally accomplish my goal of watching 100 movies I've never seen before (see the list here) in 2018. For books I made it to 68/100, which is the closest I've ever gotten. I won't be trying it again this year, but I definitely want to accomplish it someday.

But onto the new year! One of the first things I wanted to do was take part in the IWSG's Twitter Pitch on January 15. Like, I took the day off from work and everything (I'm about to max out on my PTO hours so it was a good excuse to take a day), and I've always wanted to do it. But I don't know if I'll actually be ready in time.

So I've come up with a few questions to ask myself in the next two weeks in order to decide if I should pitch or not, starting with:

Did I finish the book?

Kind of the most important one. As of writing this post, I'm working on Chapter 22 of the third draft. I think there will be 26 or 27 chapters when I finally finish. If I can really motivate myself and not slack off watching too much TV or something, I think it's possible to finish in time. But honestly, if I'm only one or two chapters away from finishing, I may pitch anyway (please tell me if this is a horrible idea). Only time will tell.

Can I pick an age group?

I know I've talked about this many times before, but I still haven't quite figured it out. Genre is easier because I'd go with contemporary. But age group? Errrrrrr still deciding. I've always leaned toward Adult, even though my main character is 15, because it's not exactly a book I would want younger readers reading. But it could also be New Adult? Maybe? In my two sequel ideas my MC is 20 and 22. Those ideas feel more like NA.

Remember when I said this book is unsellable??? *sigh*

Can I actually sum up my book in a tweet?

This is a tricky one because I have a serious problem summarizing my book, particularly in a way to make it sound appealing. Remind me to never ever write about a taboo relationship ever again please. I know a lot of people in Twitter pitch parties use comp titles as well, and I don't have any of those, at least not contemporary ones. I've always called it Lolita meets the Catcher in the Rye, but am I allowed to do that? Those books are old and very good. Kinda feels pretentious. I have no idea.

Can I write a query letter?

On the off chance that one of my tweets gets liked by an agent or publisher, hey guess what the next step is??? And I do not have a query letter ready. I've tried writing one before and it did not go well (let's not talk about that again...). And if I'm spending all this time trying just to finish the novel, I probably won't get a query letter done in time as well. I try to justify this to myself by saying I could spend the next day or two AFTER the Twitter pitch doing this, but that probably won't go well for me.

And that's about it. I feel like the odds are against me! But I guess I'll just keep chugging along trying to finish the book and figure everything else out.

Are you participating in #IWSGpit? Am I completely insane???

45 comments:

  1. My thoughts: Make sure you are not rushing it. In two weeks you need to finish a draft, come up with a pitch and come up with a query. That means is you may not have given your writing time to res. Give yourself a chance to go back and look at it with fresh eyes. It's pretty normal to want to jump right in there, but you want to KNOW your book is ready. For what it's worth, a year ago I planned on doing the January IWSG pitch contest but chose to wait when I realized my book wasn't there yet. I did what I had to do and pitched in June. BTW, Lolita meets Catcher in the Rye would definitely catch my interest. Best of luck!

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  2. I really like Liza's comment. I know I've had moments where I wish I was better prepared for an opportunity, wish I hadn't rushed a project, etc.

    Good luck if you go for it this month!

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  3. It depends on how well you write under pressure - if you're not done with the story, will you be able to finish it by the end of the month? If you can polish a pitch and a query, I say go for it.

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  4. I've learned to approach each new year in a similar way as you have - not setting any concrete goals. It's not that I don't have goals. But life happens, and if 'life' interferes with my completion of a goal then I feel like I failed. I generalize my goals now - working out: add a day a week or 15 more minutes, writing: find ten extra minutes, blah-blah. You get it. I feel more comfortable and less edgy.

    You watched 100 movies you've never seen before? Super, super cool! Any chance you've written a list of those? I'm a major movie buff. Just wondering what I should watch next. ;) Good luck during the Twitter pitch! Wishing you a wonderful year.

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  5. I think it would be so hard to come up with a compelling tweet, let alone a query letter. Kind of makes me glad I self-published :-)

    All the best figuring out the best way forward for you and if you do go for it I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

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  6. That seems like a lot to get done is just a couple of weeks, but like Alex said, if you work well under pressure, go for it. I've contemplated the twitter pitch, but I know there are some things I want to get done first, so I think I'll wait for the next round.

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  7. I'd say prepare to do it, BUT allow yourself to pull back if you and your book aren't ready. Spend the day writing :). There will always be times to pitch.

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  8. Just do it. Practice the pitches and make them shine. You never know how it will turn out! I got my agent from a query exclusive opportunity, then she recommended me to another agent in her agency. Follow your dreams!

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  9. It's good practice and you never know what might happen. Don't feel like you have to send off your materials the second after you get a "like". Take the time to investigate the publisher or agent and first see if they are actually a good match for what you want. It may sound crazy, but you might end up saying "No thank you" to them! And don't fire off materials to both publishers and agents at the same time. If you want to go the agent route, query them until you're ready to consider querying publishers. (I learned that lesson the hard way.)

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  10. If you haven't finished the book by the pitch fest happens, you should probably hold off on pitching, because if you do get people wanting to see material, you'd have to delay the process of submitting until it's done. And if you delay that step, you could miss out, since people submit right away. (Though I agree with Tamara about researching the publisher/agent/editor first.) There will be another pitch fest in June. Maybe that'll give you more time to get everything done and be satisfied with it?

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  11. I once pitched without having finished. Arrrgh! It did not end well. :-(

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  12. Good luck. You'll have so much fun and learn a lot. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  13. I admire people who can do this!

    Happy New Year!

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  14. Ooo, it never hurts to try though, right? It will all be good practice and a learning experience. I used to do those all the time before I gave up on the whole traditional publishing thing. (I actually had a publisher but no agent and it was a bad experience) However, I think if you put in the effort to do this, it will make you a better writer regardless of the outcome. You don't have anything to lose really. So, go for it!

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  15. Well, you are probably a bit insane, but hey, you're a writer. What do you expect?

    Sometimes pushing yourself by giving yourself tight goals can be a good thing. What's the worst that could happen if you don't have everything ready by the time you pitch? If one agent shows interest, then other agents will follow suit at the next pitch party. You'll still learn a lot through the process of throwing your hat into the ring. Congratulations on being almost finished. Have a happy new year.

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  16. That's a tough decision. If you don't think you'll be prepared, there will be another pitch. Or you may decided to submit to an agent or publisher on your own, when the story is complete. Whatever you decide, best of luck. You never know.

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  17. I really enjoyed reading the responses, because I'm in a bind that way, too. I feel "mostly finished" with my book but there are three chapters that are a bit messy, so ... I've told myself (especially after reading this) that if I can finish them and come up with a few okayish pitches in the next two weeks, then I can participate. If not ... well, I wait, again, I guess. Argh. This has been my slowest project in a while, but I want it to be ... well, something.
    Best wishes on pitching, not pitching, whichever way you go! And happy finishing!!!

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  18. I'd say do the best you can, even if you don't feel 100% ready. Even if things don't go as well as you'd like, you're sure to learn something from the experience, and you'll feel more prepared for the next time.

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  19. Go ahead and pitch. When you get interest in it, then for sure you'll burn the midnight oil to get it finished! If you're on the third draft, you are practically done with the basics. And please be more positive about your ability. You can write a query letter. Look up samples on the internet and get ideas. Don't try and reinvent the wheel. Ok--that's cliche, but you know exactly what I mean. I wish I could pitch, but I'm not a tweeter. Good luck! Just do it!
    JQ Rose

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  20. Good luck in the pitch event. I too struggle with summarizing my book, let alone trying to do it in less than 280 characters because you have to leave room for the hashtag and comp titles if you have them. Something else I can never figure out.

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  21. Yeah, you're insane, but that's not bad. Sane people let craziness stop them from trying. ;)

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  22. Unless you really feel compelled to do the twitter pitch contest, I'd wait until the next one in six-months. You want to be totally prepared if you get a request.

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  23. Let me give you a publisher time line and then you can decide. If I like a pitch, I expect a query (complete with 2-5 page synopsis and marketing plan) within a week. If I like what I read, within 1-3 weeks I'll request the first three chapters. If I like that, within 2-4 weeks I'll request a full. That gives you 4 weeks on the low side to have the manuscript complete and edited. Doable?

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    1. Thanks for the advice, Diane! It's funny because that's absolutely doable for the novel itself because the first 3 chapters are ready to go and I could definitely finish the whole thing in 4 weeks. Now I'm thinking I should drop the novel for now and focus on the query/synopsis if I really want to do the pitch. Hmm...

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  24. I've always believed the novel should be done before you pitch and the first few chapters should be polished to perfection. There are lots of examples and templates on writing one-liners and query letters. You could use one of those and then personalize it. You're not insane. You have plans and I like that.

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  25. One way to answer all your questions about whether you can do all these things is to try it. So, I say go for it! @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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  26. Just do your best to get ready. You can always pull off later. Good luck!

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  27. If you enter the pitch contest, your book should be ready to send to requesting agents or editors. I like using these events as deadlines for final revisions, but only if I am really just polishing it up.

    Re is the book unsellable: That depends on who you are trying to sell it to.

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  28. I'd usually say not to pitch if you're not ready. I was planning on pitching a book, but it's not ready, so I'll be waiting. I'd rather everything be ready and polished than to waste an opportunity by sending off something that's not ready.

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  29. Only pitch if you really feel ready. Otherwise, you look unprofessional. Opportunities to pitch will come around again. I didn't know you could set up a movies watched list on IMDB. That is so cool. I'll have to check into that. Good luck with your goals--vague or specific. 2019 is going to be a great year!

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  30. Keep working at it! What was your favorite of the 100 movies?

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  31. I agree with those who say to wait until you're sure it's ready. Good luck!

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  32. Happy IWSG. Hope you have a wonderful year.

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  33. That sounds like quite a challenge! I've never participated so I'm not much help, but I'd say it depends on how much time you have to write in the next couple weeks. Best of luck to you and Happy New Year!

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  34. I don't think it's insane to have a try – although attempting to sum up a book in a tweet might make a person feel close to it.

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  35. Sounds like you've got a good plan with regards to whether or not to participate. I hope you do get everything in line so that you can!

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  36. Your book sounds a little like Dan Wells' I Am Not A Serial Killer. The main character is 15 in the first book. Yet, it's about a socialpath. In Germany, they market it as YA, but in the US they don't.

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  37. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.
    It's cool that you watched all those movies and read those books.
    The main reason I've never participated in the pitch is because I've never had anything ready when one was going on.
    I don't think you're insane at all. Sometimes we have to take leaps. I know that I'm no good at writing YA and struggle at writing romance, yet I still submitted to the anthology. I didn't make the cut, but the experience was worth it. I'm one step closer to submitting something in a genre I'm more comfortable with.
    You never know how this could turn out for you.

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  38. I think sometimes you have to rely on a gut feeling for these things. I would say you have to wait until it's ready, which normally means leaving it for a while, but I know you've been working on this for a long time. You never know what could happen. And I would say being asked for a query letter is great motivation for, well, learning to write a query letter!

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  39. As Nick says above, go with your gut.
    If you decide to pitch, have fun! Plus it will be a great learning experience.
    Happy New Year!
    Writer In Transit

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  40. I add in my vote to go with your gut. Good luck and have a great 2019!

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  41. I'm not participating this time around, because the last Twitter pitch I was in introduced me to my agent. So it's totally worth it!

    Your book is already in rewrites, so I'd say go for it. Getting requests would be an excellent motivator to finish it.

    As for the query letter, they're tough, but a request already puts you ahead of the slush pile. I'm happy to help when the time comes. Good luck! Be fierce.

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  42. I participated in the Twitter pitch and got picked up. My book is now published. So, I would say go for it. You can get all the stuff done. Have confidence in yourself.

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  43. Practice makes perfect in my opinion. Good luck with everything!

    www.ficklemillennial.blogspot.com

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