How to Write a Great Twitter Pitch

Photo credit: Johan Larsson on Flickr
It’s that time again! We are just days away from yet another fantastic Twitter pitch contest, this one on May 28 from 8AM to 8PM EDT. You can find all the details, rules and extra tidbits here, as well as a post on why you should enter pitch contests here.

That out of the way, on to the real meat of the post: Twitter pitches.

Your goal behind putting together a Twitter pitch should be to sum up or give the essence your novel in a way that’s intriguing—all within 140 characters. Simple, right? (Right, let’s go with that).

By the end of your Twitter pitch, readers should know a few key things about your novel: 

  • Who your MC is. 
  • What’s at stake. 
  • Essence of plot. 
  • Genre. 
  • Bonus: What makes your story unique. 
  • Bonus: Conveying the voice. 

That seems like a lot to fit into 140 characters, and it is. But if done correctly, you may just catch the eye of a publishing professional. As an added bonus, a well-crafted Twitter pitch can be turned into a fantastic log line, which is useful in several stages of the publishing process.

Because it would be unfair for me to talk about Twitter pitches without giving examples, I’ll let you tear mine apart. Here’s a variation of what I’ll be using next week:
Cade is unaware a secret society has been watching since he killed his gf w/ a kiss—now an assassin isn't his biggest problem #PitMad YAPar 
It isn’t a perfect example by any means, but it hits the main points: you know who the MC is and what’s at stake, the essence of the plot comes across, and there’s the genre tag at the end. You also may have noticed that you need to fit the hashtag into the Twitter pitch. So you don’t really have 140 characters at your disposal, sorry.

For examples of some Twitter pitches that got requests in March’s Pitch Madness, check out this fantastic roundup from Carissa Taylor.

Finally, I’d like to do something a little different here at Writability in anticipation of the upcoming #PitMad contest—I’m hosting a pitch critique session right here in the comments from right now (May 24) until Monday, May 27th at midnight EDT. 

I’m going to do my very best to try to critique every pitch that’s posted, but I encourage you guys to lurk around and critique each others pitches as well—not only is it nice to interact with each other and make friends (we like making friends, yes?), but it’s actually fantastic practice. If someone other than myself critiques your pitch, it would be very nice for you to return the favor. As I’ve said before, you can learn just as much from critiquing each other as you can from getting a critique.

Also, if you’d like to critique mine while you’re at it, you’re more than welcome to. It’s not a requirement, but I do enjoy trading critiques, and it might be fun for you guys to have the opportunity to tear my stuff apart. Maybe. If you like that kind of stuff.

Note: If you do critique each other, please be courteous. I may have a thick skin, but not everyone does. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated and all that. Ok.

Anyway, so let’s get to it, shall we? Post your Twitter pitches in the comments below and let’s have some fun!

UPDATE 3/25/14: I am temporarily taking more pitches for a last-minute critique! I'll post here and on Twitter when the critiques are closed again. Good luck! :) 

UPDATE 3/25/14: Pitmad is over and critiquing is now closed. Thanks to all who participated!

Twitter-sized bites: 

Entering #pitmad? Get some tips and a critique on your pitch at @Ava_Jae’s blog! (Click to tweet)

Having trouble with your Twitter pitch? Here are some tips. (Click to tweet)


Laura Rueckert said...

Great idea to crit pitches!

Here's mine:
YA Healing depressed humans shouldn’t work, but for Garrett, Lexi has to try. Except her species needs every body donor it can get. #PitMad

Your pitch: I like how you show the secret society is more dangerous than the assassin. I might suggest you start with "A secret society has been watching Cade since...". It sounds smoother to me that way. But I know if you tweet several times you just have to mix it up a little or Twitter won't accept it...

Ava Jae said...

Thanks, Laura! I thought it be a fun exercise in anticipation of #PitMad. :)

Now your pitch: I remember this from...WriteOnCon? Yes, I think so. I think this pitch works pretty well--I like the twist of needing the body donor, and you hit all of the main important points. One minor note: you may want to consider moving the YA to the end. This may just me being silly, but for a second I read the genre as "YA Healing" and then I realized what was going on. Not a huge deal (people will figure it out), but if you put it after the period at the end, no one will trip over it. Not even people being silly.

Do you have any alternates? I don't think this one really needs fixing. :)

Shay Dee said...

Ok I have NO idea what I'm doing so I'm not in the right mind to be critiquing anyone's tweets, but I'll be keeping a keen eye on the comments to see how it's done so I can get the hang of it. (I'm only recently getting to grips with hashtags!)

Here was my first one.

While hunting diseased Cyborgs, Lyken finds the
answer to the virus afflicting his island. Now the pharmaceutical co. is hunting him.#pitmad

Not sure if that's any good but I need the genre and who it's aimed at don't I? I wasn't sure the abbreviations for either so I did this as my second (in an attempt to add voice also)

A/SF While hunting diseased Cyborgs Lyken finds
the answer to the virus afflicting his island. "Hell no!" says the
pharmaceutical co.#pitmad

Any help is welcome my fellow PeN JunKiEs!

Good luck everyone!

Ava Jae said...

No worries, Shay! It wasn't that long ago that I was in your shoes, trying to figure out how to put together a Twitter pitch. :)

As for the pitches, I definitely like the first one better. I understand wanting to get voice in your pitch (and it's fantastic if you can manage it), but the second one didn't really work for me (although others may feel differently!) As far as the abbreviations go, A/SF works just fine (Adult Sci-Fi, I presume). You MAY be able to get away with just saying SF, but I would double check with other adult writers. I know YA and MG always specifies, but I'm not 100% sure on adult novels.

That being said, I really do like your first pitch--we get a great sense of conflict and what's at stake, and as an added bonus I think Lyken is an awesome name. I just have two questions:

1) The capitalization of Cyborgs--are you referring to a specific named group of cyborgs? If so, keep the capitalization. If you mean cyborgs in general, you can lose the caps.

2) I'm a little confused about the hunting cyborgs bit. The virus is plaguing his island, and the cyborgs or diseased, so it sounds like he lives on an island with cyborgs on it (which may or may not be true) and his people are the cyborgs? If that's the case, why is he hunting them? Side not to this is that you say "hunting" twice, so you might want to switch one out. I would suggest switching out the first "hunting." I didn't do this when adjusting your pitch (see below) because I didn't understand enough about his hunting them to choose an appropriate synonym, but it's something to keep in mind.

Now to get it to fit with the genre, I found a shorter synonym for "afflicting" and deleted a period so you have enough characters:

While hunting diseased cyborgs, Lyken finds the answer to the virus killing his island. Now the pharmaceutical co. is hunting him SF #pitmad

Hope this helps!

Shay Dee said...

yup yup YUP!

What you pointed out in regards to the Cyborg/cyborg I've already been told so *slaps wrist* for making that mistake again. It should just be cyborgs.

Yes you're right, he lives on the island with the Cyborgs. (see? Done it again.)
The diseased cyborgs are the one's spreading the virus to the people - Lyken's people, so they are often hunted. I was hoping using the word diseased might imply that but it might not be coming over right. Having said all that what say you to the first use of the word "hunting"? Leave or remove?

And thank you so much!

Ava Jae said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. Ok, I didn't quite get that the cyborgs were the perpetrators of the disease spread. Hmm. I think you might want to consider trying to make it more clear that the cyborgs are actually the cause of the disease. Otherwise, I would say keep the first hunting and change the second. You could say the pharmaceutical company is after him or something like that instead.

And you're very welcome! ^_^

Shay Dee said...

Thanks again Ava! Will be watching closely for other Twitter Pitches.

I learnt something here today, lol.

p.s am glad you like my MC's name... It's a fungus. Shhhhh....

Ava Jae said...

Absolutely, Shay! Very glad to hear this was helpful. ^_^

P.S.: It'll be our secret.

Emily said...

I'm not actually participating in #pitmad, but I thought I'd leave my pitch here anyway. Hopefully I can join in next time it rolls around.

It takes Jess 1 orange minivan and 2 sets of bad kissing to realise that it’s not love she wants but mutual weirdness. YAcontemp #pitmad

(four characters to spare, woohoo!)

No idea how good/bad this is. Maybe I need to read some more!

Emily said...

I agree with Ava here - the YA should go at the back. Not really sure I understand the bit about body donors, but it makes me sufficiently interested that (if I was an agent) I would request it just to find out.

Kimmy :) said...

I have two for my YA:

YA- An 18 y/o girl gets death threats when she
reports in her conspiracy theory column that a teacher is pregnant by a senior #PitMad


#pitmad YA An 18 y/o girl must decide if the truth is more important than her life when
she’s threatened to stop exposing school secrets.

Kimmy :) said...

I have one for my MG:

#pitmad=MGAdventureWhen her parents don't believe her, 11 yo Trinity & her friends must stop stranded aliens from invading their cruiseship

Ava Jae said...

Hey Emily! While I like the counting thing, I'm not sure your pitch conveys enough about your book. I don't really understand what's at stake, or what the main plot problem is. Also, if you need a couple more characters when revising, you can further abbreviate your genre to YA Cont. Hope this helps!

Ava Jae said...

Oh yes! I remember these from last #pitmad. I really liked these last go around and I don't have have any major suggestions--I think they work well and tell us everything we need to know.

On a ridiculously minor note, if you want to save yourself a character, you can throw YA at the end and remove the hyphen on the first pitch. That would also give you enough room to put the period in. Actually, I just tested it out and you have plenty of characters left, so I'd suggest putting the genre in as well. Not a huge deal, though.

Nice job!

Ava Jae said...

This sounds really fun! Once again I only have some minor fixes:

When her parents don't believe her, 11 y/o Trinity & her friends must stop stranded aliens from invading their cruiseship. MG #pitmad

By moving MG to the end and removing Adventure, you have enough room to put the slash in "y/o" (which reads better than "yo"). You also definitely don't need the equal sign, which just takes up a much-needed character.

As for removing Adventure, the only reason I pulled it out was because it was taking up a lot of characters and I couldn't figure out a way to decently shorten it. I took a look at the requested MG entries from last #pitmad and saw that most of the MG didn't have a genre, so I think you could probably get away with just saying MG.

Hope this helps!

Kimmy :) said...

Thank you Ava!!! The reason for the = was simply that you cannot repeat a tweet, so each one I changed by adding some symbol. But thanks so much! I appreciate it!

Kimmy :) said...

Thanks again! And again, the reason for the hyphen was same as the MG - you cannot retweet the same tweet, so I added a character or moved around a period each time I changed it. But thanks again - this one got me three requests!

Ava Jae said...

Ah! Yes, ok I totally understand that. Every little variation helps to trick Twitter. And you're very welcome! :)

Ava Jae said...

I am not at all surprised that this got you requests. Good luck this time around!

Laura Rueckert said...

Hi Emily, thanks for your crit on mine. I agree with Ava Jae. Esp the range minivan sounds amusing, but I'd also like to see something about the conflict. Best of luck!

Laura Rueckert said...

Thanks, Ava. What, you've never heard of the very specific genre of YA Healing? ;-)

Yep, it was in WriteOnCon. Sometimes I had the YA at the beginning, sometimes at the end. Maybe if I put a period or comma in between, it will help clarify when it's in the beginning.

These are the other pitches I have.

YASF Human body donations are the only chance of survival for Lexi's species. Preventing Garrett's is betrayal. Is her secret safe? #PitMad


Stay away from humans. Easy for Lexi-until Garrett. She'd heal him. If only her species didn't need human body donors to survive. YA #PitMad

Laura Rueckert said...

Hi Kimmy, Wow, sounds like a great idea. If you need to save characters, you could abbreviate Adventure to Adv. Otherwise, thanks for the idea of using special characters to vary the tweet. Otherwise, I don't have any other suggestions. Best of luck!

Laura Rueckert said...

Hi Kimmy, I like the first one better because it's more specific and the stakes seem more palpable.

Laura Rueckert said...

Hi Shay, a fungus. Heehee. Oops, secret's out. I like the first better also. I'd agree that SF is probably enough. Maybe you could use "infectious" instead of "diseased" to show they are the ones spreading it. If you switch the 2nd "hunting" to "after" and abbreviate pharmaceutical to "pharma" I think it would fit. Good luck!

Laura Rueckert said...

Thanks Emily!

Lisa Gail Green said...

Ooh it looks so fun! Can i try for fun? I probably suck at this...

Everyone thinks Ash is crazy Xcept the girl in the mirror who offers 2 trade a night of sanity 4 her body, but Ash doesn't know it's 4 keeps

Ack that was hard!!

Ava Jae said...

You're very welcome, Laura! I actually realized that I'd meant to thank you for your suggestion, because I like the shift that you suggested. Evidently I forgot to add that in after critiquing your pitch, but I thought I'd let you know that I intend to use it as a variation. So thank you! :)

As for the YA think, I think adding a period after YA if you put it at the beginning will work just fine.

And now your other pitches...

For the first one, I really like the first sentence. After that, however, it becomes a little confusing. While I understand what you mean by "Preventing Garrett's is a betrayal," I only do because I read your query during WriteOnCon. If I hadn't, I'd be wondering preventing Garrett for what?, and then the next sentence wouldn't make sense because I wouldn't be sure what Lexi's secret was. So while I like the beginning, I think the second two sentences need clarification.

Now your second pitch. I like what you're doing here, but I think you could push even more with Lexi & Garrett's relationship. I'm making grand assumptions here and guessing that they end up in a romantic relationship (although I could be wrong), but here's what I did to tweak:

Staying away from humans is easy for Lexi until she falls for Garrett. If only her species didn't need bodies like his to survive.YA #PitMad

Ava Jae said...

Hey Lisa! You're more than welcome to join in on the fun. :)

There are elements in your pitch that make me think you have a really interesting story (like a girl in the mirror no one else sees? Awesome). The only issue is I'm not totally sure what you mean by the girl trading a night of sanity for her body (is she insane? By body do you mean she steps out of the mirror?). I'm also not sure what is "for keeps." Do she and Ash switch places? Or does he not realize when she leaves the mirror, it's permanent? I missing it entirely?

Like I said, there are elements here that sound really interesting, but I think you need a little more clarification. Twitter pitches are totally hard, but I hope this helps!

Laura Rueckert said...

Thanks Ava! I've added your rewrite to my list of pitches to use. It's funny - the one with "is her secret safe" is my least favorite, but the one that got the most retweets. Not sure what I want to do with it. Let me know if there are any others of yours you'd like more feedback on.

Kimmy :) said...

Thank you so much!

Kimmy :) said...

Thanks for your thoughts! I actually got requests last #pitmad on both of them, but I'd have to check to see which one got more...

Kimmy :) said...


Annette T Dodd said...

Can I play, Ava? :o)

16-yr-old Callie is all for competing in the Tasheale Challenges tournament if it'll save her foster parents from the gallows. #PitMad YAFan

(Also, can you explain about not being able to repeat a tweet for this Twitter newbie?? Thanks!)

Annette T Dodd said...

Aw, thank you - you're such a star. I've managed to fit it in (just!).

I couldn't think of anything to crit on yours, btw - it sounded good to me!

Shay Dee said...

Infectious .. duh! The things I miss ey?! Thank you so much, your comment will copy and pasted to my notes.
And there I was looking for another word when I could have just shortened it to Pharma, lol.

KathrynFaye007 said...

I thought I'd give it a shot and see if I can improve on my pitches. I appreciate any advice you can give me.

1) PNR When an Ancient Egyptian tome attracts murderous ghosts, an Egyptologist and a Grim Reaper must trust each other to save mankind #pitmad

2) PNR For Egyptologist Sherrilyn, being chased by the dead is not fun; neither is living with a grim reaper she's falling in love with #pitmad

There they are and once again thank you.

Melissa Oblitas said...

Ooh, I'd love to try this. If anyone can give me some advice it'd be much appreciated.

I realize the second one doesn't tell anything about the MC, but I'm still kind of fond of it.

If Jake doesn't get rid of his powers he'll be executed by the state. But he may have to take another's life to save his own. #pitmad YA

Don't tell ghost stories. Don't talk about magic. The soldiers will come if you do. And the soldiers never bring anyone back. #pitmad YA

Melissa Oblitas said...

I really like the first one! I'd leave that one as is.

As for the second one, I think I might switch out "the dead" with something a bit more evocative. I really like murderous ghosts in the first pitch. I know that eats up some of your characters, so maybe drop the bit about "living with" the grim reaper. I think in such a short pitch I just need to know that she's falling in love with him, not that she's also living with him. (Though that's a cool detail!)

Just my two cents.

KathrynFaye007 said...

Thanks :D I'm leaning more towards the first one myself. LOL

Sarai said...

Let me give this a try :)

Tabor is the key to saving humanity from the Underkeeper,
but she hasn’t learned to use her powers yet, let alone deal with a mad man
trying to kill her. #PitMad #YA

KathrynFaye007 said...

The second one is a good hook but you are right it doesn't tell about the MC or conflict. In my opinion I enjoy that the first one tells me that Jake is in trouble because of his magic and that the state doesn't like magic. It also shows the conflict that he finds in the book. Kill another to save himself or let the other live and condemn his life. All in all, I like the first one the best.

And it does sound like an interesting book. I would read more!

Ava Jae said...

Hi Kathryn! I agree with Melissa about the "murderous ghosts" bit and tweaking some of that second pitch. But let me break it down one at a time.

Pitch one: As I said earlier, I particularly like that line about the ghosts. I also think the whole premise of an Ancient Egyptian tome with a Grim Reaper sounds particularly fantastic. As for the pitch itself, I think this works well--my only comment is on the "saving mankind" bit. I know you're likely running low on characters, so it may be difficult to switch it out, but saving mankind (and variations thereof) is something that's used pretty frequently. Not an enormous deal really, and I think you can get away with using it, but it something to consider.

Pitch two: This one doesn't quite give us as much of a sense of what's at stake and what the conflict is (besides not enjoying living with the reaper she's falling in love with and not having fun being chased by the dead?) I do like that we get a sense for what the romance is, but I think your first one definitely works better. If you could give us something more powerful than "being chased by the dead is not fun," this might pack a more powerful punch.

I also agree that if you can manage to fit the murderous ghosts in there, it'd probably help. :)

Good luck!

Ava Jae said...

Interesting premise! I do love stories with powers. I think your first pitch works well--we get a sense of the story, who your MC is, the conflict and the stakes, so you hit all of the major points (nice job!). I do agree with Kathryn about the second one, though--it doesn't tell us much of anything about the MC or conflict, which is really important in a pitch. As Kathryn said, it'd be a nice hook, but I think as far as Twitter pitches go, you'd be better off using your first one.

Hope this helps!

Ava Jae said...

Wow! This sounds like such a cool story and your pitch covers all of the important points. The only problem is that it's way more than 140 characters.

But not to worry! I condensed it to fit. Barely. :)

Tabor might save humanity from the Underkeeper, but first she must learn to use her powers & deal w/ a mad man trying to kill her #PitMad YA

Feel free to make variations of course, but this is at least closer to the character limit. Hope it helps!

KathrynFaye007 said...

Thinking about what you said I will see if I can correct both of these and see which is better:

1) PNR When an Ancient Egyptian tome attracts murderous ghosts, an Egyptologist and a Grim Reaper must trust each other or be devoured #pitmad

2) PNR For Egyptologist Sherrilyn, being chased by murderous ghosts is terrifying as is the grim reaper she's falling in love with #pitmad

KathrynFaye007 said...

Ooh sounds like an awesome story :D I agree with Ava that it is longer than the Twitter word. While Ava condensed it I messed around a bit to see if I could help.

Pitch Tweek: #YA Without knowing how to use her powers and a mad man out to kill her, how is Tabor going to save humanity from the Underkeeper? #pitmad

Managed to use up all but 1 character but it fit. lol Other than that I think this is a good pitch and it covers ALL of the most important points. I wish you good luck :D

KathrynFaye007 said...

That's just fine :D I did that too my first pitmad lol I wanted to count words not characters. Twitter helps you make sure your pitches are short, simple and to the point :D

Lisa Gail Green said...

Awesome critique!! LOL I should keep my day job. Oh wait. Hmm...

Laura Rueckert said...

Oh, Ava, I actually like this one even better. I don't know the story, but I'm a sucker for a guy who has to fight his dark side. You should def try this one too and see how the reactions are.

Ava Jae said...

Oooo. Ok. I think your first one still works better--and I like what you did with the being devoured bit. I would actually recommend alternating with this new version of pitch one, and the saving mankind one. Yes, they're basically the same, but one highlights an interesting detail about the consequences of failing (being devoured) and the other highlights the full impact of the stakes (mankind is in trouble). So I'd use both. :)

Now your second updated pitch. I think this works better than the first version, but as I said above, I think the first pitch works better. HOWEVER, this does highlight the romance aspect so I like this one as well. The natural solution, then, is to use both. :)

I'd just make two minor changes:

PNR For Egyptologist Sherrilyn, being chased by murderous ghosts is as terrifying as the grim reaper she's falling in love with. #pitmad

All I did was add the "as" before "terrifying" and remove the "is" after the current "as." It reads a little smoother. Oh, and I also added a period at the end, because if you have room for it, being grammatically correct isn't a bad thing. :)

Ava Jae said...

I'm glad I asked, then! I'll definitely put it in rotation. Thank you, Laura! :)

Ava Jae said...

Ha ha, glad it helped! Twitter pitches are tricky. Feel free to post a revision if you'd like. Or not. Totally up to you. :)

KathrynFaye007 said...

Thank you and I like the idea. I do like switching pitches if I can during #pitmad b/c one might appeal to someone whereas the second attracts another. Thank you very much for your help. I think I'm ready for #pitmad.

Shay Dee said...

To Ava and everyone else: I'm learning LOADS! I'll be totally prepared next time around. Does anyone know how often this takes place in a year?

Ava Jae said...

Glad to hear it, Shay! I'm not sure exactly how many there are a year--the last one was in March and before that it was in late December, if I remember correctly. I know the next Twitter pitch event is PitchMas in July, and I'm not sure what the event after that is. If you follow @brendadrake on Twitter, however, you'll hear all about it when the next events are announced. :)

Shay Dee said...

Super! Thanks again Ava :p

Ava Jae said...

You're very welcome. :)

Kim Bullock said...

Okay, I'll play. Here are a couple versions of mine:

HistFic:Gifted artist Martha Niles becomes muse to consumptive married painter. Her desperate act to save him will destroy them both.#PitMad


HistFic:Gifted artist Martha Niles takes consumptive married painter as muse. Her desperate act to save him will change art history.#PitMad

Both are true (they are each other's muse). I'm leaning ore toward the second one because she sounds more proactive than reactive.

Ava Jae said...

Hmmm ok. So I think I'm tripping over the same thing in both. "Her desperate act to save him will x." I think my issue is that I'm not entirely sure what the desperate act is--taking him as a muse? I'm also not 100% sure what you mean by taking each other as a muse. In the case of the second pitch, I'm also not entirely sure what the problem is--you're already telling us they'll change art history together, which I'm assuming is a good thing, so what's at stake?

Hope this helps!

Kim Bullock said...

Hmmm...this is what I used last time and did get two requests.

Gifted young artist becomes muse of famed/married/invalid painter & discovers only way to save man she luvs will destroy him. #PitMad.

Is that better? The stakes may be more clear in that version.

Ava Jae said...

Yes! I think this one works much better, and I can see why it got requests. We have a much better sense of the conflict. I particularly love the part about discovering that the "only way to save man she loves will destroy him." If you take out gifted or young you may be able to fit genre (or spell out "loves") but those are minor points.

afterthought9 said...

Ok, so as promised: Here are three. Are they any good?
How do you survive an upswing in terrorism in your kingdom when you’re 13 and newly engaged? No, seriously. I need to know. MG #PitMad

Two powerful kingdoms under siege. What's keeping them safe? Just me, my friends, & the fact that I got engaged at
the age of 13. MG #PitMad

Two powerful kingdoms under siege. What's keeping them safe? Just me, my friends, & the fact that I got engaged at
the age of 13. MG #PitMad

Ava Jae said...

I think the second two are the same? Ok, well regardless, my first suggestion is to actually write it in third person, even if your WIP is in first person. I'm not going to say that first person pitches never work, but a lot of agents don't like them, so it's better if you don't give yourself any unnecessary obstacles. Second, you may want to avoid questions--it's another thing that while not everyone dislikes, many do. And especially in a contest like #pitmad, you want to try to attract as many people as possible.

If you post some revisions, I'd be happy to give you more feedback. :)

afterthought9 said...

Something like this?: 13yo Jarron is crown prince. To strengthen his kingdom he has to get engaged. To keep it he has to figure out how to be himself. MG #PitMad

Ava Jae said...

That's much better. If you could give us more sense of the conflict (perhaps by replacing that last line?) it'd be even stronger.

afterthought9 said...

Ok, the replacing part is stumping me. Ugh. How about this one?: A 13yo crown prince is engaged to a girl he won’t admit he likes, as rumors of unrest become acts of terrorism in the kingdom. MG #PitMad

(Do you need more than two?)

afterthought9 said...

Or: Jarron lives the life of an average 13yo prince. That is, until he gets engaged to Sasha and turns an ally into an enemy. MG #PitMad

Ava Jae said...

I like both of these! The first one definitely gives us a better sense of conflict and it hints about the romantic tension, which is great. The second once also tells us a lot about tension, and while we don't necessarily get the same sense of conflict (scale-wise anyway), I do like what it implies. Great job! :)

As for how many you need, it's up to you. There isn't any requirement, it just helps to have alternates so people don't get tired of seeing the same pitches over and over again and so Twitter allows you to re-post your pitches. But I would say definitely use these two. ^_^

afterthought9 said...

Thank you so much! Really!

Ava Jae said...

You're very welcome! So glad it helped. :)

Tothesea4 said...

I've got 3 different manuscripts and ive never written a pitch before. Help!

PB Just a girl?! Abigail isn't gonna let THAT kid ruin her day. She knows what she can do and what she shouldn't, well most of the time#pitmad

PB How does not taking care of the Earth turn into a beautiful hidden treasure? I'll tell you in just 33 words. #pitmad

PB Who you gonna call when Mother Hen's egg doesn't hatch? The Eggsperts of course. #pitmad

Ok, I just read your suggestion to not use questions, HELP!

Ava Jae said...

Ok, I'm going to take these one at a time:

Pitch 1: I'm not entirely sure what the story is about. I get that it has something to do with Abigail and a girl trying to ruin her day...but otherwise I'm not sure. I'd suggest adding a better sense of conflict (exactly what the issue is).

Pitch 2: Again, I'm not sure what the conflict is. I get that these are picture books (so I'm a little out of my element, here), but I don't fully understand what the book is about, who the main character is, or what the problem is that they have to overcome.

Pitch 3: This is cute--I like the "Eggsperts" thing, and I do get a sense of the conflict (Mother Hen's egg isn't hatching) and who the MC is (Mother Hen, I'm presuming). Like I said before, I'm not exactly an expert on PB pitches, but I do like this one--particularly the voice you use to get your pitch across.

Hope this helps!

Julia Mae Staley said...

I totally don't even know how to shorten the plot but here we go, here are three options I have floating around:

Make eye contact with Fae? Lose your soul. Don't kill; you aren't really an assassin. Confront the King who killed your Father. #pitmad #YA

CINDER meets GRACELING: Though 15YO Ebony isn't an assassin, the King who killed her father wants to control her mind anyway. #YA #pitmad

15yo Ebony has already lost her hometown. But if she makes eye contact with the Fae, she may lose her soul. #YA #tradfantasy #pitmad

Are any of these intriguing?


S.A Jeffrey said...

Hi! Would love if you can help me out!

#PitMad #YA 17yo Alice awakens on a medieval battlefield in another world. Disguised as a man, she fights flesh-eating monsters to get home.

#PitMad #YA What if Alice woke up in a carnival of horrors instead of Wonderland? Demons, war and a heroine disguised as man.

#PitMad #YA In a world where men rule supreme, Alice disguises as a man as she embarks on a dangerous journey to get home in another world.

#PitMad #YA In BLOOD REIGN, 17yo Alice awakens in a medieval world. She must pretend to be a man to get home or get preyed by men.

#PitMad #YA 17yo Alice awakens in a different world. She must find her way home or get stuck here forever and risk getting eaten by demons.

#PitMad#YA Fairy tale retelling: Alice falls in a horrifying Wonderland. She must keep her humanity intact or succumb to her joy of killing.

#PitMad #YA When a seer told her she will save the world from death, Alice is torn--she just started to enjoy killing.

Alice in Wonderland meets in The 12th Night when Alice awakens into a medieval world & dresses as a man on her quest to get home #PitMad YA

Alice dives off a cliff to avoid killers, mystically falls into a battlefield where she discovers her own killer side. #PitMad YA

Rather than facing the killers' dark plans for her, Alice jumps and falls into an evil Wonderland where she may become a killer. #PitMad YA

Joshua Mason said...

I'll throw my hat in the ring. I dont see too many NF posts in #pitmad so here goes:

Larry Crane is part of the biggest band in the world. Will he sacrifice everything for fame, or stay true to himself? NF-Bio #pitmad

Larry was involved in over 70 top 40 hits. Most people have never heard of him. Was that choice or the fickle whim of fame? NF-Bio #pitmad

Its a bio on John Mellencamps former guitar player. He helped write just about all the big hits for him and only got credit for one or two. Left band after 16 years, and decided to do things his way even if it meant not being super famous. To him being true to yourself is more important. Not sure if I can convey that in a #pitmad pitch. Thanks for reading :)

Ava Jae said...

Hi Julia!

So here are my thoughts...

1) This first pitch confuses me. I like the eye contact/lost soul thing, but I don't understand how it connects to the other two thoughts. The line, "Don't kill; you aren't really an assassin" I also find confusing, because it seems to indicate that a) she thinks maybe she's an assassin? and b) the only reason she'd have to kill someone is if she thought she was an assassin. I think separately, the ideas you have here are interesting, but together I have trouble seeing how they connect.

2) I LOVE the comps here—CINDER meets GRACELING sounds awesome. The first bit of your pitch, however, also confuses me "Though 15YA Ebony isn't an assassin..." do we need to know that she isn't? I wouldn't immediately assume she was an assassin unless you told us she was, so this seemed like extra characters that you could use to tell us something else. "...the King who killed her father wants to control her mind" is interesting—maybe you could tell us why he wants to control her mind? I'm also sensing that what's at stake is having her mind controlled by the King, so what is she doing to stop it? Is she running away? Planning to kill him?

3) Like the first pitch, I don't understand how the two thoughts you have here (losing her hometown and making eye contact with the Fae) are connected. What does one have to do with the other?

Finally, make sure you include the category and fantasy abbreviation in each of your pitches. You don't need to make them hashtags (so that'll save you some characters) and you can abbreviate "Fantasy" to F most times. YA F would be understood as "YA Fantasy."

Hope this helps!

Ava Jae said...

Err...ok. I'm not able to critique ten pitches from one person, so do you think you can pick three that you'd most like critiqued?

Aightball7 said...

#PitMad LGBT When Jimmy has a violent
breakdown & faces the choice between a psych ward & his meds, Cody
learns the meaning of 'I do' #Adult

S.A Jeffrey said...

Sorry! I pressed the paste button. Didn't realise it was that many.

Here's my top 3:

#PitMad #YA What if Alice woke up in a carnival of horrors instead of Wonderland? Demons, war and a heroine disguised as man.

#PitMad #YA In a world where men rule supreme, Alice disguises as a
man as she embarks on a dangerous journey to get home in another world.

Alice in Wonderland meets in The 12th Night when Alice awakens into a
medieval world & dresses as a man on her quest to get home #PitMad

Ava Jae said...

Hello Joshua!

You're right, I don't see a lot of NF pitches, so this should be interesting...

1) You say he's part of the biggest band in the world—can you tell us which? Since this is NF, if it's such a huge band, I think name recognition would work in your favor (and probably save you some characters). Also, I know this is a little tougher in NF, but I'd like to see something more specific than sacrificing everything or staying true to himself—being vague in a pitch doesn't really help you because a lot of people use phrases like that. Show us specifically what's at stake for him.

2) I'm not 100% on this one, but I'm thinking since it's NF, maybe the full name would be more necessary than usual? Then again, I've never heard of Larry Crane so...

As for the rhetorical question, I usually advise that you avoid those in pitches. Publishing pros tend not to like them, and in this case, it doesn't really tell me all that much about the plot of your book.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

MeriAnn said...

Hania, a Golem, must draw from her Native American History to stop an oppressive leader and save her friends. #PITMAD #YA

After running from her past for 400 years, Golem Hania must create an army of Golem women warriors to defeat a corrupt leader. #PITMAD #YA

Ava Jae said...

Hmm, ok. I'm guessing Jimmy and Cody are together, but that's not totally clear here, so it's hard for me to figure out what Jimmy's violent breakdown and Cody learning the meaning of I do have to do with each other. Right now, they seem like two separate ideas. Could you perhaps rewrite it in a way that would show us how the two ideas relate? Also, right now I see what's at stake for Jimmy (he could end up in a psych ward) but not what's at stake for Cody. I suspect if you show us the relationship between the two ideas, it'll be clearer.

Hope this helps!

Joshua Mason said...

Hmm ok let me think of a new one. And I dont mind saying he was in John Mellencamps band. He was the one responsible for that signature heartland sound.

Ava Jae said...

No worries!

1) Ohhh, I saw this on Twitter! I actually love this one. I'm not usually a fan of rhetorical questions, but your first line is really super intriguing and the idea of a heroine disguised as a man makes me even more interested. The only thing is we don't get a huge sense of what's at stake here, but honestly, I think this pitch works without it because you show us some really unique elements of your MS. So great job! :)

2) This one is great, too—you're hinting at what's at stake (we can just imagine that Alice getting caught disguising herself as a man wouldn't go well) and we see her goal (to get home). The only minor change I'd make is "to get him TO another world." Yup. Great job. Again.

3) This one doesn't grab me as much as the other two. What about the carnival thing? I think if you incorporated that elements instead of the medieval world (because a carnival of horrors is way more unique than medievalism) this would grab my attention more. I'd also recommend hinting more at the dangers she faces in this pitch as well.

Finally, for all three, you don't need to hashtag "YA", so you can save yourself a character. You do, however, need to try to get the genre in if you can. This looks like Fantasy to me, so you can abbreviate to "YA F."

Good luck!!

Ava Jae said...

Hello MeriAnn!

1) Interesting! I like that you're hinting at her Native American ancestry (yay diversity!), but I'm wondering if you could get more specific with her goal? Stopping an oppressive leader and saving her friends is pretty vague, and used somewhat often in pitches. Could you give us some details that are specific to her predicament and your MS?

2) I like this idea of golems and women warriors—very cool. But again, defeating a corrupt leader is pretty vague, and we don't know what's at stake. What happens if they don't defeat the corrupt leader? Why is it so important? If you can find a way to give us more specific details and show us why it's so important to overthrow this leader, I think your pitch will be stronger for it.

I hope this helps and I wish you all the best!

Julia Mae Staley said...

Here is one that author Jena Malone just helped me with: CINDER meets GRACELING: In a world where mind control is possible, it doesn’t bode well to be a trained teenaged assassin.

Ava Jae said...

Aha! See, this makes much more sense to me. I love the comp, and I now understand the assassin reference, plus we get a sense of the problem (mind control + a specific dangerous set of skills could potentially be disastrous). Love it! :)

Julia Mae Staley said...

Tweeting now! :)

Ava Jae said...

Good luck! :D

Joshua Mason said...

hows this?

Larry a creator of 'Heartland Rock' and member of Mellencamps band is on top. But he is tired of paying the high price of fame. NF #pitmad

Ava Jae said...

That's a little better, but the second sentence has me wondering "Ok, so what?" What is Larry's goal and what's at stake? I think you can shorten the first part by saying "creator of 'Heartland Rock'" OR "member of Mellencamp's band" and then have more characters to show us what Larry's goal is and what he has to lose.

Novlette Myers said...

(#YA) No one listens to a loser; raped biracial
teen Fel Colt must run her way to fame to bring down a white coach &2

Ava Jae said...

Um, hmm. I suppose the first question I have is how rape plays into the story—right now the fact that she was raped is almost used as a characteristic, which doesn't really work for me. Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the line "No one listens to a loser" because after you tell us she was raped, it almost sounds like you're saying she was a loser because she was raped. I'm guessing that's not what you meant, but that's how it sounds right now.

Secondly, what do you mean by "run her way to fame"? Are you talking track and field? And why is she trying to bring down the coach and footballers? It almost sounds like either a) they were involved in the rape or b) she's trying to bring them down just because they're white.

I think what you need here are some clarifying details. Fel's goal is to bring down the coach and footballers, but why? What's at stake if she doesn't?

Finally, you can save yourself some characters by just putting YA at the end instead of "(#YA)". You should consider adding the genre in there, however, if possible.

Hope this helps!

Novlette Myers said...

Here are 3: 1 before and 2 after I read your blog:

#PitMad (#YA) When 2 footballers rape Fel Colt, they
have no idea they’ve messed with the wrong girl and set in motion events that
will eventually lead to their downfall

(#YA) Raped by a white coach &2
footballers, biracial teen Fel Colt must
run her way to fame &fortune to bring them down

#PitMad (#YA) No one listens to a loser; raped biracial
teen Fel Colt must run her way to fame to bring down a white coach &2

Ava Jae said...

Ok, the second one makes most sense to me, because I now understand why Fel is trying to bring down the coach and footballers. Since you have the extra characters, I recommend punctuating and spacing correctly as well, like so:

"Raped by a white coach & 2 footballers, biracial teen Fel Colt must run her way to fame & fortune to bring them down. YA Cont. #PitMad"

Good luck! :)

Novlette Myers said...

Yes. They raped her but I can't get the characters to hold.

Ava Jae said...

The one I adjusted for you below works, I think. You show us that they raped her and she's now working to bring them down. We see her goal and the stakes are implied. :)

Novlette Myers said...

Based on your feedback, I have reviewed that tweet and added another that I posted after reading your blog.

#PitMad YA Raped by a white coach & 2
footballers, biracial teen Fel Colt must
run her way to fame &fortune to bring them down

#PitMad YA No one listens to losers; biracial teen Fel must sprint to fame to bring down a white coach &2 footballers who raped her

Ava Jae said...

I don't think you need the loser bit for the second one, but otherwise I think they work. :)

Novlette Myers said...

Thanks. Now that I've been "favorited" , big thanks to you - almost the minute the change went up - how do I respond? Except for shouting myself hoarse and jumping all over the room?

Ava Jae said...

:) I'm so happy for you! As for the favorite, check the agent or editor's feed. They usually post PitMad submission guidelines before joining the pitch contest.

Novlette Myers said...

Thanks. Means I got one right after reading your blog and looking at your examples. I'm not sure I should retweet after Annie Bomke favorited me. So grateful to up both.

Novlette Myers said...

Thanks. Posted it. So glad I got that one right - more or ;less! So sorry I got an unbreakable appointment. Wanted to see Pitch Madness wind down. All the best to the writers out there! We do need good books.

Ava Jae said...

All the best to you as well! :)

Ashley Leath said...

Boy do I wish I'd discovered this before today! I just found out about #PitMad this morning and threw in a few of my own just to see what would happen. Anyone still interested in offering some critiques? I'd love the feedback for next time:

First thing 14yo Will’s going to do when he gets home is ask his mom why
she never told him that one day he’d vanish in thin air #pitmad #YA

Will disappeared by accident. Going home means trusting what caused it
& dodging a growing darkness with ties to his missing dad #YA #pitmad

Will can travel among worlds on strands of starlight. But he can't control it. Finding home means learning before it’s too late #pitmad #YA

Ava Jae said...

I suppose I can do a quick critique. :)

The thing I'm confused about with all three is what you mean by he "disappeared." Where did he go? If it's in Will's POV (and it sounds like it is), we'd know where he ended up. That, to me, seems more important than the fact that he disappeared from home.

You kind of hint at it with the last pitch, but even then I'm not totally sure. Tell us a) his goal and b) what's at stake (that is, what will happen if he doesn't achieve his goal) and try to give us as many details as you can about your MS. I think that will help. :)

Ashley Leath said...

Hey Ava,

Thanks so much! I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Your feedback is great. I'll use it to improve for the next PitMad.

Ava Jae said...

Sure thing! Good luck! :)

sebastiandunbar said...

Just post anyway, even if the contests are closed, they will still get responses

Ava Jae said...

Hmm...I'm not sure I'd actually recommend that.

sebastiandunbar said...

I've acquired a few interested replies

tpkeane said...

Oh my God! Yes I'm one of those who travel through time so much I'm late for everything lol. Sorry, I understand if you don't want to critique this pitch, but I thought I'd throw it in anyhow.
#PitMad F Foretold to doom the Kingdom of Naretia, an old wizard tries to help
Aramus, while a young bloodthirsty queen tries to kill him.

Ava Jae said...

Gahh, I wish I could, but I'm afraid if I critique yours after I've closed it, I'll get indefinite crit requests here. Keep an eye out, though. This has been a popular feature, so I may try to do it again in the future!

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