Twitter Pitch Etiquette #SonOfAPitch

March 6th there will be a #SonOfAPitch Twitter Pitch Party! What is a Twitter Pitch Party? How do you pitch? Why do you pitch? Here’s the quick and dirty details for all the Twitter Pitch debutantes out there!

What is it? A Twitter Pitch Party is an online event organized by writers, editors, and agents around a date and hashtag. During the event authors post a pitch (or logline) for their book with the appropriate hashtag. If an agent or editor likes the pitch, they’ll let the author know. The author will then send in a query along with requested pages. These queries will get top priority from agents and editors.

How do you pitch? It’s as simple as putting your pitch on twitter with the right hashtag! Going to be away from the keyboard all day? Use Tweetdeck to schedule tweets!

Why do you pitch? Did I mention that editors and agents give pitching authors priority when reading queries? It’s nice to get feedback fast. Over 60% of my full manuscript requests came from pitch parties. Even though I wound up with an agent I found through a traditional query process, the feedback from other agents helped me refine my early query.

Do’s and Don’ts:
Do use the hashtag.
Do be polite to other authors and anyone on the hashtag (but feel free to report spam).
Do keep a positive attitude.
Don’t spam the hashtag. As a general rule, tweet once every two to three hours (4 total tweets for the event).
Don’t tweet more than one book.
Don’t tag agents with your pitch.
Don’t pitch on twitter unless you are participating in an event.

Etiquette for authors on Twitter:
There’s a lot that can be said here, but let’s keep it simple: your twitter feed is part of your brand. Everyone – from potential agents to potential readers – will see your feed. So put your best foot forward. Make sure that someone reading your feed finds the same tone there that they will in your books. You want to keep a nice balance of book-related tweets (NASA tweets for the SF crowd, Teen Vogue tweets for the YA crowd, archaeology or Victoria tweets if you write historical fiction, ect), personal-tweets (pets… people love pets), and promotion (actual ads for your book should take up less than 10% of your feed).

Even before you publish, you want to make your Twitter feed (or whatever social media feed you use as your Home Base) a place that reflects you, your style, and welcomes new readers to stop by and say hi.

What you do put on Twitter: a real avatar (no eggs!), a good bio, a link to your website/author page, retweets of things that interest you, conversations with other authors, pictures of pets, pictures of your bookcase, pictures you, information about cool stuff in your hometown (I’ll be tweeting about the Iditarod this week), information about the research you’re doing for a new book, #WIPfire with a sentence from your latest story, fun stories about two people sharing a found wine bottle on the sub ride home.

What you don’t put on Twitter are things like: your address, your phone number, nude pics, complaints about how slow an agency is responding to your query, rants about how you could do so much better in self-publishing while querying, brag posts about how you’ve never read a genre but are totally going to rewrite it because you are a genius, or hate-filled screes against anyone (with exceptions for football season and March Madness… sports rants can be forgiven).

What if an agent or editor starts chatting with me on Twitter? Be friendly and keep talking. I’ve met some fabulous people who offered me stellar advice for free just because we happened to be Twitter-friends. Done right, social media can be an amazing networking tool, especially for people who live in remote locations (like me!), are anxious in crowds, can’t get to cons, or otherwise wouldn’t be rubbing elbows with people in the publishing industry on a regular basis.

Got questions? Hit the comment box and let me know what you’re worried about.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the How-To Write A Pitch workshop, and post yours for feedback.

 

All Romance eBooks is Closing…. Now What?

At least some of you are aware by now that All Romance eBooks has announced they are closing their doors as of December 31st. And while none of my recent books were for sale at ARe, I know some of you originally purchased the Heroes and Villains series through them.
 
All Romance eBooks has decided to close it’s doors without honoring sales or royalties for books purchased one or after December 27th (a day before the announcement was made – I am hoping this is a typo, but no one has confirmed that belief yet). Because of that, I discourage you from purchasing anything else for ARe in the coming days, but do encourage you to download all your purchases and save them off site.
 
It’s always discouraging to see another indie site closed.
 
Like the small presses, indie sites like ARe have been hit hard by changes in the tax laws in the UK, and by the exponential growth of Amazon and the Kindle Unlimited program. Casual readers stick to the big sites, the big presses, and the big authors.
 
ARe was a wonderful place to find new romance authors that were often overlooked in the bigger stores, and despite their unhappy ending, they will be missed.
 
If any of you lose your copies of the Heroes & Villains series as ARe closes down, please use the link on my website (www.lianabrooks.com) to contact me. I’m more than happy to send you a replacement.
 
If you’re looking for a way to stop the wave of small press and small business closures, I recommend you check out your local bookstore and make it a goal in 2017 to order new books through them.
 
Check out IndieBound.com to find a local bookstore near you.
 
My pre-signed books can be ordered from Fireside Books in Palmer (goodbooksbadcoffee.com).
 
Supporting Indie bookstores puts money back in your community and allows unique and diverse voices to thrive.
 
<3 Liana <3

What Do You Do With Rejection Letters (a reprint)

Originally Posted On 6/10/14

Liana,
I sent my first story out in February and now I have my first rejection. What am I supposed to do with it?
– Rejected and Confused

Dear Confused,
First, congratulations on sending your story out! That’s a big, scary, terrifying, and exhilarating thing to do and I bet you’ve been biting your nails ever since!

And now for the rejection letter… let’s start with the basics.

1) Don’t respond. Unless the agent/editor has asked for a response don’t send anything back, not even a thank you note. I know it seems terribly impolite (especially if the agent/editor has offered advice) but the average publishing in-box has over 100* submissions piling up every hour and a thank you note isn’t going to change anything.

2) Don’t argue. Never in the history of publishing** has a combative email swayed an agent or editor. Most the time the email will wind up being circulated over gin and tonics as Agent Swanky and friends laugh about their near misses with bad clients and consider asking for combat pay because Crazy McAuthorcrazypants has sent them six queries and two death threats today. This actually happens. Don’t be Crazy McAuthorcrazypants.

3) Don’t rant about it. Even if it’s your dream agent. Even if it’s the only editor you will ever love. Even if it’s Tor***. If you’re furious and ready to cry, step away from the computer and phone a friend. Don’t blog, tweet, facebook, instagram, Tumblr, or Vine your reaction to the rejection. You are a fabulous author and this rejection is between you and the agent. The agent will forget about you 2.3 seconds after deleting your query, you should drop it just as fast.

Those are the three cardinal rules of querying. Now, as for what to do with the actual rejection letter… that’s a little more personal.

Some people keep their rejections letters. If I had a rejection letter signed by Janet Reid, let’s be honest, I’d frame it. Janet is one of my all-time favorite agents. I love the advice she gives. I love that we once tweeted to each other about avocados. And if I ever wrote a book in a genre she repped I would query her in a hot second. But I don’t, so I won’t.

Still, if it’s a rejection from your all-time favorite agent (or editor), so ahead and frame it! View it as a mark of accomplishment that you made it through the Plot Bunny Massacre, the Perilous Opening Chapter, the Long Dark of Editing, the Soggy Middle of a Novel, and all the other perils waiting to ensnare and destroy unwary pen monkeys.

You can keep the rejection. Place it in a special folder and look at it as a way to encourage yourself… I’m not actually sure how this works, mind you. But I know authors have shown up at conferences with suitcases full of rejection letters that show that they tried, and they never quit. If that’s your cuppa tea, sweetie, drink it up!

Personally, I delete them. I have an Excel sheet with agents, editors, and agencies so I don’t query twice, and once a response to a query arrives I mark it down and move on.

I do collect royalty checks. I keep them in my writing desk with the a nicely penned VOID across them after I’ve put the money in my bank account. For me, that’s a sign of success. Someone is paying me for my books.

You get to decide what you want to collect and what you want to delete.

Happy writing!
Liana

* I made this number up.
** Please note that I don’t have an MFA and this might be a lie.
*** I LOVE YOU TOR!