One week from tomorrow is #SFFpit, a Twitter pitching event for writers of science fiction & fantasy. Those authors will be perfecting their 140-character pitches, in hopes of catching the eye of an agent or editor. I hope they start early, because encapsulating your novel into a brief, engaging, and unique pitch is hard. To help those authors prepare, and to let everyone who’s on the sidelines join in the fun, tomorrow we’re going to have a warmup event. #SFFpit #practice.
When and How to Pitch
The warm-up event will take place tomorrow, June 4th, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central time. You can pitch as much as you like, but let’s keep it to 1-2 times per hour, shall we? Just so there’s no confusion, I’m asking you to use two hashtags: #SFFpit #practice. This leaves you 122 characters to make your pitch.
Make sure that you use both of them together, so that people can watch the feed, but so that it’s clear you’re not pitching your own work. That’s next week! No need for age category or genre, because you’ll be pitching one of two known SF/F works.
Anyone Can Pitch Tomorrow
Sure, the official #SFFpit event is for aspiring authors with completed manuscripts in the SF/F genre. But for tomorrow’s pitch practice, everyone is welcome! Established/represented authors, agents, editors, or fans. I want to see these pros joining us in our practice pitches. They people might not ordinarily get a chance to pitch things, so it seems only fair. How can all of these people participate? It’s simple: we’re going to be pitching the classics.
Fantasy Practice: Pitching Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings was the first fantasy series that I read after The Hobbit. All of us owe J.R.R. Tolkien a debt of gratitude, not because he was the first one to write fantasy, but because he brought it to the mainstream. Well, he and Peter Jackson did. It could also be argued that HBO and George R.R. Martin have also done a lot for the genre.
Still, I consider LOTR to be the canonical work of epic fantasy. So that’s what you’re going to pitch. The beautiful thing is that LOTR has so many wonderful characters: the hobbits, the wizard, the elves and dwarves, and the humans. Pick one of them. Pitch from his or her POV. Give me the absolute crux of Tolkien’s classic in 140 characters or less.
Sci-Fi Practice: Pitching Star Wars
I hope you’ll forgive me for proposing that one of the classic SF works was a movie first. How many cool catch-phrases in pop culture can we trace back to George Lucas’s masterpiece? Talk about bringing it to mainstream! Incidentally, Star Wars is also a good example of the lesser-known subgenre science fantasy — a fiction mashup in which science fiction elements (space travel, blasters) and magic (the force) are both integral to the plot.
There’s excellent material for pitching here — lots of really interesting characters, each with their own motivations, obstacles, and goals. I’m getting excited just thinking about the possibilities. Let’s see who can put a unique spin on this sci-fi classic. Pick any movie that you want, but if you choose The Phantom Menace, you’re dead to me.
Let’s Make Things Interesting: A Prize
This is going to be fun, and help drum up interest for #SFFpit, which is its own reward. That said, I’m willing to raise the stakes a little bit to make things interesting. The authors of my two favorite pitches will win get to choose one of the following from my e-book collection:
- Building An Author Platform That Can Launch Anything, a mini-ebook about social media for authors by Toby Neal.
- No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty, which might be considered the “bible” of NaNoWriMo.
- Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch.
I’ll make my choice from the most popular pitches, i.e., those with the most favorites. This is an important difference that applies to the PRACTICE event only: you get to favorite the pitches you like best! The final decision is mine to make, though, irreversible, indomitable, etc.
Let’s see those pitches!
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