As you probably know, tomorrow is the return of #SFFpit, the Twitter pitching event for authors, agents, and editors of fantasy and science fiction. In this post I’ll highlight a couple of important changes, address some Twitter discussions that have come up recently, share some cool pitching resources, and maybe even tell you who’s planning to come.
You might also want to follow me on Twitter since I’ll be putting out some useful information there.
Important: Pitching Window Time Change
First of all, I should point out that we are starting an hour earlier this time: we will be running from 8 to 8 Eastern (7 to 7 Central time). Last year we did 9 to 9 (EST), and there simply weren’t nearly as many requestors hanging around toward the end. My sincere apologies to those of you in Pacific Time, but we’re probably all better off if the agents are caffeineated and fresh!
Who Can Participate?
This Twitter pitching event is open to everyone, but I created it with three groups in mind:
- SFF authors with completed, unpublished manuscripts who are seeking literary representation and/or publication
- Literary agents who represent fantasy or science fiction. All are welcome
- Editors who acquire fantasy or science fiction
A few authors have asked if their paranormal or dystopian or other-subgenre work is appropriate. The answer is almost always yes: SF/F encompasses a broad range of subgenres, so if you’re on the fence, please consider yourself invited to pitch. The agents and editors who are participating, however, will likely expect the works to be speculative fiction in some form.
Even if you’re not pitching or reading as an agent/editor, please feel free to Tweet with the #SFFpit hashtag to cheer on our participants. I’d love for some of my agented author friends to stop by and share some encouragement. You know who you are.
What About Self-Published Books?
I have emphasized that participating authors should be pitching only completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. One author asked me about self-published works. I’m not an expert in the publishing industry, but I think perhaps these are not a good fit for #SFFpit. Why? Because this event’s purpose is to help authors find literary representation, and most agents won’t consider a book that’s already been published. There’s not much an agent can do with it. When you pitch or query them, it wastes everyone’s time.
There is an exception: a self-published book with strong sales. And by strong, I mean >10,000 copies sold in the last 6 months at a price point of $3.99 or higher. If you have that kind of record, the door may still be open (though I’d be curious why you’d care about literary representation when you’re already making that kind of money).
Guidelines for #SFFpit
Please see the main #SFFpit page for a complete set of guidelines, but let me hit you with the highlights:
- Pitch your work 1-2 times per hour and be sure to use the #SFFpit hashtag. I highly recommend setting this up in advance with Hootsuite or a similar program.
- The category/genre hashtags are optional, but I recommend at least an age category hashtag, since some agents only represent certain categories.
- Use multiple pitches! Variety is a good thing, and one may speak more to an agent than others.
- Support your fellow authors by retweeting pitches that you like. Please don’t “Favorite” unless you’re an agent or editor.
- If your Tweet is favorited, that’s an invitation to submit. Please follow the agent or editor’s guidelines, and be sure to mention #SFFpit.
Twitter Pitch Resources
If you’re planning to pitch your work tomorrow, I highly recommend these recent articles on how to craft great pitches:
- The Ultimate Writers’ Guide to Twitter Pitch Contests by literary agent Carly Watters is a good read, and offers some advice from the agent’s perspective.
- 10 Tips for Twitter Pitching by Gina Denny. Good stuff. Side note, you should follow Gina on Twitter. She’s hilarious.
- Tweeting a Winning Pitch by the folks over at Rate Your Story.
Also, here are a couple of other resources you might find useful.
- The YA Writers’ Toolbox has a pitch generator for the character journey. There are also generators for “Romance” or “High Stakes.” I haven’t tried any but these look like fun.
- Diana Urban offers some very useful advice on how to filter spam from a Twitter hashtag. If you see spammers, please also take a minute to report them to Twitter. There’s an option for it under “More Options”.
So Who’s Coming to #SFFpit This Year?
At the time of writing, at least 17 literary agencies and 3 small publishers have agreed to participate. Most will probably Tweet their guidelines using the hashtag tomorrow morning. These are just the ones who’ve told me they’d participate, so I fully expect we’ll see others. Back in June, the day before the event I thought we’d have 15 agents, and we ended up with 26. I’m told that these agencies will be participating:
- Red Sofa Literary
- The Azantian Agency
- The Bent Agency
- CK Webber & Associates
- Corvisiero Literary Agency
- The Deborah Harris Agency
- Erin Murphy Literary Agency
- Harvey Klinger Inc.
- Janklow & Nesbit Associates
- Jill Grinberg Literary Management
- The L. Perkins Agency
- New Leaf Literary and Media, Inc.
- The Rights Factory
- Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
- Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
- Stringer Literary Agency
From what I’ve seen on Twitter and elsewhere, I expect we’re going to have a fantastic author turnout tomorrow, too. Good luck to everyone!
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