What are twitter pitch fests?

Twitter pitch fests  are limited periods of time (usually one day) in which you can post a 140-character pitch for your book. Pitch contests can be a little more complicated. Some pitch contests span months, and have stages in which you hone your work, preparing it for an agent. Others simply allow you to tweet your pitch, cold. Agents are on the alert at these times, and they have the option of "liking" your pitch, and then asking for a full or partial.

Should you take part in a twitter fest?

If you have a completed, agent-ready manuscript, by all means, tweet your pitch! It can't do you any harm, and it doesn't preclude querying agents by any means!

Believe it or not, pitch fests actually do work. Busy, overwhelmed agents are often more likely to read and respond to an interesting twitter pitch than they are to a query. It takes less time and a lot less effort.

However, it will not take less effort on your part. Boiling your novel down to a short sentence is loaded with pitfalls. It's surprisingly easy to turn your exciting novel into a one-sentence summary that would bore an elephant to tears. So, I would suggest that you read What's Your Book About? How to Make a Pitch before attempting one of these contests. 

It is also immensely helpful to read some twitter pitches first. You can get onto twitter right now and type #PitchCB into a search to read some excellent pitches. (Go ahead, do it now. I'll wait.) Some of those pitches will make you want to BUY those books, which is precisely what the pitch is intended for. Contrary to what you may think, a pitch is not really about the meaning, theme, or inherent quality of your book. It is a sales tool. So, think about what would make you want to read a book, and convey that in your pitch. (A hint: Pitches, like queries, follow the story arc of your main character.)

Here is a list of 2016 pitch fests. Like twitter itself, pitch fests are constantly changing and evolving. There are probably a few that I've missed. And, some of these may vanish by next year, but that is the nature of publishing. It's a volatile industry.



Hosted by Curtis Brown and Conville &Walsh

Curtis Brown, an international literary agency, holds a pitch contest on the last Friday of every month.



Online writing conference for authors of Adult and New Adult works.


#KidPit is for COMPLETE AND POLISHED MANUSCRIPTS ONLY. Children's literature.

Both are held on April 1, 2016





3 events hosted by Brenda Drake, author of Thief of Lies

See schedule HERE.

Brenda Drake has done more to popularize twitter pitch contests than anyone else. Her contests are well organized, and attract many industry professionals as well as published authors eager to help aspiring writers. Agents keep an eye on her contests, and have signed on writers through their initial pitches.



Hosted by author and editor Tiffany Hoffman

April 24, 2016 (see site for schedule)

FicFest is a brand new contest launching in 2016 that will help put manuscripts in front of agents. FicFest is unique in that this contest covers the five major categories of writing: Children’s Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult. The chances for each category to get agent requests is equal. Unlike most writing contests, an equal number of finalists will be chosen for each category so that one does not overpower the other. FicFest creators also ensure that there will be a plethora of agents wanting each of these categories. Our goal is to help writers of all books get out there, get great feedback, and have the opportunity to get partial/full requests from agents. 

Read more HERE.



Hosted by literary agent, Beth Phelan

April 19, 2016 - 8:00AM EST – 8:00PM EST

#DVpit is a Twitter event created to showcase pitches about and especially by marginalized voices. This includes (but is not limited to): Native peoples and people of color; people living and/or born/raised in underrepresented cultures and countries; disabled persons; people with illness; people on marginalized ends of the socioeconomic, cultural and/or religious spectrum; people identifying as LGBTQIA+; and more.



Hosted by Dan Koboldt

June (Date TBA)

This contest is for completed, unpublished novels of fantasy or science fiction. Complete means that it’s proofed, polished, and ready for submission. Unpublished means you haven’t self-published it online, on Amazon, or in print. Fantasy or science fiction means speculative fiction: epic fantasy, urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic, space opera.

The contest will happen on Twitter under a common hashtag (#SFFpit). During a 10-hour window on the chosen day, authors with completed manuscripts who are seeking representation or publication can tweet a pitch for their books (at most, once per hour).


Hosted by Lara Willard

July 1-7, 2016

This is a very interesting contest and pitching opportunity for writers with complete, polished novels (Middle Grade, YA, or NA/Adult) in any genre except erotica. Instead of pitching your book via 140 characters, or a synopsis, or even a first page, you submit your 70th page via a form. The idea is that by page 70 your book should be in full swing. Take a look at the submission form HERE


August 5, 2016

This Twitter pitch party is open to all genres and readerships. That includes picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, new adult, and adult readerships.

Have you been approached by services that offer you 10, 000, 20,000 30,000 !!! Twitter followers for a nominal fee?

Don't do it.

Tens of thousands of followers might look good on your home page, but if those followers aren't reading your tweets, looking at your blog posts, and buying your books, they are just meaningless numbers. What you want is real followers, people who are interested in what you have to say, and in what you have written.

How do you get genuine followers?

First you have to find your ideal audience. There are several ways to go about this using three essential tools: Followers, Twitter Lists, and Hashtags.

1) Make a list of successful authors who are similar to you. Look at their "followers" list, and follow accounts that are active. (It helps if they have a significant number of followers - more than 2 digits. Avoid accounts that look like spam, or that don't appear relevant.) This may take a little time, because you will have to actually look at their accounts and see when they last tweeted. (Ideally they should be tweeting at least five times a week.) There is no point following people who don't tweet, because they will not tweet about you. It seems selfish, but the best use of twitter is not what you tweet, but how many people are willing to re-tweet. That's called marketing.

2) Reviewers are your audience, too. To find book reviewers, do a search on #review plus your genre. Ex. "fantasy review." This will produce a list of recent reviews. Click on the account and if the reviewer has tweeted consistently about reviews/books, follow and add them to your list of reviewers. (Note: If you search "reviewer" instead of "review" a list of promotion companies will pop up.) You can also look at the followers on popular review sites.

3) Don't follow blind. Before you follow people, read their recent tweets. If you are interested in their tweets, chances are they will be interested in yours.

4) Look at the Twitter lists of authors in your genre, as well as businesses that promote books, publicists, agents who represent your genre. Do they keep a list of publicists, promotion sites, reviewers? If an author who writes in your genre keeps a list of reviewers, odds are they will be interested in your book. (Make sure you mention how you found them in your query, or in your tweet to them.) If the list is public, and looks as if it will be useful, you can subscribe. Then do steps 1 and 2 above.

5) Expand your scope beyond writers. For example, if you write about politics -  political thrillers included - find people who have similar political views to yours. (Use hashtags to find them. Ex #progressive.) Chances are those people will be interested in what you are writing simply because you share the same point of view. If you write children's books, tweet about parenting, education, and other topics that interest people raising kids. Be engaged with the world.

6) Express yourself. If you feel strongly about something, don't be afraid to have an opinion. You want followers who believe in what you are willing to stand up for. Writers are leaders.

7) Tweet at least 5 times a day on different topics. Vary your tweets to include some with images, some that are an image only, some that are a comment, some that include a link (make sure to shorten it with bitly), and some personal news (your upcoming release, a new project you are working on, etc.) Check to see which tweets get the most responses on Twitter analytics. The tweets that are the most popular are an indication of what your audience likes to hear.

8) Use hashtags in your tweets. People who are on the lookout for topics, genres, free books on Kindle, and news events will search for them using hashtags. (If you aren't using hashtags, your tweet will get lost.) You can use those hashtags to find people who tweet on specific topics. Check out their home page, and if you like what they tweet, follow.

9) Don't be afraid to use Twitter to communicate directly with people - even if they are not your followers. I find that people who tweet me get my attention. Whether they are commenting on one of my tweets or offering something, I almost always respond, either by tweeting back, or by checking out the link they've sent me. Literary agents are more likely to respond to a tweet than to a query. To get the attention of readers and reviewers there is no better tool than direct communication via Twitter. (Don't DM - direct message. People resent DMs. Just mention them via their handle @personyouaretweetingto.)

10) Make sure your bio includes the information that is relevant to potential followers. For example, if you write sci-fi, include your genre so that sci-fi readers can find you.  Don't include the fact that you have three kids, unless you specifically want Moms to follow you. Include what you tweet about and a personal closer that will get attention (e.g. something witty, funny, cute, dark - anything with a punch). Ex: "Author of scifi novels & short stories. Tweets about astronomy & Indie publishing. Building a time machine in my basement on weekends." Always include where you live on your profile, your website, and a head shot. (No eggs!)
Finding your ideal audience will take time and patience, but if you devote 15 minutes a day you can build a significant following within a few weeks. Two thousand active and engaged followers are worth more than 10,000 followers who exist in name only.

Related posts:

225 Hashtags for Writers

Platform, Shmatform: Social Media - How Numbers Lie

Twitter: How to Build a Following - for Writers

If you are on Twitter and aren't using hashtags, you are wasting a great resource.

Hashtags (#) are a way of grouping posts on similar topics. They can be used to track trends and topical news, such as the hilarious #myozobituary posts that abounded after a national Australian newspaper opened their obituary of famed author and neurophsyiologist Colleen McCullough with the words: "Plain of face and certainly overweight, she was nevertheless of woman of wit and warmth." (If you can't see anything wrong with this description of the person who wrote The Thorn Birds - and 23 other novels - then I suggest you search twitter for #everydaysexism.)

Hashtags can also be used to search for specific information and topics, which brings me to why you need to employ hashtags that are already in use. If you want to reach a broad audience, you really don't want to make up a hashtag. (I confess to having done that. Apparently, #voodoomedicine is some kind of rock group.)

Utilizing hashtags that already have a following means you have a built-in set of people looking for you. And, with the millions of people tweeting day and night, it is better to have people actually seeking your posts, than to hope that they will somehow find you in the din.

That being said, there are some rules you should follow for using hashtags:
  • Don't use more than three hashtags per tweet. 
  • Don't #hashtag #several #words in a row in the body of your tweet. 
  • Do not simply tweet invitations to read your book over and over again. You're a writer! Tweet something that is fun, interesting, informative, controversial, creative, and above all cool. 
Before you use a hashtag, search Twitter to make sure it is appropriate for your tweet. 
Here are some useful articles on hashtags for writers:

44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know

The Ultimate List of Author-Specific Hashtags

The 12 Best Hashtags for Writers


Writing and Connecting With Other Authors

#1K1H or #1K1HR  (write one thousand words in one hour)
#amediting - posts from people who are editing
#amwriting - posts from people who are writing
#AmRevising - posts from people who are revising
#AuthorLife – writers sharing random stuff
#CopyWriting – advice about copywriting
#nanowrimo - national novel writing month
#wip - work in progress
#WriteChat – all sorts of advice and information
#WriterWednesday (or #WW or ##WW) – a way to give a shout-out to writers / suggest authors to follow, or to share writing tips, and anything else to do with writers or writing
#WriteTip - writing advice
#WritingTip - writing advice



#author - good for self-promotion
#authors - also good for self-promotion
#bookmarketing - posts related to marketing books
#bookworm - for reviews
#emerging authors
#fridayflash flash fiction on a Friday
#followfriday or #ff - used on a Friday to suggest people to follow to your followers. (Don’t just tweet handles, tell them why they should follow.)


Publishing Industry

#IAN or #IAN1 (Independent Author Networking)
#IndiePub (or #IndiePublishing)
#tenqueries – agents share the reasons why they do or do not request manuscripts
#VSS (very short story)


Chats (chats can be scheduled or ongoing)

#blacklitchat - Monthly chat featuring books by black authors. Day varies.

#LitChat - LitChat is for book lovers, readers & writers. 1-hour #litchat occurs M & W, 4 pm/EST, established January 2009 by @CarolyBurnsBass. http://litchat.com/

#MGlitchat - Thursdays at 9pm EST. The chat is organized by eight middle grade writers (and avid readers). More info: http://mglitchat.blogspot.com.

#ScreenwritingSaturday. Saturdays (all day) Moderator: @UncompletedWork.

#kidlitchat: Craft & business of writing for young people, board books up through YA. Topic or topics announced at the beginning of the chat. Moderators: @gregpincus, @bonnieadamson
Tuesdays: PST: 6 pm MST: 7 pm CST: 8 pm EST: 9 pm.

#writermoms - Women who write (and have children) can find other like-minded women through this ongoing chat.

#indiechat - every Tuesday at 9PM EST
#MemoirChat (every other Wednesday at 8 pm ET)
#PBLitChat (picture books only)
#WriterWednesday (or #WW or ##WW)
#yalitchat young adult literature chat
#BBchat  - BookBaby chat


Connect By Book Genre

#MGLit (Middle Grade Lit)
#RWA (Romance Writers of America)
#SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators)
#Science #Fiction
#Short #Stories


Promotion and Connecting With Readers

#followfriday or #ff - used on a Friday to suggest people to follow to your followers. (Don’t just tweet handles, tell them why.)
#fRead0 (that’s a zero at the end – not a lower case oh)
#FridayReads - tell people what you’re reading
#MyWANA (Writer’s community created by Kirsten Lamb)
#TeaserTuesday or #TeaserTues

The first person to suggest that I use Twitter was my 82-year-old mother. "No, I certainly will not tweet," I told her.

As much as I hate to admit it, my mother was right. I now tweet with gusto, and not only is it fun, it's effective - perhaps more effective than emails, Facebook, or any of the forums I used to frequent.

The reason is obvious: It's brief. As our schedules get busier and busier, it's easier to deal with 140 characters than it is to read an email. (If an agent you are interested in approaching has a Twitter account, by all means, follow.)

It's also incredibly easy to get the word out on your promotions, blog posts, giveaways, and anything else writing-related via tweets.

As a case in point, visitors to this blog have increased dramatically since I started actively building a following. Now, a substantial number of visitors arrive via tweets.

So, read Joel Friedlander's article below. The man knows what he is talking about.
How to Build an Awesome and Relevant Twitter Following in 6 Minutes a Day

By Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer

If you’re like lots of other authors, you might feel a bit conflicted about Twitter. On one hand, you know that Twitter has become something more than just another social media network. It has started to function as the information network of choice for millions of people around the world.

These days, you even see Twitter feeds on television, and journalists, politicians, and celebrities make use of Twitter’s ability to communicate quite a lot in just 140 characters.

You know it’s a great place to interact with readers and colleagues. And with more and more people joining Twitter every day, you also know it’s a great place to promote your book, your blog and your other activities.

Right now, as Twitter gets ready to “go public” we know that they report over 218 million active monthly users, and that Twitter grew almost 48% in the year between March 2012 and March 2013. This trend shows no signs of slowing down.

On the other hand, Twitter can seem both cryptic and confusing when you first get started.

For one thing, there are lots of people just like you who already seem to have hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of followers. How will you ever catch up?

Read the rest of this informative article HERE.