People who know me well know not to try and contact me via social media for anything important. It’s not that I don’t have accounts on all the sites – it’s that I log into Facebook only when I receive an email reminding me I have an account, and before today I couldn’t tell you the last time I logged into Divertir Publishing’s Twitter account (@divertirpub).
All of that changed today when, for over thirteen hours, I sat at my computer monitoring the live feed for #Pit2Pub while doing other work. In this “pitch party,” organized by Kristin VanRisseghem (@KVanRisseghem) and Ann Noser (@AnnMNoser), authors had 140 characters to pitch their manuscripts to 43 publishers who agreed to monitor the twitter hash tag for the day. Publishers were asked to like a tweet if they were interested in receiving queries for the manuscripts pitched in the tweets.
According to www.hashtags.org, the number of tweets totaled almost 5,500 for the day. Because authors could repost tweets every two hours (and many did), I would estimate there were about 1,000 unique pitches posted during the event. Out of those, I liked 54 – or about 5%. So what made a tweet stand out for me enough to ask for the author to submit a query?
- This is an example of a tweet I liked: “Rayne must stop the evil half of her family from exploiting her dark magic. If only she could figure out which half that is
#Pit2Pub #A #F” (by Michele Keller, @ml_keller).
This tweet told me everything I needed to know about the manuscript – the intended audience (adult), the genre (fantasy), and the plot (Rayne’s family wishes to exploit her dark magic). It even left me asking the question “What about the family made it hard to tell who was evil?”
- I often tell authors not be be “too clever” with their queries (like writing a query letter as one of the characters from the book while not telling me about the manuscript), and this format is no exception. At the two-o’clock hour it was estimated that 570 tweet were sent to the hash tag #pit2pub. This means an author had less than a minute to get my attention. If I couldn’t immediately tell what a manuscript was about I passed.
- Queries that referenced movies didn’t work for me, in part because I lacked the context to understand most of them. I don’t go to movies much (I prefer to read) and must admit I haven’t seen the latest Star Wars.
In short, assuming the tweet was for a genre we publish, tweets that told me what the manuscript was about, left me wanting to know more, and didn’t use references I might not understand were the most likely to get a “like” today – which is exactly the same criteria I use when I read queries.