#PitMad & Query Stats

June 8, 2017 - #PitMad Twitter Contest

For those who don't know, there is a new way to query agents. Rather than spend hours researching each one, tailoring your query letter & submission docs and then sending an email into the abyss, you can do a Twitter pitch contest.

For #PitMad, each writer was allowed to tweet (140 characters) 3 times only. They could retweet others' tweets, but "liking" a tweet was reserved for agents. If an agent liked your tweet, you followed their instructions to query them.

Let me tell you why these contests are worth it. The agents do the browsing. They come looking for YOU. They ASK you to submit. Which means that, in your email subject line, you get to write "Request" instead of "Query". They'll read it faster, and hopefully even give you feedback. Generally, industry etiquette is that if agents ask for something, a rejection must include a response with reasons why. Isn't it ironic, that writers HOPE for rejections with personalized critique? 

Wanna know how I did?

I was pleased with the results of my first contest. 3 requests, one from each tweet! All 3 agents appear to be fairly new at their craft, so although this means they haven't made a lot of sales, it means they are motivated and hungry for new writers. Possibly less picky than seasoned agents. Possibly more willing to editorialize your story; request revisions rather than reject. 

Interestingly, 2/3 agents are either knitters or studied the history of decorative arts. Looks like it was good strategy referencing "spinning" and "dye" in my tweets!

Here are the 3 winning tweets I used: 

IN OTHER NEWS, I've passed the 3-month querying mark. here's a status update:

So far, I have sent 21 queries:

  • 10 open
    • 4 - Confirmed receipt, apologized for delay
    • 1 - Requested full manuscript
    • 5 - TBD
  • 11 closed
    • 3 - No response; closed
    • 1 - Not taking on new novelists
    • 3 - "Didn't connect" with story
    • 4 - Form rejections (kind but not personalized)

I've started employing a new strategy when it comes to querying: I look for agents who rep fantasy AND profess a love for knitting/crochet/handicrafts. Textiles is an integral part of my story, and so this strategy is what got me that full request.

Gotta go send out new queries to these #PitMad agents. Wish me luck!
JUNE 13 UPDATE: I got 1 more agent like and, upon closer review, I realized that 3 small presses had also requested submissions! Wow! 

Then came the fun part: analyzing each party and assessing whether it was worth querying them or not. One small press had published less than 10 books, all by 3-4 authors. Another small press seemed to be a one-person affair, and perhaps not entirely reputable. Yet another seemed to focus on werewolf stories. 

In the end, I emailed 3 agents and documented the rest. Those extra likes were a positive boost, but I haven't done enough research yet to determine how viable a small press would be, over self-publishing.