#PitMad About You: 3 Authors Discuss Pitching via #Pitmad

Written by Erica Secor | March 1, 2016

To learn more about what #PitMad  is read Rebecca Ann Smith‘s article about how #PitMad works.

If Twitter is a writer’s playground, then “pitch parties” are that spinning-platform-of-death thingy that makes you giddy, terrified, and nauseous. Of all the pitch parties out there, #PitMad may be the most reputable. But what is it? To find out, I connected with three generous writers to get the scoop on the good, bad, and ugly of this quarterly pitch contest.

Below are interviews with #PitMad contestants: Jessica Blockzynski and Rebekah Kritsch, as well as the creator of #PitMad, author Brenda Drake.

INTERVIEW #1: JESSICA BLOCKZYNSKI

Writes: Young Adult Science Fiction
Contests: 4
Requests: 12-15

Erica Secor (ES): How is #PitMad different from other Twitter pitch parties?

Jessica Blockzynski (JB): I would say that it’s probably the most reliable one. Brenda [Drake] runs tight contests. She knows what she’s doing. She has a huge community behind her. The people who are going to be requesting on Brenda’s contests are going to be just a bit more on the level. And it’s more organized.

ES: Have you ever entered a pitch contest before you were ready?

JB: I have. It’s a tempting thing to say, “I’m ready enough” when you’ve only written your first book. It’s hard to know if you’re actually done. The first [contest] I entered, I knew [my manuscript] wasn’t done but I got all caught up in the adrenaline.

ES: Why pitch if you know your manuscript isn’t done?

JB: Because it’s exciting. It’s validating. It’s gratifying to have somebody say “Oh that looks so interesting!” even if it’s not going to come to anything. Every time I’ve pitched without being ready, I have gotten requests. But there is nothing crappier than realizing you have material that’s not ready. Having to tell an agent “Actually, I’m not really done yet” makes you look like a jerk.

ES: How did you know that you were done with your manuscript?

JB: You don’t. There’s always more work to do. You can get it to really beautiful polished form and there can still be issues.

ES: What was the best part of your #PitMad experience?

JB: Finding so much community. I’ve made a lot of friends. And it’s really, really fun to get requests. It’s good for the self-esteem. It’s good for the ego.

ES: What is your best #PitMad pitch?

JB: A geek girl sleuths out why her sister’s cancer cure has set vengeful scientists on their trail MY SISTER’S KEEPER meets CINDER.

ES: What was the worst part of your #PitMad experience?

JB: Oh, that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize “Oh, this book is really not ready for this. This book is horrible.”

ES: What would make #PitMad better?

JB: Some more guidelines for having an idea of what a polished manuscript looks like.

ES: That would make life better.

JB: Ha!

ES: What advice do you have for someone who is considering entering #PitMad if they truly believe the have a finished manuscript?

JB: Keep a positive attitude. Go in not expecting any requests. If they happen, awesome. If they don’t, well, whatever. Because even if agents request, they may take a very, very long time to get back to you.

ES: What advice do you have for someone [cough] me [cough] who is considering entering #PitMad before a manuscript is really ready?

JB: Don’t do it! You’re shooting yourself in one of your lower extremities.

ES: How so?

JB: #PitMad is a shortcut to querying. If your manuscript goes in front of people, and they see it and say, “This person does not know what they’re doing,” you may not be able to query them again. It feels really crappy when you realized you jumped the gun.

ES: What do you want to say about #PitMad that I have not asked yet?

JB: There’s often an expectation that if you don’t get any favorites during the 12 hours of the event, that you are not going to get any. But I’ve gotten so many late-coming requests the next morning, the next day, the next week. Don’t count yourself out just because you didn’t get any requests right away.

Find Jessica on Twitter at @jablockzynski.

INTERVIEW #2: REBEKAH KRITSCH

Writes: Middle Grade Science Fiction
Contests: 2
Requests: 0

ES: In your own words, what is #PitMad?

Rebekah Kritsch (RK): A pitch extravaganza. It’s your elevator pitch. If someone asked you, “What’s your book about?” what would you say in one sentence?

ES: What is your best #PitMad pitch?

RK: Oh, gosh. I feel like they’re all crap. Probably: DR WHO meets Hansel & Gretel #MG. Siblings risk identities & memories to save mom from bodysnatchers before she vanishes into the future.

ES: How is #PitMad different from other Twitter pitch parties?

RK: Brenda [Drake] is more visible and connected to agents than other hosts, which means a better turn out of publishing professionals.

ES: What were your expectations when entering #PitMad?

RK: Of course I hope for requests, but I’m also logical enough to realize the facts: the number of entries is insane!

ES: How did you know your manuscript was ready for #PitMad?

RK: If I wouldn’t want an agent to read it that day, then I don’t pitch.

ES: What makes your manuscript ready that day?

RK: If it’s not working on a query level at all, then I’m not going to put myself out there. [I] have one chance with each agent and I really do not want to throw it away. I’ve done that. I’ve sent queries before they were ready. And nothing happened. And then a few months later I do read-throughs or revisions and I’m like, “Oh, my gosh! Why did I send that? I can never send them a query on this project again!”

ES: What was the best part of your #PitMad experience?

RK: I met a great critique partner and beta readers through connected hash tags.

ES: What was the worst part of your #PitMad experience?

RK: Feeling like an idiot for even attempting. It feels a lot like shouting at a concert, hoping the hottie singer on stage will see you, then pull you up on stage and BOOM writing-love at first sight. You just feel like you’re shouting, trying to get someone’s attention and they’re far away and they can’t see you and they’re never going to see you and that’s what #PitMad feels like. It feels like you’re shouting your pitch like “LOVE ME! HERE IS MY SIGN IN GLITTER!”

ES: Oh my gosh.

RK: That’s what it feels like. There are so many people. Brenda [Drake] is really trying to streamline it, which I think is great, but I see the same people pitching the same thing every ten minutes…I’ve only done #PitMad twice. I don’t think I will again.

ES: What advice do you have for someone who is considering entering #PitMad?

RK: Be ready with a solid query and manuscript. If you don’t get requests, send your queries anyway. I had zero hits on pitch contests but have had several full requests from querying.

ES: What do you want to tell me about your #PitMad experience?

RK: #PitMad is fun, but don’t let it be a make-or-break moment for your writing.

Find Rebekah on Twitter at @rebekah_kritsch.

INTERVIEW #3: BRENDA DRAKE

Author of: TOUCHING FATE (10/2015) and THIEF OF LIES: A LIBRARY JUMPERS NOVEL (releasing 1/2016)
Creator of: #PitMad

ES: What was your original vision for #PitMad?
Brenda Drake (BD): I decided to do one on Twitter as a consolation prize for writers who hadn’t made it into my Pitch Madness contest. I invited agents and the first #PitMad Twitter pitch party went live on September 13, 2012.

ES: How has #PitMad evolved since its inception?
BD: We’ve added rules in an attempt to slow down the feed.

ES: If #PitMad was a superhero, what would be her Kryptonite?
BD: That since anyone can request on the feed, it’s important for participating writers to research everyone who makes a request. Make sure they are good agents/publishers and have made deals before or have a good agency behind them.

ES: What would make #PitMad better?
BD: Slow motion? Ha! It’s on Twitter, so we have our limits. We can ask for everyone to play nice and follow the rules but it’s not enforceable. But for the most part, and for how crazy the feed is, the majority acts professional and follows the rules.

ES: What else do you want to tell me about #PitMad?
BD: Writers should try everything to get their work out there. Querying, entering contests, going to conferences, and participating in Twitter pitch parties are all great ways to seek representation. Just give them all a try. You never know what will lead you to your perfect agent or publisher match.

Find Brenda on Twitter @brendadrake. Learn #PitMad here!

Bio: Erica Secor lives near some trees with her husband and two human-like dogs. When she’s not reading college English papers, she writes (and was a) middle grade horror.