The Pitch: Don’t Give Up Your Day Job

A few days ago I saw this and subsequently spend an hour or so working on a Twitter-based 135 character pitch for Rule The State (Rule The State, the second instalment of my September 1919 trilogy etc etc). I came up with:

“The State is all in 1920s soviet Scotland but when a coup leaves him exposed Reid must protect himself and conceal a precarious tryst”

It occurred to me to have a look at what other people were tweeting, just to gauge the competition (although I didn’t hold out much hope that all those agents out there were fighting for my signature), and that’s when I quickly realised that about 80% of the pitches tweeted would probably be disregarded. Not because they were shit or anything; it was simply because whoever had tweeted their pitch hadn’t read the brief. 

Here’s why:

  • Can’t stick to the word/character limit? Easy. Just write as much as you can in one tweet, then tweet the rest. If it takes four or five tweets that doesn’t matter; just as long as you get the pitch out there.
  • Worried that your pitch won’t be read? Easy. Just retweet it every three minutes for about four hours. Someone’s bound to read it then.
  • Want to give an agent a taste of your novel? Or maybe a glimpse of that enticing cover? Easy. Just add them as attachments. The bit about not attaching images or files in the brief is for losers.
  • You’re a writer, right? Don’t worry of your 135 character pitch has the odd spelling mistake or punctuation boner. Agents have editors and stuff to correct all that shit.
  • Want to get your pitch noticed? Write it in a big, colourful font. Or as an acrostic. Or a set of haikus. Add lots and lots of 😉 😉 ;).
  • Don’t know how to write a pitch? Don’t worry! Research and all that is for losers. Something enigmatic to the point of complete drivel will always win over something that actually looks and reads like a pitch.

And so on…Now, I’m not having a go or anything because my pitch wasn’t picked up. The point I’m trying to make here is this: read the brief. It doesn’t matter what the brief is for, as long as its guidelines are met. No point (and I speak from experience) in sending your 250k sci-fi epic to someone if their brief is for poems about kittens (max 40 lines)…

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