On Thursday I was part of my first Twitter Pitch Party. A Twitter Pitch Party is a way for writers to try and get their work seen by potential publishers. The pitch party on Thursday was for picture books. Here’s the idea.
Writers of picture books create a 280 character pitch or summary of their story written in a way that they hope will intrigue book publishers, editors and writing agents. They post it on Twitter. Then publishers, editors and agents who are interested in your book based on your description can ‘like’ your pitch and if they do you can send them a query or submission asking them to consider your book for publication.
I followed the Twitter Pitch feed during the day and literally hundreds of different pitches for picture books were being posted each hour. What was the chance an editor, publisher or agent would even happen upon mine in an amongst the many thousands posted ?
I realized that just like the more traditional avenues I’ve already tried for getting a picture book published you have about a one in a million chance your twitter party pitch will lead to a book deal. So why do people participate when the odds are so stacked against them? I guess many of the authors are in my position where they have submitted their picture books to dozens of publishing houses and contests and explored endless avenues for publication. They may have received lots of positive feedback and accolades as I have, but no interest in a book deal. At that point you are willing to roll the dice and try a Twitter Pitch for getting your book published.
The next step for many of the picture book authors as well as me may just be self-publication – a pricey and time consuming option because you need to hire an illustrator and book designer and pay all the publishing costs yourself. But that option is becoming more and more common.
It was good practice for me to have to pitch my book in one short phrase but I don’t think I will participate in a Twitter Pitch again. Finding success there I think is kind of like planning your future around a winning lottery ticket. I need to pursue more concrete avenues for publication. Getting a picture book published is still on my bucket list and for now it’s staying there.