I've been writing fiction for a very long time. I started my first young adult novel over 21 years ago. It was a messy experiment, which only made it to page 25 and was summarily shoved in a drawer and forgotten. Many years later, I dusted it off and tried again, resulting in "Something Strange at Water's Edge," a completed 300-pager I'd love to say may be publishable. But perhaps not. It was my first effort. Although little remains of those first 25 pages, I learned a ton during the process. I've also completed three picture book texts and am currently working on two different young adult novels. I expect to complete one of them by the end of the summer.
My problem? Although I seem to be able to put my butt in the chair and get things done, I have a nasty habit of rarely following through and submitting my work to agents and editors. That makes getting a book deal a pretty big challenge.
To say the least.
Yesterday, I noticed a Twitter post about #PitMad, a quarterly Twitter pitch session, during which writers may post a Twitter-length summary of a manuscript and hope for a bite from an agent or editor intentionally trolling for the next great American novel.
I didn't even know this tweet pitch stuff was a thing, but instantly thought it was the coolest idea since sliced bread. Unfortunately, my Twitter account has only been getting some serious use for the past four months or so. I'm not exactly Twitter savvy. A work in progress. Regardless, I decided to give #PitMad a go and pitch a picture book which I have never put out to any agent or editor, ever.
Jenna Bellina Christina Angelina doesn't know why she is in the cage. Bad. Dog on right. Big, noisy dog. Dog on left. Shy, sad dog. When Jenna smells bubblegum and the man with keys brings a girl to meet the shaggy canine, it might be JENNA'S VERY GOOD DAY after all. #PitMad #PB
Short and sweet.
My goal was to garner a "like" from an agent or editor, which is an automatic invitation to submit my completed manuscript. Considering I didn't throw out my pitch until late afternoon, and the event was only going until 8 pm, I didn't expect much from my experiment.
What I also didn't expect is how obsessed I'd be with looking at my phone the rest of the evening. High suspense. I was hoping, really hoping, I'd get just one like, despite realizing just how slim my odds were of someone even noticing my little Jenna tweet in the midst of SOOOOO many other pitches (thousands?).
I didn't get a single "like" last night. Calling it a wash, I paid little attention to my phone this morning. And then it happened. A "like." I got a "like." I got an actual "like."
Oh. My. Stars. Someone wants me. Someone LIKES me. Or at least my Twitter pitch.
Unfortunately, that someone must have notched up his or her privacy settings. I was unable to ascertain which esteemed agent or editor pressed the button.
If you're out there, esteemed agent or editor, and have started stalking me online, stalk away. I encourage it, and I'd still love to send you "Jenna's Very Good Day."
I didn't say this social media thing was a perfect science, but every writer should recognize the importance of using it. I have finally embraced my inner tweet, in an effort to put myself and my work in front of a larger audience.
#PitMad. It was a roller coaster, but still cool as sliced bread.