This one’s primarily for the writers out there, but others can learn from it, too.
On Twitter, I’ve recently discovered the joy of something called “pitch parties.” Follow a hashtag, post your (completed) novel’s “pitch.” It’s a way to increase readership, make friends, and possibly catch the attention of an agent or editor. There are also contests that are similar. Winners can receive query critiques (among other things). There are several out there: #PitchMad, #AdPitch, #PitchMas, just to name a few. The most recent one I had the pleasure of participating in was #snowvssun.
In #snowvssun, you email your query, first twenty-five of your manuscript, and what your main character would prefer: sun…or snow. For my personal choice, my main character (Lex Jensen of “Cake or Death” – still trying to find a home!) chose “sun.” Hunting vampires in the snow isn’t fun. I made it into the contest, but no further. I’m good with it, though. I got to meet some great people. They’ve been incredibly helpful, offering great ideas and valuable advice. It’s my understanding that the next step is the mentor round. Then, the coveted agent round. This isn’t the only way to get an agent or publisher to look at your work. This is, though, awesome for improvement and connections. That’s where the real prize is.
I’ve since updated my query, based on ideas I’ve seen from successful queries. I’ve got new people to use as a sounding board. I’ve got more followers on Twitter. I think I’ve won.