Hey! Today I will be talking about DVPit, how I wrote my three successful pitches and ways you can grab an agents attention.
I’m assuming that in reading this post, you’re already considering entering DVPit, but for those of you that stumbled across this website and are interested in what DVPit is exactly, it is essentially a twitter pitch contest (for marginalised writers) where you pitch your book in 280-characters or less. The contest takes place twice a year, once in Autumn and once in Spring (usually April and October) I entered in October 2017 with one manuscript, then entered again in April 2018 with what is now my debut novel.
So, with the spring DVPit coming up this week (Tuesday for YA/MG, Wednesday for Adult), i thought I’d give some advice on how to write a killer pitch and get the attention of agents (and even editors - i’ll discuss the latter more later in the post)
I wanted to say before I get into all of this that DVPit is not the be all end all. It is amazing, and gives opportunities to writers from marginalised backgrounds that we are not normally afforded. BUT it is not the end of the world if your tweet isn’t as popular as you hoped or if you get no where afterwards. I didn’t get my agent through DVPit, but I gained experience in how to pitch stories and entice readers.
So, here are my three pitches with some quick tips to make sure you stand out! (These will be tips that you can even apply last minute if you see something helpful that you haven’t yet done)
My pitch from the #DVpit October 2017
My first pitch from the #DVpit April 2018
My second pitch from the #DVpit April 2018
So! As you can see I did well on each occasion I entered. This was due to a few methods I used each time. But before I dive into the quick tips, I wanted to let you know how influential DVPit really is. So, my editor - Becky Walker - happened to hear about my book before we’d even gone on submission. The stars aligned in many ways here! Anyway, DVpit is not only great for getting an agent but your future editor might see your story too which is so cool!
Use comp. titles BUT…not just any comp. titles
You’ve probably heard this one million times, use comp. titles! Of course tweets can do well without them but in my experience and my friends experiences comp. titles are a quick way to catch an agents/editors attention. But in case you’re new here, and are wondering what comp. titles are…well they are essentially titles of books, movies or TV shows - to be honest any form of consumer-able media - and they tell the person reading it the tone of your story. In my first DVPit pitch I used MOONLIGHT x ARI AND DANTE because they are both stories about queer people of colour going through an emotional journey. While that book didn’t get anywhere, the tweet was very successful and garnered a lot of attention from agents and editors alike. However, the mistake I see made again and again with DVPit pitches are using comp. titles that are predictable/ popular. Sometimes the most popular comp. titles you feel are the only ones that would summarise your book - fair enough - however, it makes your pitch stand out a lot less. I realised that Moonlight wasn’t a popular comp. title despite being a very popular movie and used that to my advantage. With my second round at DVPit, I used GET OUT x GOSSIP GIRL and GET OUT x ONE OF US IS LYING…all things that at the time were very popular but not used in pitching contests as much, which is why I think my pitch was also successful that time round too.
So, I live in Scotland and had to time this really well. I think that timing is not a be all or end all but it definitely can help. I sent out my tweets at 10am and 11am New York time, because for some reason, that time seemed to be the time agents were most online. But, again, i’ve seen tweets be sent out earlier and be successful or later and have a similar outcome. This is just my experience.
Keep it uncomplicated, work with what makes your book unique
I sometimes see pitches for stories that sound amazing, however the pitch is rambly, and i only get snippets of what could be a fantastic story. I think keeping to themes in the book that make it really interesting is the best way to go about it. For example, my book covers what many social thrillers/mystery’s do. There is an anonymous bully. Why should the agent care? The stakes - there is a lot at stake here. The agent needs to gather the stakes from your tweet.
It’s more than just the pitch
Make sure you query and pages are just as good - if not better. I wrote a blogpost on query letters which you can check out here. Here is a snippet of the first line of my query letter.
“From sex-tapes to covered up murders, Devon and Chiamaka have a lot at stake if their secrets ever get out.”
Take a few days before sending out your query’s
So, those are my quick tips! I hope tomorrow goes well for you YA/MG writers, if it doesn’t go as planned, don’t give up. Sometimes the quiet amazing stories are hard to pitch, cold querying (querying without the pitch contest, just normal querying) is very effective. Like I said, I got my agent through the old fashioned cold-querying route.