Last week, I participated in #SFFpit over on Twitter. It was a fun day spent glued to Tweetdeck (with an accompanying heart attack when Tweetdeck got ZOMG HAXX0RED and was taken down briefly), seeing the ideas that other people are putting out there, and connecting with other writers. (And notably ignoring my housework. Sorry honey!) For the curious, I thought I’d break down the numbers of how my experience went.
To start with, the event ran for twelve hours, from 8am to 8pm Central time (although there were some stragglers both on the posting and favoriting). I composed my tweets in advance and scheduled them for :17 and :47 (chirp chirp!) every hour, and so tweeted 24 times in total. There were 5 variations of my pitch, with the appropriate classifying hashtags added in different combinations to keep them from being identical and therefore blocked:
A) A mouthy chemistry major must embrace her demonic heritage to save her family (and maybe reality itself)
B) Meet Lacey: Half demon. All scientist. No bullshit tolerated. Summer vacation plans did not involve getting kidnapped.
C) Lacey can’t wait for her college chem program. Just has to sort out this getting kidnapped by faeries thing first.
D) Mom’s a witch. Dad’s a demon. Kids are clueless – until they get kidnapped. This wasn’t covered in the divorce papers.
E) Chemistry major Lacey’s last summer at home before college takes an unexpected and magical turn.
I received 18 retweets (indicators of approval from people other than agents and editors), broken down as follows:
I also received one favorite (how agents and editors expressed interest) each on A, B, and D. So clearly punchy and specific was far more effective. (And also demons appear to beat faeries. Who knew?) On both my own posts and in general, activity on posting, retweeting, and favoriting seemed heavily concentrated in the first half of the day, tapering off into the afternoon and evening.
For my part, I retweeted a whopping 35 pitches from others. (I told you I was at it all day.) There was a whole lot of following back and forth, to the tune of me picking up 21 new followers. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m pretty new to Twitter, so this constituted a 55% increase in the course of a single day. This proves to me that something I’ve seen on G+ is viable on Twitter as well: the best way to connect with people is to participate in events and introduce yourself. Get engagement by being engaging. Imagine that.
Overall, I’d consider it a success. It took quite a bit of work–I saw several people who only tossed up a couple of tweets and then griped that they weren’t getting any traction, when the chances of any individual tweet getting seen in the mess were overall pretty low. (The most play I got off a single post was 3 retweets, and 14 of my 24 tweets had no interaction at all.) But in return for my efforts, I connected with lots of new writers, got the attention of a couple of agents who are now at the top of my list when querying starts tomorrow, and got some very practical feedback on what works best in pitching. I’d say that this is a valuable tool in the arsenal of any querying writer, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for similar events in the future. Even if I’m already signed by the next one (and have won the lottery while I’m at it), it’s a blast seeing what comes through and meeting new people.