In the rise of the social media age, authors have moved from the physical page to the electronic. We’ve clipped stories into short, easily digested sound bites which may be gobbled up by each other and the masses. On one end, it means the modern author is a jack of all trades as much (if not more so) than we’ve been since the dawn of the authorial era. On the other, it means marketing has shifted from the laps of the publisher and its various employees specifically hired for such to the responsibility of the author.
This, of course, varies. In self-publishing, the author holds full responsibility as they have assumed the publisher/PR mantle by producing their own manuscript. Traditional publishing requires author availability for events managed to increased audience/author connectivity (a rising need in the global/digital age). Indie or small press – I’ll get to in a later post.
What does all this mean?
A heck of a lot of responsibility headed your way, but it’s not going to wait to arrive when you’re settled with a contract. No, this social media platform has become a valuable commodity. It can even augment your chances of publication. A high number of responsive follows can be the platform agents look for when taking author’s on. Even just some noted skilled usage of social media can increase your luck in querying. However, in my opinion, the greatest resource social media now offers pre-contract is the twitter contest.
Pitch contests have taken social media by storm. The belle of the ball? Twitter. Twitter has taken pitching and squeezed it down like every other life experience into 140 characters with exacting demands on particular hashtags. From #adpit to #kidpit to #pitmad and #pit2pub, more months than not have at least one contest where authors madly summarize in the hopes an agent or publisher will hit that pretty little heart and send their hopes soaring.
I’ve taken part in a year’s worth of these contests and received a dozen or so likes in the process. Most of them lead nowhere. A query or partial will fly off and come back with shared disappointment. Some will go on to full and even offers, but something will put me on guard during the final run to the finish line. Only one of the dozen or so has reached a signing where I’ve been happy enough to scrawl away and share my book with a publisher (more on them also in a later post).
Twitter contests do as promised. They provide pitching opportunities. They end in a good number of requests and even contracts. However, like anything else, they are what you put into them.
For those of you venturing to pitch, good luck!